Enjoying an Italian Dinner in Genoa, 2016

Enjoying an Italian Dinner in Genoa, 2016

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday --- A day of Pre-history

This area of the Valley of Vezere is the home of prehistoric sites dating from the Paleolithic era up to 400,000 years ago,  We came to see the Cave drawings in the area....and saw so much more!

When we arrived at the hotel last night, we made it clear we were here for Duck and Caves.  The Desk clerk suggested hiring a driver and guide named  Christophe who owns a private excursion service for the area.  Christophe lives here with his wife and 3 kids and has made a nice living taking people like us to see the sites.  Apparently a good living, because he drives a Tesla X!

Nice car!  Anyway, he suggested picking us up at 9AM so we could be first in line to tour the Font-de-Gaume Cave which is one of the few caves you can actually see the "real" cave drawings not the reproductions.  It was discovered in 1901 and contains painting and carvings that date back 15,000 years old created by the Magdalenians.  Their purpose is still a mystery, probably religious or spiritual in nature, but they are beautiful!

 There are 80 bison, 40 horses, 23 mammoths, 17 reindeer, oxen, rhinoceros, and wolf, bear and felines.  There is only 1 human form.  The photos above are from a reproduction as time and cameras are limited due to the fragile nature of the cave.

Then we went to history museum and saw a film about the area and the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal species.

NEANDERTHAL MAN. We thought Trump 

Cro-Magnon Man

Our next stop was the LaRoque St. Christophe which is a city of troglodytiques.  It consists of 7 natural levels or terraces in the rockface of a huge hill in the Vezere Valley that housed generations of Cave dwellers from ancient time up to the Middle Ages.

If you have ever watched Rick Steeves he has a show about this place.  Amazing how every human need was perched on these rock faces.
Bake oven

how they added walls to the front

They winched heavy objects and animals up from the valley floor

Totally amazing!

We were exhausted from climbing over rocks, etc. so we stopped for lunch before the last cave.  The last was a cave called Combarelles which houses hundreds of etched animals, much smaller than Gaume, but so many more in number.  These were also original!  We were so lucky to be able to see them in person.

Coming back to the hotel we saw a goose farm that makes the delicious 
Foie Gras of the area.  Our guide states that the geese love the "force" feeding that people are so squeamish about.  

They look happy!

Well that's all for tonight.  I will post tomorrow about the Sarlat market that we will go to in the morning.  Au Revoir!

Thursday, Train Day & Foie Gras

Hello!  Did you miss me last night? Thursday was a train travel day and it literally took ALL day to get from Tours to the little town of Sarlat.  Trains here are amazing, especially the TVGs which are the fast trains.  They go over 100mph (sometimes over 150mph) and move so smoothly through the country side that you hardly know you are moving.

Waiting on the platform for the train to come.  Everyone's responsible for their own luggage.

David on the TGV from Tours to Bordeaux.

We had a one hour wait for our train to Sarlat from Bordeaux and when it finally came it became apparent this was no TGV.  Full of commuters, this train went at most 40mph and stopped at every dinky town between Bordeaux and Sarlat.  Like 15 of them.  Took 3 hours to travel 1/2 the distance the TGV took.  But, the countryside was beautiful, and we saw a LOT of wine being grown.  

When we finally arrived in Sarlat, no taxis.  So we had to hoof it down the hill and into town from the train station (about a half mile).  We were tired and cold when we arrived, but moved into our rooms and then immediately went out for a Fabulous meal in town.  This is a little medeival city which is charming.

Our meal was in a tiny (seats about 25) restaurant hosted by a young couple.  We chose a wine from the area and each chose 3 courses for the "menu".  Jerry, Dee and I chose Foie Gras for a starter which was served with a wonderful marmalade, Dave had Camembert Cheese.  Then of course, duck confit for dinner, and assorted desserts.  Amazing!

Dee chose scallops

Dave and Dee are feeling no pain.

lemon tart for Jerry

Jerry didn't think he could eat it,,,,,but he did!

The end of a perfect meal!

We came back to the hotel and slept.  Friday was to be a BIG day.