Archive For The “Blog” Category
Another drive along the Tarn River gorges today until we diverged to the Jonte River gorges before heading up Mont Aigoual which has views as far as the Mediterranean and in the other direction the Mid-Pyrenees.
Consequently, nearly all of today’s images were landscapes, although if you look carefully there are villages in three of them. I should admit that it is hard to take a landscape photo in France without a village appearing somewhere.
After leaving the Massif Central we drove some 60 kms along the Tarn River which took most of the afternoon. It seems that most of he French population have chosen this area for the summer school holidays for which I can agree as since the sun was out today the river looked a fabulous place to swim, canoe and play.
The drive along the river was interesting to say the least as we passed through some twenty tunnels of varying widths(none of which could accept two cars at the same time) on roads where at one stage we clipped wing mirrors with a car going the opposite direction. I think the photos will give you some idea.
Castlebouc is a village with castle ruins above.
Big day today. Mostly our stomachs. Belinda thought she had died and gone to heaven when we came across a fromagier that had 5 blue cheeses, all different and all verrry good. So we bought a few and next stop was the boulangerie for some fresh bread to go with the cheese for lunch.
On our travels through the Route des Fromage we have seen some amazing scenery, driven down some hair raising roads and tasted(and pigged out on) some of the best cheeses on the planet. Unforunately tomorrow we must head south but on our way we will once more drive through the middle of the Massif Central on our way to the southwest of France.
The morning started out with promising weather. As soon as we got on the road it closed in big time. Mid summer in the Massif Central is not supposed to be 12 degrees in the middle of the day. We did managed to taste and buy a few seriously yummy cheeses including the Bleu d’Auvergne which is one of the fromages this area is renowned for at prices that are about the same as supermarket block cheese at home.
Because of the weather and cheese tasting photography took a back seat today.
Today’s drive took us deep into the cheese region of Auvergne, France, passing through some more beautiful little villages. Our last stop before our Auberge(Inn) was a tiny village called Tournemire where we did the tour of Chateau d’Anjon which was built in the 15th century and remains in the hands of the same family today. This chateau is particularly stunning in that most of the original furnishings, paintings and tapestries are still on site and in good condition as are the frescoes in a couple of the important rooms. Unfortunately as with most of these places photography inside is not allowed.
The weather also was not kind today as we went through a number of thunderstorms which not only made driving a touch hazardous on these narrow mountain roads but made photography difficult as well but when the sun did come out the conditions were nearly perfect for a few good shots.
Today’s drive was oh so scenic with abundant Chateaus and most of the day was spent following several rivers which given more time hours could have been spent canoeing or trout fishing or just vegetating.
After a cloudy start to the day (see Facebook) our first stop was Rocamadour, another village built on the edge of a cliff and also on the St John’s walk trail.
Moving on through another handful of medieval villages we arrived at Conques. This village (reputed to be among the prettiest in France) lived up to its reputation. It was stunning and we spent hours climbing up and down the streets exploring this place and again the pictures barely do this village justice.
To finish the day we drove the final 5 kms to our digs for the night at another village on the banks of the Dourdou River.
After a foggy start to the day with a forecast of more thunderstorms we headed off to Beynac et Cazenac to have a look at a couple of Chateaus. Beynac Chateau was held by the French and just over the river (not much further than an arrows flight) were the English, camped out in Chateau de Castlenaud. These two chateaus date back to the 12th and 13th centuries to when the Dordogne River was the France/England border.
From there we wandered down the road to La Roque-Gageac, a small village jammed between a cliff and the bank of the Dordogne. The cliff behind the village has remains of buildings that where built into it back in Medieval times.
We also had a look at Le Pans de Travassac, a slate mine since the 17th century that has a unique landscape created by the mining method.
Rain and thunderstorms started today so we thought we were back at home briefly. Fortunately we drove a 100 kms or so to slightly finer weather and saw some beautiful old villages and one of the areas of France specializing in foi gras.
We also visited La Roc Saint Christophe which was a village(dating from to Neanderthal to Medieval times) carved out of a soft limestone cliff face initially by the action of the river and then further excavations by prehistoric man.
Had no internet yesterday so have to cram 2 days into 1.
After leaving Isla the other day we traveled through Bilbao for a lightning stop on our way to San Sebastian where we have had a restaurant booking for many months. The food along with the view over the town was spectacular.
And today we crossed the border into France for our foray along the cheese route over Southwest France. Our first stop was Agen which in a couple of days will host the Tour de France but we should be long gone before the Tour juggernaut rolls into town.
Another long drive today from central Spain to the north coast. The drive took us through the Parque Natural Las Ubinas y de Mesa and the change in scenery was dramatic. The landscape changed from dry rocky and harsh looking to lush green.
The north has mountains almost to the sea all the way along thus most of the population in this area is situated right on the coast in gorgeous towns and villages nestled in coves and river mouths and our destination tomorrow, San Sebastian, is considered the gourmet capital of Spain.