Sunday, 5 August 2012

Diary of the our visit to the beautiful Dordogne.

THE ROAD TO SARLAT - WEDNESDAY 11th APRIL

Up early and into Autun to visit the markets which were in the village square in a large indoor  barn. We went in before breakfast. George went for a run - much to Eddy's annoyance - he wanted George to come to the markets.  George surprised us and met us at the markets. Eddy and George are like a married couple!! Their competition  for the middle seat is so hysterical and really hotting up now.
Autun is really lovely - in fact I think I like it more than Beaune. The square (centre ville) is great. We went to the markets but only the covered area was open - which was fruit and vegies. We bought some fresh fruit. It all looked fantastic. Sauntered around and suddenly there was George. Had a walk around Autun and checked it out, saw the cathedral, then we headed back to our place for our breakfast. Chatted with Olivia and Grant and the Swiss couple. Had pastries, bread and boiled eggs for breakfast. Packed up sadly, said our goodbyes and set off. Ed and George had their usual competition - so loud and such fun. All for the coveted middle seat. We're hoping to extend George's part of the trip so he flies out of Madrid instead of San Sebastian. We had  a 5 hour drive. We were going to go via Perigeaux and have lunch but we decided to just to straight to Sarlat instead of going to lots of different places - we can't see everything and if we stopped alot along the way we'd never get to see Sarlat and enjoy it. We stopped for petrol - it was a large service centre with huge restaurant so we decided to have lunch there. It wasn't as good as Landset in Austria and the coffee was appalling but there was lots of choice of food and they had wine as well and wasn't so bad. It was cheap too. There was also wifi so I was chatting to Muff on the pad - so funny.
We continued on after a hilarious scissor paper rock episode and gloating from George. It was about a 5 hour drive to Sarlat - mostly on freeway. We have Jane (our tom tom). You can pick who you want - male or female and what nationality so we chose Jane who's English. She sometimes takes us on random trips! Drove into Sarlat and found our B & B - Le Jardin de Sarlat. David and Wendy, an English couple run it. When we arrived they were SO friendly. We all had a drink in the guest sitting room and a chat. They're lovely. Our rooms were also lovely. Soph, Ed and George are in one room. There are 5 rooms altogether. The garden is beautiful too. Wendy talked about our plans for our stay. Settled into our rooms then headed into town to have a drink at a bar Wendy recommended called Eeles bar overlooking the main square. It was really cold but even though it was we sat outside under outdoor heaters. It was exciting to be here. Sarlat is SO beautiful - lots of lovely old buildings in the old quarter. We went for a wander through the medival parts. So lovely. Wendy had recommended a restaurant - Le Bistrot - so we went in there to get a table. It was completely empty but we were told they were full and had no room. The French never seem to be of any help and never put themselves out. So funny. We booked it for tomorrow night and found a lovely restaurant next door. Had a really nice dinner and had lots of laughs. We had a lot of fun trying to speak to the waiter in French- practising and getting it wrong and laughing. When we walked past Le Bistrot on the way home it WAS full. . This is a beautiful town - can't wait to have a good look round and check out the buildings and the shops.  When we got back to our place we went to the guest sitting room and had a couple of wines from the honesty bar (4 euros a bottle). Wendy came in and talked to us. We plan to go to Rocamodor tomorrow and some of the 5 top villages. We thought about going to some famous caves and you can canoe through some others but we have decided to visit the little villages and enjoy the countryside instead.

SARLAT - THURSDAY 12th APRIL

Had a fantastic day today. Went down for breakfast at 8.30. Wendy and David are so lovely and perfect hosts. They moved here 4 years ago to set up the b & b. The gardens are beautiful and very peaceful. It's a shame it's not warmer as you can sit out of the verandah and in the garden. David is so funny. There are 3 Aussies (young) staying here as well so had a chat to them. Breakie was bread and croissants, meats - they even had vegemite. Set off for Rocamador - an hour away. All through beautiful green lush countryside. We saw a whole gaggle of geese so we stopped and took photos. Little narrow roads - so divine. Got to Rocamador. We saw it from a distance and it was amazing. We parked down bottom below the town and walked up lots and lots of stairs to get to the town. When we got to the top you came out right in the middle of the main street - I felt like I was in Harry Potter - a whole new world! Narrow cobblestone streets and cute cute shops. So so cute!! I loved it so much. We then climbed up more stairs towards the castle. There were more shops up there. It was quite a climb - paths and stairs but the view was absolutely amazing. We got to the top and paid 2e each to go up to the ramparts. God it was so scary! Eddy stood right near the edge and I was hyperventitating. Again the view was unbelieveable - lush fields adn the beautiful Dordogne river. Rocamador is amazing - built right into the side of a hill - built by the pilgrims who would climb the steps and kiss each one. I have noticed a huge difference in my fitness. I am so much fitter and don't find all the walking difficult at all or getting out of breath when walking. Stairs can still be abit hard but compared to how it would have been in the past I feel so much better.
Walked back down to the shops and had a stroll through - a few pottery shops, souvenir shops. I found a fantastic leather shop and I bought a divine orange handbag that was only 32e. It's so lovely. Also bought a towel for gym with Rocamador on it - pretty tacky!! Such a lovely place. Left there and headed to a little town called Domme for lunch. This was such a beautiful place. We all loved it. The most gorgeous stone buildings, nice shops, narrow little steep streets - it was just divine. We had a lovely lunch in a pizza place - it was fun. Pizzas and vino - we were the only ones there. We wandered around after lunch. It was a walled town and down the hill and through part of the wall was the most amazing view of green fields and farmhouses - so beautiful.
Left Domme and headed to the next little town only a few minutes away - Le roque Gagaeu. It was another beautiful little town right on the river Dordogne. The town was down near the river but the streets wound up the hill with all cobblestone streets - again so divine - narrow little streets, stone houses, all so beautiful.
Headed back to Sarlat as we wanted some time to check it out before dinner. Jane took us on some hair raising little thin road - tiny but so beautiful - barely a road really. Hairpin bends with sheer drops off the side. It was abit scary especially when we met the odd car who was travelling way too fast. On one of those roads we met a HUGE truck full of hay piled up so high. I thought we were done for! Made it back to Sarlat and went back to Le Jardin to leave the car. Had a bit of a chillout for a while then headed into town about 6. Wandered around the town, looked in all the shops and bought a few souvenir things. Wandered up into the streets up the hill to see all the lovely houses and buildings. It was absolutely divine. Had a drink in a bar in the plaza which was good. We imaged the square when it was summer and hot. It would be so packed and lively. I thought it would be a lot hotter in France in spring but it's freezing here - only about 11 degrees. We went to dinner at 7.30 at Le Bistrot. It was a cosy little restaurant. Had a great mushroom pasta. It was really quick. Had a desert too - creme brulee - my favourite. The food here is a bit tricky as this is the goose and duck area so lots of pates and duck and goose everything which of course doesn't interest me. We'd finished dinner by 9 so walked back to our place. we were excited to be able to put on our leisures and chill in the guest sitting room which is what we did and went on our computers. One of the Australian girls came in and we had a chat. She's a violinist. Tomorrow we head to Bordeaux via a couple of stops along the way . Had a couple of drinks from the honesty bar. We are hoping to hire bikes from St Emillion tomorrow as we couldn't do it in Burgundy.









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