14 Sept 2011
|There are little caves all over this valley|
The trip back downstream is pleasant enough and going down in a lock is a lot easier, less turbulent. We had help from Dutch people for the first one. The second one wasn't so great because Luke decided to do it himself. That was fine except that a boat drove up to the bottom while he was still doing it and waited. Then a bloke walked up the track to the lock, stood near Luke, lit a cigarette... and watched. Didn't lift a finger to help. Even though he was right there and it would have sped up the process and helped him out. Nope. Just going to watch. Bloody rude bastard.
|The mooring at Bouzies. There were no boozies to be had.|
Having rung the Pech Merle cave and found that we didn't have to book, we set off on our bikes along the 5km road to Cabrerets, past swooping high limestone cliffs riddled with little caves. We did a bit of exploring and then kept going, following the lovely little side river. I could have sworn the road was all downhill to the village. Once there Luke had a quick coffee which turned him into Superman for five minutes. Then we set off again.
|Rock shelters on the road to Pech Merle, just out of Cabrerets|
Then it was 3km of hill, straight up. Hard going. Luke was pushing it due to his illness. I did a lot of standing on pedals but still ended up pushing my bike. When we finally got there we were very sweaty and tired but rather exhilerated.
The cave tourist complex was fairly deserted though people had begun to arrive for the post-lunch sessions. We went in with the 2pm tour, the first for the afternoon. Unfortunately it had the full complement of 25 people (perhaps more) and the tour guide only spoke in French so I don't think we had the best experience; it certainly can't compare with our amazing Font De Gaume experience of 2008.
|The famous Pech Merle horses. This painting is thought to be 25,000 years old.|
It was still wonderful to see and I'm glad we did it.
The cave was only 12 degrees and after being hot and sweaty at the start we emerged very chilled, I couldn't wait to stand in the sun. I thawed out as we rode down the hill... I should have been hurtling but I found I didn't trust the brakes on my crappy old hire bike... the back one didn't do much and seemed ready to fail. Then the ride back was easy... I swore it must have been downhill all the way.
|Bouzies bridge with the "English castle" built into the rock behind it|
|Sunrise in Saint Gery at the mooring spot|