Friday, 24 October 2014

TheTower of London and the Dordogne

Hello again - we have just returned from a visit to the Dordogne in France - fantastic scenery - lots of laughs with the group we were with . and  brilliant excursions and a good quota of free time in Souillac our base,
We stayed the night before in London prior to catching the Eurostar to Paris - so we caught the underground to Tower Hill to visit the Tower of London - to see the Remembrance Poppies- well it was daylight when we started out - but night had fallen when we arrived and it is pretty much only round the corner!!- yes you have guessed it - we took the wrong line - it should have been the Circle Line - anyway we finally arrived and it was spectacular
it was very emotive and so silent  at that time - we wandered around for quite a while and then moved on towards the river -
Tower Bridge always looks so splendid -
click on the pics to get a better look -then we made our way back to the Underground making certain we caught the circle line !!!

 The folowing day we met up with our group for the week at St Pancras and away we sped on the Eurostar to Paris -  Gard du Nord
was massively busy and with no time to spare we joined our group to catch our connection to Austerwytch to board the train for Souillac in the Dordogne  400 miles on !!.All went well , with glimpses of Paris on the way
- I worried about the wheels on my trolley case on our station dashes but they stood up to the test and their guarantee statement!!.

We sped north through France at the speed of light - well not quite but pretty fast - admiring the changing countryside from large agricultural expanses t small patchwork meadows - picturesque farmhouses and barns
- sampling the catering facilities on the train - a trolley laden with I don't know what - you name it - he had it in stock - he didn't  speak much English - and we don't speak much French - so  a fair amount of pointing  and laughing  took place- the outcome was ok  - 2 small bottles of red and a bar of unknown chocolate !

Our hotel base was in Souillac and it was extremely good our room had large white shutters opening out onto the view of the church tower
- complete with chiming bells - but you know allthough the chime was quite loud we never heard it through the night - now whether they turn the chime off or perhaps our senses were dulled by the free flowing wine at dinner!

I had chosen this trip because although there were arranged trips out - there was also plenty of free time to view the local town -

 We were amazed at the clean tidy flower laden streets -
no litter - no bins - so refreshing - and amazing scenery at every turn -

We went on several tours out first one was to La Roque-Gageac - the journey in itself was amazing - chateaux at every turn perched miraculously on the sides of steep sided cliffs
- and the day ended in a trip on the River Dordogne
on a traditional boat -
we also visited Rocamadour with unbelievable scenery -
houses and churches perched periously on the sides of the cliffs - and it is said that pilgrims climbed to the top on their knees to repent their sins - every turn was a picture to be taken
- the whole region is a gourmet region - specialities being pate de foie gras - I am vegetarian so this is abhorent to me - walnuts - now we did sample a little walnut liqueur but I found it to bitter for me  but OH thought it good - we did not purchase any because like the truffles for sale it was pretty expensive!!  - moving on from Rocamadour - and I must say here that our local lady coach driver was amazing - she wheeled and turned the coach through the narrow streets and in one place - the coach park - the back end of the coach appeared to hang over the side of the cliff and we could see the houses below
- Rocamadour is built on three levels we were on the second level - to reach other levels you must either walk up winding steps cut out of the cliffs - whch take you past tiny churches and chapels
- the atmosphere was amazing it was Sunday and all of the churches were full to the brim with local people and tourists passing through  - the singing - candles and incense burning at every turn - or lifts operate between the levels of the town - as we steamed out of town we were brought back down to the practicalities of modern day living
- a car boot at the top of the town!!

On now to Martel and a ride on the Truffadou train - this line has been restored - it was used to bring the truffles into town - OH and myself are"anoraks" we love a steam train - and this one was a little gem - see what you think this is off you tube my version was a bit topsey turvey

The train stopped at a little stone hut - all the wares were  quickly put on sale - even a litter bn was put in situ  - we bought a poster
- for our summer house - as soon as the train pulled away - they quickly closed up - vanishing inside the shop!

Another excursion took us to the medieval town of Sarlat -
again a mixture of wonderful  old buildings flowers and coffee shops - we were so lucky we had sunny days up till the last day and then it threw it down - water rushing down the streets - up until then I had wandered how the flowers looked so good because I had never seen anyone watering them - but it seems - no need

We caught the train back down to Paris - the train was 55 mins late - so we missed our Eurostar connection - we were very thankful that we had our tour guide to banter with the powers that be to get us on the next train to London  -Take care -thanks for calling - have a lovely week - Jane