|On the Voie Verte|
|The bar at Chalus|
|Plaque commemorating the visit of Lawrence|
We carry on along a smooth, busy road towards Thiviers, passing through another small village where we spy a cafe/restaurant - we stop hoping for something to eat - no luck, lunch has finished. Instead we sit outside with a couple of beers. I walk back to a small Boulangerie/Patisserie I'd spotted in a row of shops a few hundred metres away. It looks closed but it isn't - I wander in and madam drifts through a floral curtain dividing the shop area presumably from her living space. I order a couple of small delicious quiches, and some other bits and pieces - a simple point of the finger and "deux, s'il vous plait" suffices. I wait an age while madam wraps them as if they are presents for an aged aunt, but they're tasty treats and we sit in the sun greedily munching and sipping cool beer.
|On the Lionheart trail|
At Thiviers we receive a good welcome - Adrian and Sharon, bought the hotel a couple of years ago and moved here from Norwich. We get a complementary upgrade, our twin room now has two double beds! Unfortunately the hotel restaurant is closed on a Thursday - and the other restaurant in town is closed too - the owners there have gone on holiday. There's a kebab shop or a small pizza parlour Adrian tells us - but nothing opens until 7.00pm.
|The Bar des Amis|
After a couple of drinks we're back at the pizza place - it's essentially a small takeaway - although there is just space for two small bistro style tables next to the counter. One of those is taken by a young man eating pizza - turns out he's the chef from the hotel we're staying at - he eats here on his night off. We take the other table. The owner asks if we'd like a drink while we wait for our order. We ask what's available - "Everything" he says. We decide we'll try a bottle of local Perigord wine - it's very good. We get chatting to the pizza man - he speaks good English. He was a Michelin starred chef but gave it all up to open this pizza shop - work/life balance and all that. He also does B&B and rents out a gite for holidaymakers. The thing with pizza is that it is essentially a simple, peasant food. It is bread with a smear of tomato sauce and some flavourings plucked from the surrounding land. If it is made, with care and understanding and the toppings are simple and fresh and the oven is blast-furnace hot and the base is rolled to paper thinness - pizza can be the best, most satisying meal in the world. And so it was in Thiviers tonight.
|In the pizza shop|
|Our friend from The Resistance|
It was getting late and we were finding it difficult to speak. We staggered out into the night with promises of gifts being sent to the pizzaman and with the Resistance man still hanging around my neck whistling something or other. We couldn't manage to eat the pizza he bought us but we took it with us so not to offend him. I gave it away to someone just around the corner.
Tonight was another one of those unplanned, unforeseeable events that will remain one of the highlights of the entire trip. Vive La France.
|Foie Gras country|