The hotel in Montignac is interesting - it seems there is just one man running the whole show, he booked us in, he sorted out breakfast for everyone, he always seems to be around, hidden, but popping up almost telepathically whenever he is needed. Kind of a Ninja Hotelier.
Today and tomorrow will be easier. Tomorrow certainly - we've built a rest day into the schedule - we'll get all our washing done and have a lovely day taking it easy. Today is a short ride to Sarlat but first we have decided to stay in Montignac for a couple of hours and visit the Lascaux Cave Paintings. We thought we'd buy some water first, but it's Saturday, everything is closed.
The cave was discovered in 1940 and contains Paleolithic paintings estimated to be 17,300 years old. The cave was put on show in 1948 but the damage caused by carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors led to it being closed in 1963. A replica cave was built in 1983 and now there is a totally new Lascaux IV International Visitor Centre - on the outskirts of Montignac and offering a totally new visitor experience. I'd visited Lascaux II a few years ago - so I knew this would be worthwhile - and worked hard to convince Gaz who was a bit reluctant at first.
We finally got on our bikes at the crack of noon. The first mile or two from Montignac was okay - but then we started an excruciating long climb that went on and on. Cars were hooting - either in sympathy or admiration - as they passed. We were riding up Duck Hill - why Duck Hill? - because it was Canard.
When we approached Sarlat there was a welcome downhill stretch for a mile or so and then we were on flat roads into the town. It was market day, the streets were overflowing with traders and tourists. We couldn't cycle through so we dismounted and pushed our bikes along the medieval streets.
We finally made it through the throngs to our hotel, situated half a mile outside the old town. Our room was good and after stowing our bikes in the underground garage we enjoyed a quick beer.
More about Sarlat in the next post!