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Bergerac to Sarlat - easy trip on the train

overcast 20 °C

Thursday 12th Sept (day 12)

It's overcast and dull today, but hopefully it will not rain. Our last day in Bergerac as this afternoon we catch a train to our next destination: Sarlat (pronounced sar-la, as the t is silent).

We are pretty much organised for our change of destination so no rush to get up early and we lazed in bed until late. It has been a wonderful relaxing time saying here with Jean in Bergerac and such a fabulously welcoming start to our French visit. After a simple breakfast Jean asked us the most important question for the day which was: 'who has an idea of what to have for lunch?' I love the way the French think - food is a major priority. After a bit of thought he suggest Lyn go on a short adventure to the local butcher and try to purchase some lamb chops for the bbq. As some of you may know I am not a big fan of lamb but I was sure anything I eat in this country was going to taste wonderful, so it was agreed we would have chops from the halal butcher for lunch.

While Lyn took care of this Jean and I drove to the train station to make sure the train was all ok for this afternoon. On the way we noticed the halal butcher was closed so that killed the lunch idea, more thoughts of food choices would have to made.

We had success at the train station encountering a much nicer 'French lady behind the glass'. Also helps when you have a native speaker with you. I purchased the tickets there and then so we would be sorted for this afternoon and would not have to worry about trying to purchase them when the train was due.

Our task accomplished thoughts had returned back to what to have for lunch. Last night we had been talking about French food and confit of duck came up in conversation, mainly because it is a local speciality from this area. Easy decision, this would be our choice for lunch and off to the supermarket we went to find Confit de Canard in a can! Please people google this dish to see what it is, I tried to copy and paste description but IPad does not like to do such things.

Our last meal with Jean was very enjoyable indeed! The duck was magic and we also shared a final bottle of Monbazillac in celebration of good times had and safe travels to come.

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Soon it was 5pm and time for us to make the first journey on our loaded Sofia and Fonsi to the train station. I must admit the first couple of 100 meters was somewhat wobbly for me as I quickly got used to steering with the somewhat heavy load on the bike. We were amazed that all the luggage we had fit into the panniers. Kisses and waves goodbye we were on our way. Due to the short distance to the station we were there in plenty of time for the 5.31pm departure. But best to be early then scrambling to get bike and gear on the train in a hurry. It's a little bit of a pain getting the bikes on the train as we must remove the pannier bags as the bikes need to be hung up in the carriage. We managed successfully and soon were sitting back in comfort watching the very pretty and green countryside wizz past us. Part of the way we will see again but from the perspective of being on the river.

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An hour and a half later we were unloading at Sarlat station and cycling towards the centre. We needed to find a distinguishable landmark to meet our couch surfing hosts after I phoned them. These lovely people had actually emailed us with regards to hosting so we thought we would give it a go. The only problem was they did not speak very much English and we of course speak very zero French!

I telephoned Didier and we managed to ascertain that we would wait at the tourist office and he would come collect us. Immediately we recognised there was a language barrier, but hey, mores the fun. Point to note Sarlat is not a flat town, more like a town built on a roller coaster of hills which of course were all in the upward direction to get to our hosts home. Huffing and puffing due to pushing the weighed down bikes up many hills we finally made it to our hosts home and were introduced to Florence - Didier's partner. She was a little shy and advised her English was nil. Well this was not true because after we had brought our bags inside to the room where we were to sleep, we all four sat around the table outside having a drink and a very stunted, slow and funny conversation. All would be fine.

At about 8 we suggested dinner and walked back down to the old center to a suggested restaurant. We had an amazing 3 course meal of fois gras, confit of duck (can't get enough of that) and a yummy creamy nutty toffee dessert that was served in a jar (the name of which escapes me). This was a good deal at 16 euro ($23) each. And the conversation went just great - no problems - we had lots of laughs also. After such a big meal it was nice to be able to walk home even if it was all uphill.

Friday 13th Sept 13 (day 13)

By the time we woke up our hosts had already left for work. Florence worked breakfast at a hotel in town and Didier is a postman. We had quick coffee & tea and headed into town to find breakfast. Lyn had spied a Lidl supermarket on the way in yesterday and we headed there to buy some food and had a little picnic in a little clearing near the carpark. Fresh baguette and cheese - great way to start the day.

The rest of the day we walked around the historic town of Sarlat - old buildings were beautiful and we were thankful that it was not the middle of summer as this place would have been swarming with tourists. It was crowded enough as it was and we heard plenty of English accents as we wandered around. One thing I did notice however was the average age of all the tourists, meandering around the cobbled pedestrian lane ways, was about 70! We were spring chickens compared to most, obviously this was not a hip young backpacker sort of place. Not to worry we enjoyed the day which ended in the afternoon by us sitting in the main square with a corner shop bought beer (third of the price of one if we sat in a cafe) people watching. Our favourite pastime! The weather although grey and cloudy all day had not rained so we were also thankful for that.

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We again walked up the hill, by this time it was after six - Florence and Didier were home. They said we were invited to a friends house to see some art and sculptures created by a local artist. This sounded nice, so at 7.30 we all piled into their car and drove about 10 minutes to a little village 4km away. As we drove onto the property we were met by modern sculptures littering the yard. Very odd stuff if you ask me, but I'm not one for modern, don't make any sense 'art'. We also saw 2 large galleries full of this artist stuff and really again 'I don't get it'. But, whatever.

We had a nice evening with our new limited English French friends and now had an extra friend. Hats off to these French people who have the reputation of being so arrogant, their English was much better than our French will ever be and we are in their country after all.

Another good night of great food and laughs was had.

Back at home we bit farewell to our wonderful hosts as they will be gone to work before make our departure. We have a big bike ride tomorrow, we are going to attempt to get to Rocomadour approx 50km away, but if we only get half way that would be good too.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 10:32 Archived in France Tagged sarlat Comments (1)

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