Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Little Walk to Keep the Juices Flowing

Our Best Pals in Badaginnie, Chris and Julie Walpole, bade us attempt a little walk they had attempted out of Tremolat. So we thought we would have a crack at it ourselves. Tremolat is yet another of the gorgeous villages that inhabit France (and no doubt the whole of Europe) that one can never get sick of discovering. AAfter a 30-minute drive downstream, we bounded straight to the Information Shop to obtain a map for the walk. The shop attendant lady was typical of those who occupy such roles in similar establishments. Extraordinarily helpful and understanding, with just the right amount of English to provide assistance (it is moments like these visits when I wish I had more French, in order to make their job a little easier). English versions of the map and directions were printed off on a rasping, swishing dot-matrix printer and the Ramblers were off!

The walk took us past the church ('eglise' - which I had mistaken for the 'English' on prior occasions) and on to a tiny hamlet perched above the village. Onwards and upwards into a bois (wood) and then into a foret (forest). Confident of our location and direction we followed the dirt track, eventually emerging onto a tiny sealed road amid another little hamlet. Here we were to find a signpost to a 'croix'. No such signpost was to be found. Alas AND alack! Although not 'lost', we did not know EXACTLY where we were according to the map, OR the directions. JLR thought the way to be in THIS direction, GCR thought it more than likely to be up this OTHER track. 'Flexible Jude' deferred to the GCR way forward and we confidently headed off in (what turned out to be) the wrong direction (bugger!).

A foret link path eventually put us back onto what seemed to be the right track (we never found out, really, because the map and directions really LEAVE A LOT TO BE DESIRED! We walked back along the road to Tremolat with broad, sweeping views of the Dordogne from way up on the cliff-top. Fabulous! [Along the way we scrambled up the cliff-face on our left to what looked like an ancient, abandoned house. It was ancient, but work had been started on a restoration. With nobody about, we went in and made some gratuitous comments about its efficacy and beauty to no one in particular. But there was somebody. An owl! A HUGE, grey owl. We had disturbed its day-time snooze and it took off, scaring the clappers out of us. It seemed to stand(?) 18 inches tall. It was a whopper! A couple of circuits of the 'house' (it was quite small) and 'Owley' flew off into the bois ... We would have missed him/her if we had not lost the 'walk'. I think there is some sort of philosophical message there somewhere, which I shall leave with you.]

The walk back to Tremolat was spent playing 'Wouldn't it be great to buy that lovely house that overlooks the Dordogne'. There are heaps 'a vendre', and it makes you wonder why. GFC and pension funds undermined? Bought for rental, but no punters? Got too old to maintain the joint? There are many (too many?) English people living around these here parts, as evidenced by the existence of an active Anglican church in the next village we visited, and an English language newspaper 'The Advertiser'. [It is a spell-breaker to read an English newspaper here in the Dordogne. It tends to reduce the travelling experience to an unwanted level of ordinariness. Don't do it. It is much more preferable to maintain your sense of wonder; to be immersed in a sea of naivety, surrounded by unintelligible language, spoken and written. Who really wants to know that Marjory Phillips has just opened a B&B and is hoping to attract lots of visitors this coming tourist season?]

Drive back to our pad under the ramparts after a gaz-oil (diesel) top-up for Morgana and a super-marche top-up of fuel for us (we are having a go at cooking some lovely boueff bourgignone (spelling?) tomorrow and have to get the ingredients ...

Hoo-roo for now. Heaps of Rambler Cooking to do ...



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