Monday, September 22, 2014

Grotto Pech Merle

Everything has gone so smoothly for us and we are grateful.  Relaxing yesterday after our 51 mile  hiking journey was very nice.  This morning we packed up, had breakfast and were picked up by a driver who arrived early, as they all have, taking us to the Brive Vallee Airport to pick up our rental car.  We drove an hour or so to our next destination, the prehistoric painted caves at Pech Merle.  We spent some time in the museum and some time watching the film, all in French, but helpful none the less.  We even had time for lunch under an umbrella on the grounds.

Our English tour began and we were led through the cave, which was found by 3 teenagers in 1922.  They were quite courageous exploring this cave with only one flashlight and a rope.

This is a spotted horse and a hand dating back 24,600 years.  We were quite enthralled with the cave.  There were two gigantic rooms with lots of stalagmites and stalactites.  Many paintings on the walls and ceilings and some carvings.

From Pech Merle, we drove to Carcassonne, a fortified French town in the Region of Languedoc-Roussillon.  Occupied since the Neolithic, its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans who occupied its hilltop until the demise of their western empire and was later taken over by the Visigoths in the fifth century who founded the city.  The city is famous for the Cite de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress restored by the theorist and architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in 1853 and added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

We are staying inside the ramparts and were allowed to park there.  This is Chuck pulling his suitcase through the main entrance.

Our apartment.  Doesn't look like much but it's large and perfect for us.  We have a balcony with a table and it overlooks the Cite.

Our view from the balcony

Our hostess, Nicole, is so nice.  I've communicated with her via email and she held the room I requested (based on some reviews) without a deposit of any kind.  She didn't even want any money when we arrived.  We'll settle up when we leave.  She provides all the food for breakfast and we put it together ourselves.  She was very helpful with a map of the Cite and recommendations for dinner.  We stopped by one of them, made reservations for later, chose our table outside with a view of the castle, then took a walk along the ramparts.  What a nice evening.

We went with a "menu" of two courses.  Chuck chose a main and a dessert, while I chose a starter and a main.

My starter, a Thai shrimp salad.  Loved it.

Chuck's main course, grilled duck with vegetables and couscous.  He even commented on the dusting of paprika on the edge of the plate.  He's really getting into it.

My main course, sesame grilled salmon with pureed pumpkin (yum), an awesome cooked tomato and delicious vegetables, which I've been craving.

Chuck's dessert, creme brulee.  He says it wasn't as good as the others we've had, but still very nice.

Are we in a movie?  This is all just too good to be true.


No comments: