Friday, September 9, 2011

Cahors 9th Sept 2011 - Hot!

Drinks by the Pont Valentre bridge
It seems there is such a thing as a french onion soup hangover and it doesn't smell very good. At 3am I was fanning the open window frame back and forth, sleepily muttering about suffocation.

This morning we packed and left the Abbey, having managed to remove all the extra charges the hotel had helpfully added to the bill. We decided that E14 each for breakfast was too much which resulted in us driving a very long way without coffee.

Finally we pulled in to a small town patisserie and availed ourselves of caffiene and eclairs, the breakfast/brunch of champions. Cheap too. I'm really starting to enjoy our mangled french interactions in bakeries, everyone is always so cheerful and I'm getting a bit better with the language.

Today's drive to Cahors took longer than we expected. When you're not on a toll road you average about 70kph due to small towns and roundabouts so the first leg of our journey took about 3 hours. Motorway was a relief until it came time to take our exit. All going well until Monsieur GPS told us we should take slip road D22. The signs didn't say Cahors... but we decided to trust him.

Yeah, thanks Monsieur GPS.

Instantly we were on a single lane road spiralling ever downwards preciptiously into a steep valley, edging past cars coming the other way. The two vehicles in front of us must have had the same Garmin GPS as they looked just as lost and confused as us. Thankfully the ridiculous sidetrack didn't last too long and we made it into the city alive and only a little late. It's not the first time the GPS has done this to us but this one was a real doozy with no chance of escape. There wasn't even a chance to turn around. The bloke in front of us actually just stopped dead in the middle of the road, turned on his hazard lights and tried to think about where he was for a few minutes. In the end he let us past and did a three point turn.

Collapsed on the hotel bed. This happened in pretty much every hotel room when we walked in.
Cahors is a lovely place, not very busy. Hotel de France could easily be called Hotel de 70s thanks to its classy disco decor and slightly musty vibe. The bed has an AM radio built into the headboard and the bathroom has a blue bidet - our first. Alas, it doesn't have a fountain of water that shoots up, only a couple of taps, making it a sort of rectangular bum-bath without a comfy seat. I'm not willing to try it as it seems an awful lot of effort to go to, in spite of the French Onion Soup Aftermath.

Our first bidet. We didn't use it.

The built-in 70s AM radio, in the bedhead.
Luke was knackered after the drive so I went exploring, in the 32 degree heat, wandering over the Pont Velentre bridge and carefully watching a couple take their boat through the lock below. After I told Luke about it he decided he wanted to make it work by himself so off we went again, wading through the unusually warm and soupy conditions. He got the whole thing to empty successfully, all watched by tourists on the bridge above.

Luke playing with the lock

I retired to the nearby shady cafe to drink rose and admire the reflections of the bridge on the water. I also watched two beautiful kingfishers hunting from a dead tree lodged on the impressive diagonal weir under the bridge. I hope I see more of them on the boat.

We had Vietnamese for dinner, the only diners in the large "La Indochine" restaurant, and it was very tasty. After that we wandered into the old town, wondering where all the Friday night crowds were. I'm still not sure. There were a lot of diners in places but it was far more pleasant and civilised than the horror of Tours last Friday night. I think I like this place.

Tomorrow we'll go to the market and go grocery shopping in preparation for our week on the boat.

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