July 30, 2011
We realized that we hadn’t closed the chapter on Brenda’s ankle injury from the Bike and Barge Tour after getting several inquiries on her condition. First of all, I apparently erred in saying it was an ankle injury when it was actually her Achilles tendon (in my defense, that IS in the general area of the ankle). It hasn’t healed completely and is still tender, but she is managing to get around quite well. Likely a visit to our physiotherapist on our return will be in order. Now, on with our travels:
We were all packed up when Yvonne came to say goodbye for our 10:00 a.m. departure. It is amazing how close we felt to her and Rob in such a short visit and we knew we would miss them. Hugs all around and we began our short 168 km drive north to our stay in Sarlat-le-Canéda for the next two nights. Brenda selected the “avoid toll roads” option on our GPS and we enjoyed the slow route through the winding valleys past classic mid-Pyrenees mountain villages. A short detour took us to Puyclesi, where we picked up a fresh baguette and learned that “sauf riverain” means “local traffic only” after nearly jamming ourselves up in the narrow streets.
Near the town of Cahors we broke out of the dense greenery we had been travelling through into a drier region of grape growing terrain. An exploratory drive into Cahors had us along the banks of the River Lot, where we found a bench on the banks of the river with a great view of their medieval bridge and its striking defensive watch towers. Brenda whipped us up a tasty picnic of baguette and cheese, washed down with a locally purchased ice cold Coke Light (it seems European fridges are set much warmer than those at home and ice cold drinks are a rarity).
We entered the Bergerac/Dordogne region near Sarlat and found that we had timed our arrival to coincide with Sarlat’s huge Saturday market. Between the many one-way streets and market street closures our Tom Tom went a little squirrely so we shut it down and parked near the tourist information centre, where we got a map and walked the few short blocks to Les Cordeliers B&B on the town square. We met our hosts, transplanted Brits Chris and Amanda, and they helped us figure out how to skirt the market and get our bags to our new address. (By the way, Sarlat’s sister city is Ashland, Oregon which we drive through every year on our way to Palm Springs…small world again.)
Les Cordeliers is in a beautiful old building and the rooms are very large and comfortable, decorated with antique furniture but, most importantly on this hot day, with modern air conditioning. We relaxed in the cool room after our walking about in the heat before venturing into the medieval centre for dinner. Our restaurant for the evening was the Auberge Le Mirandol on a side street very near our B&B. The sidewalk tables were nearly empty when we sat down at 7:30 but they were packed by 8:00. Brenda dined on salad crudités and Cassoulet while I enjoyed the duck and crème brûlée dessert. Chris had warned us that almost every restaurant featured duck and foie gras, and he was sooo right.