Click here for an enlargement of our route
Here are four photos (click on them to see enlargements)from the three rolls that we took:
Monday 29th September 1997 The road taken from Bourdeilles to Brantôme is fairly typical of the roads we took in the 3 1/2 weeks of our journey. We saw very few cars. It ran through a forest of oak along a little river and we ate our picnic lunch on its banks. After lunch I tried to get a picture of E and me under the lip of a small cave. I set the camera on the seat of my bike, pressed automatic and ran as hard as I could but the camera went off before I could reach the cave. Later on, we saw many more caves like this; some were used as garages and some larger caves had houses built into them.
Sunday October 5th 1997 The last bit of steep climb to the Chateau de Biron, 9 km from Monpazier. What impressed us most about Biron was its size. It is huge. What captured our imaginations was that it was totally empty. There were giant cavernous rooms with no furniture, little decoration and no refinements. As we climbed higher and higher up the stone steps and into the upper reaches of the Chateau, the wind began to moan gently through the leaded glass panes. We continued higher still and the sound of the wind became a kind of constant, gentle roar like the rolling breath of a sleeping dragon. On the upper most floor of the Chateau there was a room that looked like it had once been a great ballroom. Part of its ceiling had long since collapsed and the floor below had buckled and crumbled. There were pigeons flying everywhere. We later heard a story that in the early part of the 20th century, the young man who had inherited Biron had sold everything in the Chateau to subsidize a lavish lifestyle.
Monday October 6th 1997 We were very hungry when we decided to stop at Limeuil, situated on the confluence of the Vèzére and Dordogne rivers for lunch. As we began to unpack our lunch at one of the picnic tables a little terrier came trotting from across the road to say hello. He almost smiled as he approached, I thought. We talked to him as we unpacked and told him there might be something for him after we had finished eating, but not before. He sat quietly looking at us. Just as we sat down to eat our amazing lunch of the most fantastic chevre, trappe echourgnac (abbaye cheese), crusty bread, juicy pears and apricot juice, it started to drizzle lightly. We began to eat quickly so as to be finished before we really started to get wet. But then as suddenly as it started, the rain stopped. We talked and joked about our luck when I realized we had forgotten the dog. I looked down. He was curled up at our feet under the table, fast asleep.
As we began to pack up our leftovers and put them into our bags I noticed the dog looking up at me as if to say, "Hey! I thought we had a deal!" I ripped off a large piece of bread and threw it in his direction. He went over and gave it a good sniff, then looked back up at me. "That's it?" he seemed to say. I threw over another piece. He didn't even bother to investigate this time. Instead he kind of shrugged his shoulders and walked away back in the direction from where he had come.
Thursday October 9th 1997 Our lunch spot at Castlefrank not far from Puy L'Evesque on the banks of the Lot River, where we ate the best cabécou and pears. We tried ewe's milk yoghurt that E found to be a bit too funky but it provided us with two perfect size glass vessels to drink our evening digestifs of eau de vie (Poire William) with which we had become accustomed to ending our evenings. We had a wonderful day that started as all uphill in the AM out of Gourdon. But at about 11:00 AM we reached the small town of Peyrilles in time to have coffee at a small bar which was closed for the holidays but took pity on us. After a short, steep climb that ended just outside of town it was downhill all the way to the Lot River.
3 days later as we were having lunch in a small restaurant in Brive-la-Guaillarde, we noticed a couple eating lunch at a table nearby. The woman was staring at us quite openly and I wondered why. At the end of their meal the man went to pay and she approached us. "Aren't you the two cyclists we saw climbing up to Perilles last week?" she asked. I'm not sure who was more astonished, she to learn that indeed it had been us or E and I to learn that we had been recognized.
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This is a painting like some we saw in the grotte de Font de Gaume in Les Eyzies