Monday, October 12, 2009

France on $70 a Day – Last Day in the Dordogne

This was written in the Dordogne, but, because Internet cafes were difficult to find, it was posted from California.

We'd been blessed with good weather on this trip—jacket weather in the cool mornings and evenings, and T-shirt weather in the hot afternoons—and our last day in the Dordogne was no exception. The day dawned bright and clear, but there was no time to linger on the terrace enjoying the sunshine as there were several items on our to-do list. We hurried into Sarlat.

After a twenty-minute walk, we found the Internet cafe where David wanted to double-check our driving directions (printed before we left home) to Libourne. We wanted to make sure we'd get to the EuropCar rental office on time tomorrow to return the Peugeot and it would help if, for once, we didn't get lost. It was closed. Next we stopped at the little complex where the gas station and Carrefour grocery store were located. Both were closed.

Then we remembered. It was Sunday and most of the people in France were enjoying spending time with their families. Since we didn't have much choice, we decided to do the same. We'd relax and enjoy our last day in this beautiful valley.

We drove into Les Eyzies and had lunch on the terrace of a restaurant we'd admired every time we'd visited the town. Then we headed home where we said goodbye to Donkey. We're probably the only tourists in France who had a donkey as a borrowed pet, but he came every time we called (the chunks of bread we fed him probably had something to do with his promptness), and we'd grown quite fond of him.

As we sat on the terrace eating some of the cheese we'd collected the past week (With hundreds to choose from, this country is a cheese-lovers paradise.), we tried to decide whether we were obligated to clean the gite. Stephanie, at the tourist office, had said we were not, but some of the gite information said renters did need to do this. We'd never seen Jean-Francois, the caretaker, again and certainly didn't want to bother him on a Sunday, so we decided to do a little cleaning in hopes that would suffice.

David swept while I cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. We packed our belongings, said goodbye yet again to the geese and Donkey, and relocated the lizard, that regularly climbed into the bedroom through the open window, to the outdoors one last time. Our minimal chores were finished.

After a candle-lit dinner, we watched the stars one last time and concluded that maybe the French were on to something. This relaxing day, when we enjoyed the time with each other instead of Getting Things Done was one of the best we'd had during our entire trip. Yes, the French definitely had the right idea about Sundays.

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