Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ducks and roosters

As the cool winds push away the Sahara heatwave, bringing in clouds and plummeting temps (seventies, daytime), I’m placing things with greater care now into a suitcase and separately into my dry sack for the canoe trip tomorrow. There will be a brief lull in posting, but not for long: I want to paddle hard and long because it would be terribly embarrassing to do the trip (with two of us working the paddles) in a stretch of time over and beyond what Ed put in to get from Souillac to Coux.

And what about this day? A good part was spent zigzagging between villages, trying to get the scoop on bus and train schedules. Much as I love public transport in France, when I search for information on connections between the tiny villages, I am often stumped. And I’m not the only one. We go to the village two kilometers from Coux (Siorac-en-Perigord: a train passes through it!) to learn about buses or trains back to Souillac. No train. The tracks are being serviced until July 1st (a day too late for us!). There is substitute bus transport in the interim. To Sarlat. From there, another bus will take us to Souillac. And the schedule? At the train station, the train station, they don’t know the schedule. Can’t sell you tickets either. For that, you have to go to the next, larger village.

Ah. So, excuse me for asking this, but I am truly curious: here you are at the ticket office of the train station at Siorac-en-Perigors and you cannot say where the substitute bus stops?  And you can't sell tickets either? Why do they make you sit here then? Oh, we make sure that the train passes through this village safely. If you want, I can call the station people at the next village. Please do. No answer. We drive on.

But, there is pleasure in tracking this phantom train/bus down. We’re seeing villages that would otherwise not draw us. They are without a “reputation.” We detour, for instance, over hills, fields and forests...

DSC07883 the more northern town of La Bugue. It’s market day there Tuesdays and though the town itself is rather severe at first glance (or, is it that gray skies bring out the Noir (black) in Perigord Noir?), strategically planted flowers and, of course, the market add warmth and color.



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At the market, I get a bit caught up in the frenzy of selling and buying. But, with Ed's gentle coaching (Let's not purchase that... you don't need a table cloth with roosters... it doesn't matter that it's cheap...) I emerge lightly enough: we buy two peaches and a pillow cover. That’s all. Well no, not completely – also a box of Bergerac rosé. Boxes do not splinter into glass particles when packed. Surely there’ll be room for a five liter box somewhere.

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We follow now the more northerly Vezere River as it flows into the Dordogne – right here, in the tiny village of Limeuil.


It’s a beautiful sight – two mighty rivers joining as one.

Then, back along the Dordogne, we stop at Le Buisson-de-Cadouin – the larger town with the more “ept” station people who tells us exactly where to find the bus stop in Siorac come Friday and sell us the tickets needed for it.

There isn’t much to Buisson, except that it offers good connections to places in the Dordogne Valley and wise women at the station office who tell us about them. We stop for lunch here anyway. Ed tells me – I like this place. It’s sort of down and out, probably wondering why all the tourist traffic went elsewhere.

We find an interesting more contemporary café-bar and Ed orders the formule lunch – three courses for 11.50 Euros. (A lovely salad with tomatoes and mozzarella, a duck confit, and chocolate cake.) That’s a lot of food, so I opt instead for the wonderful salad Perigord: with duck foie gras and duck gizzards and the Perigord nuts, along with lettuce and tomatoes and a sprinkling of the precious corn kernels. And I steal bites of Ed's cake.



The gray skies are only suggestive of rain. We stroll back to the car, admiring along the way old houses and weather vanes. Ed swears he can make one for the farmhouse back home. Fantastic: here, Ed, this is how it should look:


Wise people would go for a long walk now, but we are not wise. We return to the room with the little balcony. I read, Ed sleeps.

And then it is dinner! More snails, more duck, this time with potatoes and cepe mushrooms -- mmm...


... more ice cream, with chantilly cream – I am remembering the words of the wiser than us woman in the village next to Souillac who tells me to watch my foods here, in the Perigord. I will. Tomorrow, as we paddle down. They say it may rain in the morning. Isn’t it good that somehow we always manage to get a late start on things.