Monday, 15 October 2007

Photos from Tourtoirac

Back online after a bit of a break. Since the last post we've been through Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, and back to Amsterdam (briefly). Right now I'm sitting in Kuala Lumpur airport waiting for the final leg of the flight home to Melbourne.

Lots of updates to make, but I figured I'd start where I left off.

Not a lot happened during the rest of the stay in Tourtoirac. Activities mainly consisted of visiting other small towns, markets and Cathedrals, and playing cards by the pool.

The chateau in Hautefort was a definite highlight (see previous post) as was the medical museum in Hautefort. The medical museum presented a decidedly creepy history of European medicine over the last 400 years or so, in a building that had variously been used as a hospice for plague patients, and orphanage and a nunnery.

We also visited the caves of Lascaux, which feature an astonishing array of (approximately) 17,000-year old Cro-Magnon cave paintings. They were accidentally discovered in 1940 when a dog being walked through the forest fell into the caves through a hole in the ground. The caves were opened as a tourist attraction a few years later, but closed in the 1960s as exposure to humans has led to a fungus or some such growing on the paintings and destroying them.

Not being keen to let all those tourist dollars disappear, the operators have meticulously recreated the caves and the paintings (known as Lascaux II) and run guided tours through them. It's sterling work, and if they didn't tell you they were recreations you wouldn't necessarily pick it.

On the Friday we went canoeing down the river Auvezere, which runs through Tourtoirac. The water was low, in fact never more than about a metre deep, so the life jackets we were wearing seemed a little superfluous. A couple of times we actually had to get out and drag the canoes around as we were getting caught on rocks.

Our final night, Saturday, was celebrated with our lovely host Jo, her husband John, and a gaggle of ex-pat Australians, some of whom had settled locally and some that were just passing through. Great night, and a fitting end to a lovely stay.

Here's some photos from Tourtoirac and surrounds.

Lunch at the Medieval Cafe in Hautefort. From left: Russell, the top of Sarah's head, Jill, me, the back of Greg's head, and Shannon.

The beautifully named Bastard's Walk in Hautefort. Named after the Baron and Baroness de Bastard who lived there. I'm not making this up.

The eponymous chateau at Hautefort, location of the film Ever After. (Note: that's Sarah, not Drew Barrymore)

Gardens at Hautefort chateau. This is actually a contraband shot, as cameras were verboten. I'm going to hell.

Monastery at Brantome, location of unseemly activities by the monks.

Bridges in Brantome. (Note the smoke on the water behind the bridge. Bauw bauw bauw . . . bauw-bauw bauw-bauw . . . etc)

Cathedral at Brantome.

Thousand-year-old cathedral in the village of St. Jean de Cole.


Gayle said...

Hey Matt!
Your trip looks awesome... nothing like seeing someone else's travel photos to get those travelbug juices flowing! Chateau Hautefort looks beautiful - I'd never heard of it before. How was Copenhagen? We are considering doing a quick trip over to Amsterdam... was it worth it? Did you enjoy it?

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt may I have your permission to use your photos of the Dordogne for my website Really great photo of Hautefort!!!