Yesterday, Mr. Sunshine made it two days in a row — so in the morning, while my wife Jan was in Gourdon for her exercise class, I hopped on my bike and took advantage of the sunshine.
At the start, I had my doubts. Unlike the day before, Monday could best be described as “sunny, but with attitude.” On Sunday, the sky had been bright blue, and the clouds were not only fluffy but also few and far between. Yesterday, however, the sunlight was weak, filtered through some threatening low clouds. Still, I pressed on.
To begin my journey, I followed the same route that Jan and I had taken on Sunday morning — north from Daglan on the main road, through Saint-Cybranet, and onwards to Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. But instead of continuing on to Château des Milandes, I hung a right, crossed the Dordogne River, and took aim at La Roque-Gageac.
What I’ll share in this posting will be photos I took along the way, indicating how our incredibly rainy spring has raised the levels of streams and rivers (while, it must be said, lowering the happiness levels of GDA residents). This is how the mighty Dordogne looked as I started across:
As you can see, the sky was still fairly grey at mid-morning. In this next photo, you’ll see the full expanse of the river, and you may get a sense of how high the water is running:
But this next photo, looking at the far bank across from Castelnaud, shows how the river has risen right up into the trees that line it:
Once I crossed the river, I continued straight ahead, then made the sharp right turn onto the road that would lead me to La Roque-Gageac in another two and a half kilometres. There I “enjoyed” an espresso which was as bitter as it was thin. (This was at Auberge des Platanes, beautifully located at one end of the village, but not what you’d call a gastronomic haven. The title of one review on TripAdvisor, for example, was this: “Avoid like the plague!”)
On the way home, things started improving. First, I drank from my water bottle to eliminate the taste of the awful espresso. Then the weather kept improving, getting sunnier and warmer with each passing kilometre.
To get home from Castelnaud, I took the “back road” (nominally the bicycle path, although cars, trucks and tractors are often on it).
Just past Castelnaud is a large camp ground (Camping Maisonneuve), and then just a kilometre or so farther there is a lovely spot on the Céou River with a bit of a rapids. Jan and I had often stopped there over the years, and had to do a bit of scrambling on the rocks to get down to the water. However, some enterprising souls have improved the area, adding some large limestone blocks, so now the spot is a good place to picnic or just relax while watching the water rush by. Here’s one look at it:
And here’s a slightly closer look at the rapids:
By the time I reached Daglan again, it was getting quite warm, and my heavy-duty Dark Knight jacket was definitely too much.
So, would Monsieur Soleil go for a three-peat, and make today (Tuesday) as bright as Sunday and Monday? Well, at 7 a.m. this morning, it was pouring, and Jan had to drive to the Cénac market instead of taking her bike. On the plus side, at about 3:45 p.m. now, the sky is blue and the sun is out.
Equally good, I think I’ve finally solved the mystery of La Roque-Gageac and its major roadworks. (Although I do realize you probably don’t know there even was a mystery.) And I’ll share the revelation with you tomorrow, in my next posting.