Friday, September 19, 2014

Loubressac circuit, 16 kms, (approx. 10 miles), Day 4

We decided to take the longer option today so we could go to an enormous cave where we would ride in a boat from one end to the other and back.  Meanwhile, it was a dark and stormy morning.  We saw flashes of lightening and the weather predicted an 80% chance of thunderstorms.  We figured if we left early we might make it before the storm hit and it is so much cooler in the morning.

Luck was with us again and we avoided the rain and had some nice breezes, sunshine and clouds (our favorite).  Once again it was humid, though not as bad as yesterday. 

Dressing a blister

An Angora goat

The Gouffre de Padirac (Cavern of Padirac-the town it's in) was really fun.  As we came off the trail and made our way down towards the entrance, a giant tour bus pulled up and stopped in front of the place where you buy tickets.  I started running, hoping to get in before the bus belched out 40 or so people.  I made it but almost ran past the woman selling the tickets.  We walked down the 534 steps, eschewing the elevator, and showed our tickets to the boat master.  He asked where we were from (all I have to do is say Bonjour and they figure it out).  He told me we would go with a gondolier who speaks English and we should wait until the last seats so we would be next to him.  Our gondolier was a cute young guy who spoke perfect English and was very nice to us.  He even announced to the others that he would be speaking in English as well as French.  Everyone else was French.

The site was known about since ancient times, thanks to the Padirac Chasm--a vast, gaping hole in the ground where the roof of one of the cave chambers had fallen in.  It was commonly believed to have been created by Satan. The father of speleology, Edouard Martel, began exploring the caves in 1889.  Since then, over 20 km of underground passages have been discovered.

This area is where we walked.

This is where you catch the boats that are neatly parked, ready to load, in those slots with hand rails.  That stalactite is 60 meters long from the ceiling.

We had a wonderful time and it was worth the detour, but we ended up skipping lunch (no picnic provided today) and continued on to a gorge further on.

We carried on with our hike, marveling at how well the walk notes work.  This Dolmen was in a field and our notes said it was worth seeing.  I Googled it when we returned and found out it is also known as a portal tomb or grave and is a single chamber megalithic tomb.

This antique plow and very rusty barbed wire was just beside the path.

 Country residence

We stumbled into our hotel, so ready to rip our shoes off. 

Late this afternoon the skies opened and the thunder thundered.  We even had a rainbow.  It was quite an experience, especially from the comfort of our room and the view from our HUGE window.  Even later, just before dinner, I went out onto the terrace to grab this picture.  That's the pool at our hotel and the local chateau along with the most beautiful clouds.  We had a view from our table of the changing colors of these clouds.

Tonight we each ordered the same things.  Our starter was Foie Gras with toast.  Guilt is a part of it but it was delicious.

Next was bouef with zucchini, eggplant and frites.  The sauce was wonderful.

I was going to forgo the cheese board but it was just too hard.  I said small, petite, but the server didn't seem to understand.  I only took a bite or two of each.  The Roquefort was awesome.

Chuck had a different selection and enjoyed every bite.

Our dessert was beyond description.  Creme Brulee, the best I've ever had.  Two separate textures, smooth and creamy with a crunchy burnt sugar topping.  It was like eating sugared butter...

We are tired but relaxing now.  Tomorrow is another day.


No comments: