13th Sept 2011 - St Cere Lapopie
|Genil towpath up ahead|
Yesterday the older English blokes were poking apples off the tree with their poop stick. The lady said she'd make stewed apples and custard but Luke couldn't work out why they wouldn't just eat them fresh, he said they tasted fine. I meant for us to get more apples but I forgot.
I managed to make off with a few useful things from the suprette while Luke, who came along to help, waited outside looking sick. He bought an espresso from the bar tabac and I noticed a lady who may or may not have once been a man. Couldn't work it out, though I was only curious. We saw her several times later today, she is on a boat with her dumpy but cheerful female friend, older style barge boat from Babou marine.
We got on our way, tootling up an extensive area of lock-free Lot. Luke retired back to bed but I enjoyed the drive, admiring the swooping vertical limestone cliffs, jumping fish and general wilderness. Actually had to keep right today as another boat went past, felt like a real riverboat captain, yaaar.
|While waiting for the lock, Luke rode along the towpath|
|Luke driving the boat up to the lock. I'm supposed to be operating the gates, not taking photos|
I'd planned to stop at Bouzies and head to the Grotte Peche Merle today but Luke being sick changed that so we charged on ahead to St Cirq Lapopie, about 4 hours travelling by the time we got there. Alas, there was a final lock before the official mooring area which we did by ourselves, filmed by several tourists. I felt like asking them to help, it being such a charming experience and all. But I did my best to look competent and thankfully didn't crash the boat while driving it into the lock.
|St Cere Lapopie from the river|
It was another warm sunny day so after a short reconnaisance mission on the bikes we decided a swim in the river was the best option. Very pleasant, if a bit cold. Smells like the Namoi and the Mary but the river rocks under your feet are very slimy and very round. Lots of relaxed older people swimming quietly.
There was one older couple with an airbed, we almost felt obliged to wade out and tip the old lady off, like you do. Australian tradition, claim the airbed and stand on it in triumph. Or is that just us?
|Caravan park at St Cere Lapopie. Our dingy boat next to all the big ones.|
The boats offer a weird vibe of class warfare in a way. The Le Boat rentals are better looking, faster and more impressive and they all seem to be occupied by older groups of six or more people. It feels less egalitarian than motorhomes or camping, there's a few airs and graces going on. When Luke reversed our crappy old 2 person Petit Sirene into the mooring the French people next to us looked on with disdain. Admittedly, the disdain may have been caused by our out of control reversing where the front end bumped into their boat a little bit or the way we may have ground the propellor into the bank. But they didn't accept our laughing apology very graciously. Indeed, they just stared at us a lot.
In any case, we just carried on and smiled our way through.
|Halfway up to the village on our bikes|
|View from the ruined fort, snazzed up with colour selection in-camera|
|Luke is pointing exactly at the location of our boat.|
Most of it tasted fab but I must admit I felt the omelette didn't do the truffles justice. It just tasted like an omelette so that perhaps 10grams of truffles were wasted on me. I enjoyed the potatoes more.
|Truffle omelette. The biggest plate of food EVER|
Having ordered a 500ml pichet of Cahors wine, I was a little tipsy by the time we left the restaurant. We'd bought our bikes up the hill to make it easy to come down... and damn, it was good. Hurtling downhill constantly for about 3km, no cars on the road, lit only by the full moon. We had no lights, no helmets, no early warning systems. Just us, drunkenly screaming down the hill in the utter darkness. So. Much. Fun.
I was on such a high after that I was tempted to go skinny dipping in the river but chickened out. The only thing for it was to have a shower in the boat (water dumping unceremoniously out the side in the process) and go to bed.
Tomorrow we're heading back to Bouzies (snigger snigger) and we'll do an exploratory ride to the Cave Peche Merle inthe hope of getting into a tour group. If not, we'll reserve it for the next day. I've been told it isn't hilly to ride from Bouzies to Cabrarets so here's hoping.