Loire to the South of France travel blog

May 8, 2014

The croissants were just as good this morning! Serious waistline issues if this continues.

Our first rest area stop was a a brand new facility...dessert counter, ice-creams, cafeteria, coffee/espresso/capiccino machines, breads, plus all the other things normally found in our mini marts plus more!

Truck transport rules and regulations: trucks cannot use the freeways on holidays or on Sundays. The rest area had a truck parking place and it was totally full because today is VE Day. There are automated signs along the freeways indicating parking vacancies so truckers can plan. They must be stopped by 10 pm and may not begin again until 10 pm the following night. Huge fines. Only exceptions are trucks carrying live animals or ones that are refrigerated. Our driver, Phillipe, said it saved us 45 minutes today not having trucks on the road.

Picnic lunch stop in a very small village...200+ people. Wonderful lunch...two salads (one was tomatoes and mozzarella cheese marinated in balsamic vinegar), breads, variety of cheeses, strawberries, chocolates, and wine. Best lunch so far!! Every village (no matter the size) has an elected mayor. The mayor of this small village actually came to welcome us...and to collect the fee for using the covered market area for our picnic. Also had an opportunity to visit with some Brits who have a summer home in the area. The village was so quaint and beautiful. I love the stone buildings. The wind did blow a bit and it was cool during lunch...but the sun came out just as we left.

Our next stop was a WWII memorial...Oradour-sur-Glanc...June 10, 1944...the story:

June 9, 1944. A Nazi SS soldier was captured (from a town of the same name but along a different river). June 10, 1944...retaliation...but wrong town. 200 Nazi SS soldiers come to this village and separate the men from the women and children. The men to barns and granaries...the women and children to the church. Upon a signal the men are machine-gunned at the knees and then covered with straw and burned alive. Another signal and the women and children are burned alive in the church. The whole town burned to the ground. It is left just as it was...a memorial to 642 martyrs. Moving, sobering, senseless.

One more freeway rest area stop and we arrived in Sarlat about 5:30. Check in, throw on a scarf and meet at 6:15 for an orientation walk and dinner. Another beautiful town (around 10,000). The buildings in the old town are from the 12th century on...unbelievable architecture...quintessential market town. Our dinner had three courses tonight. First, duck liver pate with toast and greens. It has a fancy French name that I don't have right now! Then, duck encrusted in duck fat (fried) and potatoes fried in duck fat. I know, I know...you can hear our arteries screaming...but it was really delicious. Dessert was coconut and mango ice-creams...perfect ending! Oh...and Rolinka provided the wine! Great conversation with Colleen and Theresa and Larry and east coast Diane and Jim and Melanie and John. Three courses only took 2 hours!!

After dinner we took a few minutes to tell about our hobbies...lots of different interests in the group...wood working, mountain climbing, biking, hiking, reading, quilting, gardening, scuba diving, and some that I have forgotten.

8:30 bus again tomorrow to go to caves and canoeing...so this is it!

The map isn't quite right. Don't know how to show more than one city.

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