On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

France 2013 – Days 6/7 Tues 9th,Weds 10th July – Rocamadour, caves, etc.

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Having had a quiet day it was time to explore. So – off to Rocamadour.  We had been once before about 20 years ago but it is pretty impressive and well worth a return.  The town is built into the cliff above the Dordogne river and draws many tourists and justifiably so.

Rocamdour 1

Rocamdour 1

Rocamadour 2

Rocamadour 2

Of particular interest is the Black Madonna or Vierge Noire. We had seen her before but again – she was worth a repeat. Paul managed a sneaky – if irreverent – photo of her. As you can see, she is pretty tiny! Maybe 24″?

Black Madona of Rocamadour

Black Madona of Rocamadour

Because the town is on several levels there is a cliff railway buried deep inside the cliff (so as not to distract from the view) to take you down to the Sanctuary level. Its cool was most welcome. There is a conventional elevator – again buried inside the cliff – to take you down to town level. The town was FAR less tacky touristy than we remembered. Perhaps they have had a rethink on tat? Although it was still there if you really wanted a Black Madonna snow globe or suchlike!

Cliff Railway

Cliff Railway

SUMPS ROCAMADOUR Archway Roca

It was hot again (over 35 degrees) and so we decided to make our next visit to one of the many and very impressive caves that stud the limestone. Our choice was Lacave – it was the nearest! We made our way there, pausing only for lunch – a very tasty Magret de Canard et frites. Mmmm. Check out the translation on that link for Lacave by the way. Amusing.

We had a very short wait before the Petit Train arrived and transported us into the bowels of the earth – or thereabouts! Once we disembarked there was an hour and half walking tour of the Grotte – if I’m honest it was a little too long. The sights were marvellous, they really were, but you can only shuffle through a damp (cool!) cave with about 50 others, listening to a rapid French only narration and explanation of its sights,  before you start to lose the will to live.  Just a little. All caved out was how I described it at the time. Soon the Petit Train had expelled us back into the daylight, tired and grubby.

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We made our way home via the E Leclerc in Souillac – more supplies although I can’t recall quite what. We played boules again and this time Paul won, although I was feeling a bit dodgy at the time. Honestly!! Got my own back at the card table, bringing the score to 4-3 – in his favour. Coming back !

Wednesday was another relaxing day by the pool. We were having lunch in the bar when suddenly a lone sheep trotted by. It transpired that it had been spotted here and there all over the site from an early hour but no-one had been able to catch it. It had escaped from the adjacent farm and soon the farmer turned up mob-handed and they swiftly had her back in their control. Sweet. Just missed capturing her myself – on film of course…..

We got chatting to a couple in the pool and it turned out they were from Hillhead! Better yet the chap turned out to be our Sainsbury’s groceries delivery driver. Didn’t recognise him without his clothes on! Small world eh? We had a lovely lazy and relaxing day

We went out to a local and really quite rustic pizza place and had a very nice meal in their front garden. For a while were the only diners and then another carload of English turned up. Nice chat with them before we set off back to Lacomte for a nightcap at the bar. We got chatting to another couple – this time from Chandler’s Ford! Has the whole of Hampshire decamped to the Lot?

Beautiful sunset.

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