Region is ancient France, filled with prehistoric art, hilltop
castles (there are over 1000 castles), villages of golden stone and
beautiful ancient roofs. The region's
gastronomy ranges from foie gras to truffles.
for more photos: Mortemort - Oradour-sur-Glane - Caves - Sarlat- Canoe
- Beynac - Dining
Streets of Sarlat
Day 8 Today, we were on the move again with several
stops before our final destination of Sarlat. We stop in the small
village of Mortemort for a sandwich picnic and brief roaming. The
village church contained a very ornate marble alter and wood carved
pews. Our next stop was in Oradour-sur-Glane. Called the "La
Ville Martyr" the SS rounded up the entire population on June
10, 1944. The women and children were herded into the church and
burned alive. Men were broke up into groups of 20 and machine gunned
down. The village was then burnt to the ground; a quiet and
somber place today, it serves a shine. I am glad that Patrick
was able to squeeze this stop into a tour.
We weren't through yet . . . we stopped and did a prehistoric
cave tour at Grotte de Rouffignac.We viewed the exhibits in the
cave entrance and then followed our guide through steel entrance
doors inside the cave. We were surprised to find that we would be
riding a small open electric tram through the cave. With a
flashlight the guide pointed out the prehistoric bear scratches
and paintings of rhinos, bison, horses, mammoths and reindeer. A
light rain greeted us as we arrived at Sarlat. We had a group dinner
at the hotel and dined on pastry stuffed with goat cheese and a
main course of duck and potatoes. This was to be the start of the
duck eating marathon.
|Paddling down the River Dordogne.
Day 9 I woke up to a sunny market day in Sarlat.
the streets were lined with vendors - you name it and you could
find it. The group was out shopping for our picnic lunch in this
pedestrian town. I had time to pop into the cathedral and view the
stone buildings with original roofs called Lauzes. These are flat
limestone rocks weighing about 100 lb. per square foot and last about
200 years. Not bad. We held our picnic in the park and set
up all the shopping goods on the wall. Each of us shared our shopping
experience and introduced our purchase. Local tastes - cabecou (nutty
flavored goat cheese), cendre' (sausage rolled in ashes), fruits,
breads and wines teased our palates. The best was a piece of 75
year old cheese. It looked disgusting but tasted incredible! With
filled stomachs we were off on our own for the rest of the day.
The group dined again in the hotel this evening - indulging in foie
gras; perch with orange sauce accompanied with pasta noodles and
a walnut ice cream for dessert. After dinner, I joined Dale and
Vern for an evening stroll. To our amazement, the entire town was
lit up with small votives. They lined the sidewalks, balconies and
window ledges. In a few areas, we pulled out our flashlights as
we explored the back alleys, external spiral staircases and the Lantern of the Dead,
which are display ledges
for the deceased monks.
Duck every way salad
Day 10 The weather continues to cooperate
with our itinerary. Loaded up the bus and soon were at La Roque-Gageac
putting on life jackets and boarding our canoes for a paddle down
the Dordogne River. My canoe buddy was Jean and we paddled leisurely
and snapped several rolls of film. The countryside was green and
lush and at each river bend views of castles and stone bridges would
come into view. At one point, we witnessed a young deer swim across
the river in front of us. We cheered as it climbed out on the riverbank.
Unfortunately, we soon had to leave our canoes and board a shuttle
which returned us to Beynac. We dined on a salad with 5 different
kinds of prepared duck.
Our final destination was Albi. After we settled
in, we went on a brief orientation of the area. The
tour group participated in a special dinner at Restaurant La Viguiere
d'Alby arranged by Patrick. It was several courses for details - see
Dinner Photos. Once again, my stomach
reassured me that this vacation was a good idea.