5: The Perils of Wine

We were up and at ‘em fairly early but our exit from town was delayed by a visit to the weekly farmers’ market. A gourmet picnic was in order and this was the perfect place to select ingredients. Soon our bike panniers were full: a half bottle of Bergerac red wine, olives “provencale”, melon (not ripe enough as we later discovered), cheese, salami with nuts, super-sweet tomatoes and mini-yellow pepper, and a “Baguette Ancienne” from the boulangerie.

By the time we got out of town it was nearly 10am and it was already about 80 degrees. The first 2.5 km were up, up, up, which was made even less fun due to the fact that the only available route was on the heavily-traveled tourist route. And it didn’t get any flatter as the day went on. We stopped quite a bit, whether it was just a chance for me to catch my breath on a hill or as we got to the museum at La Roque St. Christophe, where the line was terribly long and we sat a half an hour discussing what to do…

At 12:30 we reached St. Léon sur Vézère. We checked out the Romanesque church and then decided to make our picnic. And indeed it was the perfect picnic spot. Right on the river, watching the canoeists go by and the town boys daring each other to dive in from the 3 meter high rocks across from us.

We had an extremely leisurely picnic followed by a postprandial nap (drinking wine in the middle of a hot day is dangerous) and a refreshing wade in the river. After our nap we desperately needed coffee and then headed out in the direction of Montignac, our day’s destination. About 5 minutes up the road came the first incline and from behind Werner could already see that I was feeling overwhelmed by the thought of riding a further 15 hilly kilometers and then of course later 35 km back to Les Eyzies.

A strategic discussion ensued and we decided that Montignac would be there another year or so and that we would rather have a pleasant evening than arrive late and exhausted back at the hotel. We turned around and had a fairly pleasant ride back – lots of stops on the hills, but I didn’t once have to push.

There’s hardly anything better for hot and tired biker bodies than a swim. On arrival back at the hotel we changed as quickly as possible and beat a quick path to Werner’s swimming hole.

Oh my goodness, it was beautiful… we spent a couple of hours relaxing and washing away the heat of the day, standing in the knee-deep water and basking in the early-evening sunlight. We decided we weren’t quite relaxed enough so we made our way back to the hotel, changed into street clothes and sat in the garden next to the mill stream, drinking wine, reading and watching the duck family at play.

By 9pm it was seriously time for dinner. Laziness won over adventurousness and we chose to return to our pizza joint from our first evening because it was the closest restaurant to the hotel. I was in a meat mood, so I chose the Entrecote with Pommes Sarladaises. The Entrecote was flavorful although fairly gristly but the accompaniment was the star of the evening. Yum-o-la, sliced potatoes loaded with garlic and cooked in goose fat. Not necessarily something I’ll make at home, but very tasty!

As if I hadn’t already had enough, we decided to share a banana split for dessert. And you wonder why I don’t lose weight on these bike trips…

Day 5

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