From Bergerac we followed the river upstream. It was ten years ago when we last stopped in this part of France. Then we were in a 2CV with our two teenage daughters, all our camping gear and an inflatable dinghy, packing it was a work of art. We had a fortnight in France, staying on Isle d’Oleron for the first week followed by a lovely peaceful site right on the edge of the Dordogne for the second. We couldn’t remember what it was called but we remembered more or less where it was. On Tuesday afternoon as we drove over the bridge at La Buisson-de-Cadouin we both said “That’s it!”and pointed behind us. Dave turned the van round and after ten years we drove back into Camping du Pont de Vicq. It was just as we remembered it; pine trees, grassy bank leading down to a gravel beach and a pitch looking out over the big Dordogne with a high arched bridge to complete the view.
We got the bikes out and cycled the 7km to Le Roque de Gageac, the next town along the river. We clambered up the narrow alleyways through the impossibly perched houses and looked up at a wooden staircase hanging off the sheer cliff-face leading to a series of caves. It looks as if it might fall down at any moment and it’s all closed off, but it made us wonder how bad it got before somebody shut it!
Back in Beynac we had another climb, first to push the bikes back up to the van, then up to the fortified Chateau; a very impressive and almost intact 13th century castle with a small town surrounding it. It’s a hike up to the top (well everything around here is a hike!) but the view is worth it.
Keeping a close eye on the temperature gauge and checking the water level every half hour revealed that this time the bodge had been fairly successful and we got to Cotures around 3pm to be met by lots of animals, but no Jacqui or Al. By the time they came home we’d made friends with the geese and were sitting in deck chairs on their front lawn with cups of tea and a book each. We’re going to be here for a while; obtaining a new radiator locally was going to be extortionate even if it were possible, which it isn’t, so we’ve ordered one online for a quarter of the price. While we’re waiting for it we might borrow a car and go back to see the bits of the Dordogne we missed. Also these guys would quite like to go for a visit to the UK to see family so we’ve agreed to house sit for them while they do. They really had to twist our arms...Not!
Next week we will be mostly learning all about goats, geese, guinea fowls, chucks & ducks.