6: The Road Less Traveled

We had trouble getting up and getting moving (it was vacation, after all) and we didn’t get on the road until 10:15. Due to the lack of real bike routes, the plethora of hills and the predicted hot temperature, we had decided on a short route that looked fairly flat on the map.

It wasn’t as flat as we had hoped, but since our destination was only 15km away, it didn’t seem too bad. As our day’s route we had chosen to ride along the Beune river valley, the Beune being the baby river that flowed through the mill at our hotel and into the Vézère.

Once again we were riding on normal roads the entire time, but fortunately this was definitely the road less traveled. At Tamniès, about 15km out of Les Éyzies, we reached our goal of a man-made lake where we could stick in our feet and cool down. (Why we didn’t have swimming togs along is a mystery to me!)

We opted out of visiting the surely charming nearby medieval village since it was located at the top of a very steep hill. Let me tell you, when it’s over 90 degrees, priorities change! Tourism and culture take second place to cool feet.

As it was mostly downhill, the ride back to town was considerably less strenuous and a lot faster than the way out. By 2pm we were back at the hotel and collapsed in a pool of sweat.

We had intended to rent a kayak in the afternoon but by the time we got cooled down and de-sweated it was already 3 and decided to just go swimming at our “private” swimming hole. That was the perfect decision – we spent over two relaxing hours cooling off in the water and soaking up the view. On our way “home” we stopped for a while to watch a boules tournament. It was great – you could tell that these guys played together every week.

Back at the hotel, we sat in the garden and read books, sipping Pernod and watching the baby ducks cavort in the mill stream.

At 9pm we made our way to the annual village festival. Turns out that we were too late for the grilled steaks, but we made do (and very well indeed!) with grilled merguez, pommes frites, salad (and don’t forget the bread!) and a plastic cup of red wine, all for 10€ a person. Desserts made by the village housewives were all 1€ each – we exercised self control and only had one apiece.

Paper plates and plastic cups in hand, we found a section of low wall where we could sit and observe the action on the dance floor (you just can’t top “Y M C A”). The crowning event of the evening was the 11:00 fireworks display for which we had the perfect observation spot.

Day 6

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