journal excerpt of bicycle trip 1997:


please hit small photos to see enlargements


photo of view looking north from Domme ©tph1997


DOMME Monday 7 October 5:10 pm Hotel Lou Cardil, Grand' Rue 190FF

We arrived here at 3:30 pretty tired even though we didn't actually ride that many kilometres.

AV.SP: 13.2 km/hr
E MAX SP: 36 km/hr
TIME: 2hrs48min58sec

We left Les Eyzies late at 11:00. It was a beautiful overcast day. The American girl drove slowly by on the road to say goodbye again. The first part of the ride was a relatively easy upward grade following a small river going through forest and past lots of rock faces with holes in them where buildings had once stood. We also passed a lot of loggers. The last section of road into Sarlat wasn't easy. It was a steady UPhill climb of 6 km in humid 18C weather and then 4 km down losing all of our altitude.

We had lunch in a public park in Sarlat. The sun had come out and dried out the bench we chose. It looked like it had just rained. (Rocamadour chevre** was wonderful)

We then rode around the beautiful town. There were gorgeous tall narrow houses. The cathedral has very rich stained-glass windows. T was brilliant and thought of using the binoculars to see the detail.

6:55 pm We're sitting at the "Panorama" drinking Duché de Longueville Cidre de cru (Issue de pommes varieté Antoinette) and being amused at having maybe seen the Cingle de Limeuil across the valley.

This afternoon we rode out of Sarlat on a very busy road heavy with traffic, then onto a less trafficky road past more logging and through more forest. We descended and then just after Vitrac we crossed the river.

7:00 pm The church bell right in front of us is going nuts. We can see it in the front facade of the church and whoever is ringing the bell is somehow getting the clapper to hit only one side of the bell and then switch to hitting both sides of the bell. Now at 7:05, it has stopped.

Back to Vitrac... We wanted a bar/tabac. I asked an elderly lady, who turned out to be not only deaf but dotty. She never understood what we were looking for and kept pointing at two nearby fancy restaurants saying in French that "Everywhere there were places" Then off she tottered.

We crossed the river and began the steady climb to Domme. I was starting to get desperate but not desperate enough to go into a treeless field in a relatively populated farm area. A cow mocked me as we passed by lifting her tail and sending out a steady stream. Then I noticed that T had clothespegged his underwear to his front bag in such a way that it was impossible to mistake them for anything but what they were, even at a distance. He then started to make "piscine" jokes.

Oh look down there I think they piscine their swimming pool.... I'm so lucky; I can piscine the woods!

We started laughing (very painful for me) and I said it was lucky for him that he had his underwear so handy in case he would piscine his pants. It was then a nightmare 4 more kilometres on an easy updrade as T kept saying over and over, variations on "I'm sure glad I brought my extra shorty shorts case I piscine my pants" in a cracker southern accent.

After getting a pretty nice hotel room (with toilette) we walked around the town to see the amzaing view and run into some Australians whom we had met earlier in Sarlat. They seemed impressed that we had arrived here before they did in their car.

We also watched some school boys running home from school with big rectangular satchels strapped to their backs, racing each other up the street. One cried out "Merde" as he was stoppped by a truck crossing the intersection in front of him.

7:20 pm It's a beautiful night. It rained briefly as the sun shone and the smell of fresh rain still lingers. Most of the tourists have left on their bus tours and we are again alone in a lovely bastide town. tehre are big billowing white clouds on the horizon and the distand hills are losing their detail and are silver and grey in the evening mist. the trees are turning reddish gold. What bliss.

Restaurant Le Poivriere
T: menu 110 FF; E: menu 88 FF

** Chateau de Tiregand 1994 (because they had very little of the region) 95FF

T: * very good soup thin pea? with bread chunks and onions
E: * chevre sur toast avec salade aux noix the chevre was warm

T: ** foie gras mi cuit aux cerises (roughly chopped chicken liver paté)
E: *** escargot et cepes avec lardons (in puff pastry)

T: *** confit de canard crisp!
E: *** pavé steak with scalloped potatoes and grilled tomato with parsley pesto

T: * crème brulée
E: tarte aux pommes


The asterisks indicate that those dishes were particularly good.

So far, this is the best dinner so far. (How can that be? EVERY dinner has been the best dinner so far!) When the server came to ask if everything was fine, I looked up, smiling and said, "Je vais pleurer...."

A little cat just jumped into the lap of a young man - a bit goofy looking - who is travelling with his parents. Suddenly the rather sour, sad looking womman looks really nice and pleasant and is smiling and happy looking.

This is such a wonderful restaurant. We are seated outside under a canopy. And we can hear no cars, no souped-up motorscooters (they sound like chainsaws), no trucks . . . formidable!

10:15 pm We just walked over to the edge of town to look at the lights of Sarlat. It was pitch black except for the lights from the various towns and cars travelling on the highway. There were bats careening by constantly and no clouds at all in the starry sky. It was msity and cool. I wonder if it will be socked in. We're now going to finish off a great evening - no - great day, with Poire William that we got at a place that actually had tasting so we knew that we'd like it. We were pleased to find out that the prune dreck we bought is probably a good one because the good one we tasted at the cave was just as terrible tasting as the one we bought.

(We were given specific instructions about key - as always - in every place but St.Yrieix)

T is struggling to open the poire bottle trying to get the stupid green hard stuff off of the top of the bottle. Now he's trying the "run hot water on it until it maybe gets soft" method. No go. Ai yai yai - now T is using his big knife going in the wrong direction. I just told him that if he cut off his thumb, I wouldn't take him to the hospital.

It turns out it's just a cork! All right! Give me my poire!

Tuesday 8 October 7:50 am cool, overcast
I'm standing at our window on the courtyard of this very quiet hotel. As I looked out to see what kind of sky there was today, there in a window above, was the pajama-ed figure of a man also looking up at the sky. Now the gate of the hotel is opening and the lady who runs it has walked in to start the day and to softly clatter dishes in preparation for our breakfasts.

4:30 p.m. (Gourdon)
We spent the morning strolling around Domme going back and forth in the narrow lovely streets, stopping to look at the spectacular view from various parts of the wall. We went into the lovely simple church that had very rich stained-glass. I paid 1FF to use a disgusting public of view looking back at Domme ©tph1997

By 11:00, the sun came out and it was a breezy 20C. We left town and discovered to our horror that we had a stiff climb ahead of us if we want to keep to smaller roads. So UP we went 3 km to some tableland where we were amazed to ride for 2 km on absolutely flat terrain past a site with many many satellite dishes and sign posted at frequent intervals that said

Défense de penetre
Défense de photographer
Penal code 76

We then began a 6 km descent to Nabirat. As we descended, the forest lands diminiished and we started to see tobacco fields and a big barn with tobacco leaves hanging formt eh rafters to dry.

There was one horrendous short steep climb just before Nabirat. I was going 4 km/hr (I could have walked faster). Nabirat was shut up tight as a drum, shutters closed, curtains drawn. We began the ascent to Gourdon.

to Gourdon

Our route:

route map bike trip97 (gif 3.21kb)

You can click on the map above for an enlargement of our route.

Thanks to excite travel for the France map template
and University of Texas library on line for the relief map template.

e-mail ==%^7^^^7^^                   (gif 843bytes ©ejm99)

© ejm 1997-2000
Toronto Ontario Canada

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