This is a very self indulgent account of Richard and Heather Knowles travels as they wander through Europe in search of a different way of life.
This is a very self indulgent account of Richard and Heather Knowles travels as they wander through Europe in search of a different way of life.
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DORDOGNE AND GORGES

 

Sunday 7 September

 

Set off to Dordogne. Raining heavy but spirits not dampened. Stopped in Perigueux not over impressed with old city. When we set off looked back wonderful views of Cathedral, river and old city. Like most things it is the angle from which you look that makes it !! Heading for the Dordogne down the Vezere and discovered the whole new world of Cro Magnon man. Stopped at Grotte de Grand Roc outside Les Eyzies. A limestone cave full of amazing rock formations which puts White Scar at Ingleton to shame. Hundreds of  caves in the area some of which lived in by prehistoric man. Found Aire de Motor Camper in les Elyzies. Three euros for the night. Surrounded by other campers and walnut trees. Omelette de Langoustines.

 
Les Eysies Needs A Bit Of Work!
 
 Les Eysies Needs A Bit Of Work!
 

 

Monday 8 September

 

Les Elyzies local produce market. Ripped off by Cheese seller. 25 euros for lump of Beaufort. Mind you it is a big lump. Went looking for Cro Magnon village. Couldn’t find it must have been moved on by the Council ! Montignac and nearly decapitated the truck whilst filling up with gasoil. Set off cross country to Souillac . Route Barree par accident which meant we then went very cross country down single track hairpins. Found free Aire de Camping in Souillac. Met up with a Brit couple from Beverly talked camper van technicalities. Pork chops with Poirreaux au gratin.

 

 

Tuesday 9 September

 

Set off for Rocamadour . Took the French equivalent of the Pass of the Beasties rather than the easy route. Worth the trip though. Rocamadour is spectacular with cliff side monastery and singing by troupe made up of Father Salomon (very trendily dressed monk looking like a rugged walking guide) and Mulligan and O’Hare (Reeves and Mortimer) ably abetted by the singing Nun. Headed towards Montagu de Quercy to visit Bentham friends Rachel and Geoff. Missed turnoff in Cahors and cross countried again . Arrived at 7pm. Rachel’s Mum and Sister also arrived that day all the way from sunny N Yorks. Montagu very typical. Nice village. Fed and watered. Slept in van parked outside Rachel’s.

 
Rocamadour Monastery How Did They Build That There?
 
Rocamadour Monastery

How Did They Build That There?

 
Rocamadour Building
 
Rocamadour Building

 


 

Wednesday 10 September

 

Viewed the estate Geoff and Rachel done great job renovating house. Had a bath. The girls inform me I will miss baths most on our travels. Wait to be convinced. Set off lunchtime towards Gorges du Tarn via Grotte du Pech Merle outside Cahors. Yet another limestone cave but this time with Cave Paintings. Excellent tour for 8 euros. Took 2 hours plus. Navigated short cut to avoid 20K of very narrow windy roads. Very little difference in this region between any coloured roads on map. Heather becoming good navigator after 15 years. Stopped at aire de motor camper in Pont de Salars. Problems getting cash out of hole in wall. Will stick to bigger banks ATM's in future. Credit Agricole always seems to work. Had squid in tomato sauce salad followed by four cheese tortellini with lardons and garlic cream sauce, followed by the now ubiquitous chocolate mousse and cheese. The beaufort is going down slowly but the Roquefort is wonderful.

 

Montagu De Quercy
 
Montagu De Quercy
 

 

Thursday 11 September

 

Set off for Gorges du Tarn again. Came across Micropolis, or everything that you wanted to know about (in)sects but never dare ask. Museum of Henry le Favre web site www.micropolis.biz in his home village. Excellently designed and interpreted. Must be European money (wonder whether it stacks up or needs continual subsidy). Arrived at proper campsite in Riviere sur Tarn to go to Launderette and use computer for web site etc. and make phone calls. Bad network coverage due to towering cliffs.

Ate pork in an apple, mustard and cream sauce, Normandaise(ish), Excellent Vin de Pays Syrah and Grenache mix for under £1. Good job I bought a couple of bottles. Sites closing down. Need to buy aire de camping book to find cheap places in France on our way through. Expect to be here in France perhaps another week.

