I’m sat in Harry, the sun is shining, Charlie is outside in his little makeshift kennel and it’s good to have the awning out again. I will eventually get you up to date with where we are and what we’re up to but for the moment, I have so much I want to share with you with regards our little trip in the Dordogne that I think I will crack on with that for the moment.
The area is rich in prehistoric evidence. There are the world famous Lascaux Caves which we visited. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed but what an incredible place, in brief back in 1940, 3 young lads were looking for their missing dog and found the original Lascaux Caves by sheer chance. The caves are absolutely crammed full of prehistoric paintings. The original caves were eventually starting to deteriorate due to the sheer volume of visitors and tourists and so at great pains, the French have incredibly reconstructed an exact copy of them. The paintings have been replicated in the same way that they were originally painted. The original paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old!! I’m no history buff but that’s pretty impressive. The tour was fantastic, very informative and well-worth the visit.
This image has been taken from the internet to give you an idea …
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org
At Les Ezyies de Tayac there is the Museum of Prehistory. We didn’t visit but I’m quite sure it is totally fascinating.
We did visit a location called “La Roque St Christophe” which is a cliff face. high above the Dordogne river which has a horizontal fissure in it that runs the length of the rock. This, in prehistoric times. was inhabited by what I still call ‘cavemen’ It continued to be used as shelter well into the middle ages and was in fact at one time quite a town/city complete with Church, prison and fort.
As you will see we didn’t get the most friendly of welcomes from our friend the caveman!
It was quite an amazing feeling walking on well worn rocks that had been walked on by our ancestors. I’m glad to show you that Charlie was made welcome here too. Although he managed the walk up quite well, getting back down via very narrow and very steep stone steps were a little more tricky for his old hips and The Hubster became the Knight in Shining Armour (along with a bad back) and gallantly carried the lummox down the precarious and vertiginous stairways. Bravo to The Hubster!!
While staying at the Gite, our hosts recommended a local restaurant, Le Bareil, “Oh it’s just up the road” they told us. Well, the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere and every road looked the same, we went on a trial run to see if we could find it. After more than our fair share of three point turns, we eventually did. To say we were underwhelmed would be an overstatement. What a dive! It was on a little back lane, overlooking fields and it was closed to boot. Ah well, we thought, it didn’t look as if we were missing out on much.
A couple of days later, someone else also recommended the said restaurant, informing us that it was only open at lunchtimes. Who were we to snub some good advice? So off we went, we weren’t all that excited to be honest.
We arrived and the car park was full of lorries, vans and workmen’s vehicles!!! Maybe there were having a makeover!!!
We entered and it was buzzing, lots of men in their work gear, chatting at tables,. “Have we booked?” asked the waiter, dressed in scruffy jeans, an equally unkempt tee shirt and a slightly thrown-together look! “Booked? No sorry!”
He told us it wouldn’t be a problem and indicated a table near a window. We sat. He returned and asked what we would like to drink as an aperitif? We ordered and he returned with the drinks very rapidly, Fig Wine, home made and probably the most beautifully fragrant drink I’ve ever tasted. Good start!!
We looked around the restaurant in amazement. Every body seemed to know each other, as soon as a customer came in, first stop was the kitchen to give the obligatory 4 kisses to Maman chef, Daughter cook, other Daughter commis and the waiter and everyone else who was in there! Then it was time to walk around the restaurant to shake hands with every other man in the place and kiss every other woman.
This was incredible, I think the whole neighbouring town was there!
No sooner had we had a couple of glances, the chap returns and places a massive Soup Tureen in the middle of the table! “Help yourselves!” With a massive basket of bread to hand, we devoured a bowl or two of the Vegetable Broth. No sooner had the bowls been cleared, the chap comes back with four plates, on each one, salad, home made Pork Terrine and toast, which we also polished off.
Our attention was taken by the table of workmen behind us who decided they no longer wanted the roll-down blind at the window and proceeded to take it down off it’s hooks and place it carefully on the floor!!! Can you imagine changing the decor in a restaurant???
After the Terrine, the waiter plonked a bowl of green salad and a large white bowl on the table. It was steaming hot full of mashed potatoes. Ummm, what do we do with this? Is there anything to accompany it? Is he coming back? Aha, with a little bit of a dig we found it was in fact, Duck Parmentier! (Like Shepherd’s Pie but with Duck) It was absolutely delicious. What more? we asked ourselves! Well, that was followed by a massive tray with a selection of cheeses including Fromage Frais (it tasted like lightly, whipped, fresh cream) accompanied by home made jams, black cherry and Spanish melon. And as if we weren’t fit to burst we followed that with Poire Belle Helene and Chocolate Mousse! Oh and coffee!! Oh and what I didn’t tell you was that the wine was already on the table when we arrived and when the bottle was empty, another one was brought to our table as soon as.
Another thing, you may have noticed is that we didn’t order a thing!!! It was a kind of“sit down and eat” menu. It was absolutely fantastic and I think I can say it was one of the highlights of our trip and to think we were thinking of not going! It just goes to prove, you should never judge a book by it’s cover!!
All of this for 19.50 Euros per person!!! And even better, Charlie was again made welcome and lay under the table collecting the odd dropped bit of bread at our table and that of our neighbours!