Monday, July 26, 2010

Sarlat by way of St. Emilion

Yesterday we finished watching the 2010 Tour de France final ride into Paris. No changes and everyone seemed to enjoy receiving their awards. It was nice to see that they allowed the RadioShack Team to put on their new uniforms (promoting Cancer fundraising) before going on stage to receive the first place Team award.

Jim’s taste buds are disappearing he said….too much of the same thing all the time with these picnics we’re having. So we looked around for a place to go out to dinner. Not much choice…it’s Sunday and nearly everything is closed out here in the suburbs where our hotel is located. We decided to go next door to the Buffalo Grill. Jim enjoyed his change of menu and other than getting unexpected dinner salads first; and I had ordered a Caesar salad….it was all very good. We had some light rain in the evening.

Early to bed….that’s relative as it doesn’t get dark until after 10 pm….and on the road this morning by 9 am. Cooler but the sun is shining as we headed towards downtown Bordeaux; Jim wanted to drive over a very old bridge that is on the list of “things to do in Bordeaux”. Along the way we saw a sign stating that they were using “radar”….everyone slowed down but Jim kept going for a while and finally slowed down also. Soon we saw two policemen with what looked like surveyor’s equipment. It was a radar gun and they were tracking cars with it. Glad we slowed down….I put a photo of it in the slideshow for you. Also another photo of the huge bell tower of St. Michel.

Soon we were headed on the slow roads towards the city of Bergerac. We’re definitely in the wine country of Bordeaux; very little growing except grapes. There were a few acres of corn and an occasional field of sunflowers; mostly in the bottom acres that don’t have the drainage needed for the vineyards. Soon we were seeing signs for St. Emilion; the best wines are out of this area. We’ve stayed in St. Emilion twice so had not planned on driving through as it is a bit north of where we were going. But, couldn’t resist and ended up taking time to drive through the town for another fast visit.

Back on the road to Bergerac and then on to our destination of Sarlat-la-Canada….or just Sarlat as it’s usually known as. Just after Bergerac we entered into the land known as Dordogne. This area does not have as many vineyards; more fruits, vegetables and other products are grown here; and there are forests and hills along with hilltop castles. We arrived in Sarlat about 2 pm and found our hotel, Hotel Altica Sarlat, south of town and easy to find. Once we knew where it was we headed into the town of Sarlat; a town dating back to medieval times that draws the tourist just because it’s old and quaint and easy to visit. Lots of nooks and grannies to explore with very old building that have a touch of Italian architecture because an Italian Bishop once lived here…you don’t want to know why…but it definitely added something different to this delightful French village.

We walked and walked and walked….we found parking up at the top of the town….yes…it’s on a hillside…next to the cemetery. That was an adventure in itself with the unusual glass canopies over many of the graves. We stayed here years ago and Jim thought we were at the bottom of the old town but we were actually at the top. Two very nice French school girls squared us away and we found that we had to walk down to the old center of the city. We’ve found a restaurant where we are going to splurge tomorrow night for dinner.

By 5 pm we were back at the hotel…by the way…great hotel…newer….free wifi (that doesn’t disconnect every 20 minutes), an in suite bathroom and television. No air conditioning but does have a nice large fan in the room for us. We did our shopping and had a picnic this evening along with wine! Miss the CNN (English speaking) news channel but other than that it’s great!

Tomorrow we’re going to find some chateaux to visit; possibility the one in the slideshow that sits high on the bluff over a town; and also a trip to the town of Rocamadour.

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