Friday, October 06, 2006

Wednesday, 4th October – London – Sarlat


Early start today – we caught the tube to Waterloo Station to catch a train to Southampton to catch a plane to Bergerac to drive to Sarlat. Left the flat at 7:45 and arrived in Sarlat at 4pm. Actually it all went very smoothly until we arrived in Bergerac. I think it might be quite a small airport – we arrived 15 minutes early, having caught a good tail wind, but had to wait to get off the plane until the only set of stairs was no longer being used by the previous flight. Even the pilot seemed somewhat surprised. The “terminal” was a shed (literally), and the rental car outlets were in demountables out the back. Still – no crowds, the luggage was waiting for us, and ‘passport control’ was a woman standing at the door with a rubber stamp. We picked up our car (another Megane – very nice) and headed for Sarlat. Unfortunately because Shelley’s driver's licence was in her stolen wallet Keith has to do all the driving, on the wrong side of the road of course, so it was a steep learning curve for both of us!

Sarlat is an absolutely delightful little town. It has a mediaeval centre which is a tangle of cobblestone alleyways and ancient buildings, hidden squares, gothic doorways and enticing cafes. We spent a happy couple of hours exploring the town. There are very few tourists here, and we have enjoyed the serenity after London.

We treated ourselves to a very delicious dinner – Perigord (this region) is the gourmet capital of France, the home of fois gras and truffles, so eating well is one of the reasons people visit. The restaurants offer set price menus, with multiple courses – we ate duck breast with truffle sauce, pommes de terre sarladaises (potatoes cooked in duck fat (!!)) omelette with cepes (a local mushroom), pate de fois gras, salad with noix (walnuts) and cabécou (a pungent, nutty flavoured goat’s cheese) – and even escargot!! Not to mention a glass of Monbazillac, a sweet desert wine they serve with the pate, and some local Bergerac Rose. What is French for cholesterol? (In our defence, the potatoes came with the main course, and we only found out what was in them after we ate them)