Red Wine, Baguettes & Smelly Cheese travel blog

Camping at Vezac

Vezac - looking up the Beynac Castle

Ian exploring every insole known to man to help his heel issue!


Beynac - up the cobbled streets to the castle

Light snack part way through bike ride

La Roque

Hiking trail with ancient stone walls

A Gariotte on hiking trail

Spring is in the full bloom in the Dordogne

Land where the Geese are scared.........

Symbol of Sarlat


Sarlat market

Sarlat market

Sarkat market - he wins the competition for the most French looking...

Beynac Castle

We continue to move south and have spent the last week in the Dordogne village of Beynac. It’s wonderfully situated for chateaux (castles), the Dordogne River and stand-on-the-pedals cycling hills. There is not a flat section of road or hiking trail within 100 miles.

Ian is still bothered by the heel issue he picked up just before going to Antarctica, so has been cycling every day while Liz hikes up and down the hills and ends the day looking hot and sweaty. One day we even managed to coordinate our activities and meet for lunch by the river in the “cutest village in France contender” La Roque-Gageac (“the Rock”). La Roque is an ancient village hewn out of a rock face right on the banks of the Dordogne River.

We spent market day in one of the largest towns around – Sarlat-la-Caneda - where we had the local speciality for lunch, roast duck. We are in no hurry to move on, but when we do it will be into the foothills of the Pyrenees, where the weather is cooler. So far we have seen daytime highs of over 20 degrees Celsius, which is thawing us out after the long Canadian winter, which we understand from home is still persisting!

Notable events so far include:

• A new twist on automatic washrooms (maybe this will be a weekly blog entry….). Whoever hired the French engineer to design the automatic light in the men’s urinal to go off after 8.5 seconds did not consider the financial impact of hiring a full-time clean-up crew to attend to the “fallout” of peeing in the dark after each visit.

• I am amazed there are any sober Frenchmen walking the streets. Looking to buy some beer in the supermarket (yes, it is that civilised here), the LOWEST alcohol content I could find on the shelves was 6.5%. The highest……………..11.5%. You may as well be drinking pints of red wine.

• The Dordogne – the area where the speciality is Foie Gras and where all the geese are fat and scared.

• Obtaining a French cell phone SIM card is easy, not so an internet stick. You need to have a French bank account before they will let you have one. I even offered to pay 100% in cash up front and then threw in the earnings of my yet to be born grandchildren (sorry Sally). No dice. No bank account = no Googling in France.

• When you are on a bike at the top of a hill and you are met by a large yellow van stopped with flashing lights and a sign that states (in French) “No entry – oversize load”, it pays not to ignore it and tear off down the hill at top speed. I did (ignore it) and rounding a bend at high speed was forced to ditch the bike as a truck with a house in tow came up the hill.

European trivia

Every week we will give you a trivia question, with the answer given the following week. Remember, no Googling!

Last week: Which town or city in the UK does the band Deep Purple come from?

And the answer is: Cambridge!

This week: Which famous English King occupied Beynac Castle in France in the 12th Century?

Until next week,

Liz & Ian

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