 
Micropolis
 
Micropolis
 

 

Friday 12 September

 

Cycled along Gorges de Tarn to Le Rozier and Peyreleau. Spectacular scenery on both sides of the river. Watched Eagles and Vultures (we think), there is a reintroduction programme for vultures here. Great area with loads to do. Could have done with more time here. Chicken Fajitas for tea and Merlot.

 

Typical Village Way Down In The Vallio !
   
Typical Village Way Down In The Vallio !

 

 


 

Saturday 13 September

 

Drove up Gorges de Tarn. Really spectacular views of the gorge at many vantage points. Stopped at La Malene and canoed down the 8 km route to Les Baumes, brought back up river by minibus. Cost 23 euros took a couple of hours but fantastic. Calm, loads of fish, chub, barbel, trout all merrily ignoring us and beautiful surroundings. Well worth a trip up the gorge, not easy driving, especially in the suicide seat, but unmissable. Left the gorge and drove to Florac and shopped at worst supermarket in France at Florac. Told Heather to buy meals for three nights at 8 euros a night to get used to budgeting. Failed miserably spent nearly 40. We will get better. Carried on to Ales along the longest, windiest, steeply wooded road major road through the Cevennes with loony drivers in the growing dark. Thank God it wasn’t a minor road it would have taken all night. Arrived in Ales, struggled to find a suitable site. Ales is a typical busy small French city with history but obviously some social problems. Decided to pull up on car park next to Railway Station. Soon joined by French Motor Campers (they are all at least 10 years older than us), we feel either tarnished by image and labelled as crumblies or smug about actually doing it at our tender ages. In the UK people say aren’t you brave going off like this, in Europe the fact is that everyone does it and there are facilities everywhere in France once you infiltrate the system. This is not well documented in UK but I think it is becoming a problem in France, with the number of camper vans on the road in the season. Camaradie made with French couple , my slowly improving French let me understand that they were only staying there because we were there and there was strength in numbers. Anchovy Salad starter, Spanish Omelette, cheese , Syrah Grenache mix.

 

Gorgeous Local Hotel
   

Gorgeous

Local Hotel

 

Just To Prove It !
 

Just To Prove It !

 

 

Sunday 14 September

 

Left Ales heading for the Ardeches. Arrived Vallon Pont D’arc got the impression camper vans not flavour of the month. Arrived too late to do the all day canoe (24 kms) down the river so made our way to the Pont d’Arc and sunbathed like we were French. Pont d’Arc is the fantastic limestone arch over the river. Heather swam in river, I successfully left trunks in van, ( I hate shocking the goose bumps too often and prefer goolies heading towards knees rather than armpits). Fatal error. Did not account for position of sun when sunbathing. I know have a good tan when approached from the left. Heather spent the last few days worrying restuck crown, which was now very wobbly. Heather in fear of swallowing it. Me in fear of retrieving it from sludge tank and cleaning it. H Had to rush back to van to pull out and restick. This shows how careful you have to be with superglue. H took several painful minutes peeling crown from gum, and then restuck it, straight as well, just using glue on peg. We await next dental episode. Drove through Aubenas to Privas, beautiful lush green countryside with a fair smattering of lumpy bits, forests and precipitous drops, worthy of further investigation inland. Arrived Cote du Rhone approaching Valence. I am becoming a big fan again. We have drunk a lot of full bodied CdR so far and it has been very gluggable. Decided to head towards Chambery. Abandoned principles took autoroute. Cost several days food but parked up in motorway service station 10 miles from Chambery,

ready for a good coffee in the café and nosh chez nous. Quelle surprise and how bloody civilised. You could only get a full blown meal in the grillade at the service station. So brill Spag Carbonara,(chez nous) thank heavens for lardons, and cheese (porquoi pas) and choc mousse. Cote du Rhone again ? can’t remember.

 

    

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[Loire/Ile De Re] [Dordogne and Gorges] [Summer Alps] [Italy] [Slovenia] [Croatia] [On The Road To Morrocco] [Monte Carlo or Bust] [Spain, Benidorm and Gibraltar] [Rabat And All That] [El Jadida, Ounara, Essouria] [More meanderings & out of Africa] [Snowmads] [Snowmads 2] [Richard -  The BIG 50 !!!] [Eastern Europe] [Eastern Europe (cont)]
 

 

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