Monday, May 11, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - Domme, Beynac on a sunny day

It's surprising how even though we've visited places before, they're different when we go back. Domme was such a surprise today.  Chris, Ron, and Dave did an 10 km (7 mile) hike that started and ended in Domme, so Pat, Chuck and I drove over to meet them with our picnic lunch and plans to eat it at the belvedere in the park.
This is a hiking path?
Chris and fig tree

Roses are coming into full bloom just now.
Chris and Ron pose

This lavoir in Cénac was the community laundry facilities.

The countryside is becoming greener each week.

Ron and Chris in Domme next to l'Esplanade Restaurant

When we arrive, our normal parking lot is full and the place is crawling with people. So I drive through the city in search of other parking options. After a few false starts, we make our way to the top of town and find rock star parking right near the park and the public toilettes.  It turns out there's a HUGE market today with clothes and tourist stuff covering the park next to the church as well as the market square and the side streets around it. This is right up Chuck's alley and he finds a couple of interesting stalls as well as an open antique store. In fact, most shops and restaurants are now open and ready for the season. The town has changed from a sleepy village to a bustling tourist town. When we stop in the tourist office, I'm blown away by the fact that it is open over the lunch period (you know, that 12-2 PM French lunch break?). I joke with the staff about their wonderful open-during-lunch invention as one assistant replaces the other at noon.
The main street is bustling and the shops are all open now.

We learn that there is a petit train which gives a 20 minute tour of the town (in French unfortunately) for 5 Euros which leaves at 2:15. Since we are meeting the others for lunch at 1:30, that seems a safe bet. But when 2 PM arrives without any sign of them, I begin to worry that I will miss the train ride. But just after 2, the hikers arrive and we leave them to their lunch and go take our train ride.

Once back, we agree to meet in half an hour to give us time to go through the town's museum, the entrance for which came free with our train ride ticket.  The museum shows vignettes of how people lived and dressed and the tools and everyday utensils they used in their lives in the past couple hundred years.  I loved seeing the christening dresses, embroideries and clothes, but there were good things to see in every room.

Since it's early afternoon, we decide a gabarre ride in Beynac is in order. I drop everyone at the top of Beynac and while they walk down to the gabarre, I drive home to see if Christie, who has been sick since arriving, is up for a boat ride.
Dordogne looking down from the upper town.
Pat gives perspective to a doorway that is just her size.
Mind your head.

Ron, Chris, Chuck and Pat walking down. Pat was none too pleased with
the steepness, the worn stone steps and the cobblestones. But other than that, it was good.

She is and we return to Beynac, parking near the gabarre ticket office. I purchase tickets (cash only) and we fiddle with phones to make sure the others will be in time for the 5 PM boat.  They are, and just like we planned it, we have a beautifully sunny gabarre ride past Beynac, Marqueyssac, Feyrac, and within sight of Castelnaud.
Pat, Chris, Ron and Chuck with Beynac in the background.
Look, Pat, you started from the top of that town and walked all the way down to the water.

In the gabarre with Chuck, Lynn, Christie, Pat, Ron and Chris.

The water is high here too, and they are using a different dock than the first time we took the boat. The river still is a muddy brown, but in places reflects the blue of the sky. Even though we have a thousand photos of this stretch of the Dordogne, we can't help ourselves and take more. You just want to capture each moment of this magnificent scenery to hold onto it forever.

The obligatory photo of  Beynac

The water level on April 16
The water level on May 7 - notice the grass is covered, the float is more than a foot higher than before
The boat is flooded (not that it would take much to flood the old flat-bottomed boat.

Notice that even the sidewalks are 6 inches underwater. 

Home again to a beautiful evening of aperos and pasta dinner. Life is good.

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