Sunday, August 26, 2012

MLG Travel Update: Day 102

Monbazillac Vineyard, Dordogne, Aquitaine 
(click image to enlarge)
Photos/Text © 2012 Sean M. Madden. All Rights Reserved.

DAY 102 (Sat 25 Aug '12): Yesterday afternoon, upon confirming that our elusive Amazon package had yet to arrive, we decided to move on regardless.

So after Julien (our CouchSurfing host for Wednesday and Thursday nights) kindly made us a scrumptious pasta dish for lunch, we packed up the few things we'd taken in from the car — essentially our overnight bags, laptops, etc. — and drove back to Vichy.

But this time, with the exception of a five-minute stop at a boulangerie there to pick up a baguette for the drive as well as a gorgeous piece of flan to share as a pre-drive snack, we drove all afternoon and evening to reach Deems's place in the Dordogne, within the Aquitaine region of southwestern France.

Traveling on a shoestring, we chose to forgo the péage (toll) roads. This entails winding up and down mountain roads, and lots of slowing down and speeding up as you enter towns, villages or any of the innumerable roundabouts along the way, and then return to highway speeds in the stretches in between.

But it also means you get to experience much more of the French countryside. And you can stop on a whim, as we did in Terrasson, pictured below.

Despite running later than we had hoped, we couldn't help but to stop for twenty minutes or so to quickly walk over the bridge and along the bank on the other side to take some pictures — particularly as the sun was making one final appearance from behind the clouds before setting, casting a golden-hour glow on the buildings of the old town.

Terrasson reflected in the Vézère River

We left Julien's house at 2.30 pm, arrived in Monbazillac at 10.30, and were greeted by our new host Deems (who invited us to stay with her seconds after I had posted an online ad here earlier this week) and Rosie, one of two of her Jack Russell terriers. Deems then treated us to a late dinner of gazpacho soup served with tortilla chips and a bottle of white wine from Monbazillac.

Her five years as a bed and breakfast host showed through in the continental breakfast she laid out for us this morning. This included, amongst other things, just-warmed croissants and pain au chocolat as well as a piping hot pot of tea. And we have an electric tea maker machine on the bedside table, along with everything we need to make cups of tea or coffee whenever we like.

After breakfast and showers, Mufidah and I took Rosie for a walk through the village to the Château de Monbazillac, and then through the vineyard pictured atop this post. Deems told us later that this was Rosie's first walk there, which I had wondered about as Rosie led the way, nose to the ground.

In the afternoon, we walked to the village piste, just up the road, and played a game of boules or, more specifically, pétanque, and then enjoyed a beer (Sean), a panaché (Mufidah), and a bottle of Coca Cola (Deems) at a nearby restaurant/bar, sitting at an outdoor table overlooking the vineyards which slope down towards Bergerac and the Dordogne River which runs through the town.

Tomorrow morning, the three of us are heading to the market in Issigeac, a neighboring village. And we're looking forward to having dinner at the weekly Sunday night market (July through August) back home in Monbazillac. In between there'll likely be walks, writing and perhaps a read in the sun.

We're not sure how long we'll be staying here before heading off to Burgos, Spain.

We've written to both Amazon and the third-party company from whom we purchased my replacement laptop charger/adapter, to see what they have to say about our ever-elusive package, and we'll take it from there. This charger/adapter issue — stemming from my somehow managing to lose the original HP one just before leaving England, and then having the supposedly genuine HP replacement charger we bought in Brighton go haywire shortly thereafter — has had an incommunicable impact on our travels thus far, and continues to ripple through our day-to-day decisions two-and-half months later.

In the meantime, we're both available for work should you like to book a one-to-one Mac tuition session (via Skype) with Mufidah or a one-to-one session with me. Also, my recent special offer to read, edit and critique your writing still stands.

Alternatively, if you'd like to support our travels by making a donation via PayPal, you may quickly and securely do so by clicking here.

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