Saturday, September 20, 2014

Holiday - Domaine de Peyrecaty, Belves, France (Day 4)

It’s our last day here in this most beautiful part of France and whilst Steve and Helen are concentrating on getting ready for their new guests for the coming week, that leaves us to do some more exploring of the surrounding area.

We’re off to Villefranche-du-Perigord and then onto the Castle at Bonaguil. Even though we’ve visited this area many times before, these are two locations, we haven’t been to before.

Villefranche-du-Perigord

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The Throbbing Town Square (sans throb!)

We’re not sure quite what went wrong here - we had read about this throbbing market-square with its vibrant Saturday Market, but obviously the person responsible for ‘throbbing’ and ‘vibrancy’ must have been away on holiday! We arrived about 9.15 to find the place more-or-less deserted, with just three market stalls. However, we did the decent thing and had a look around, and bought a loaf of bread too. Then it was back in the car for our second destination - I hoped we hadn’t got this one wrong too!

In between all of this culture, we also managed to slip into a supermarket and stock up on all we needed to cook for Steve and Helen tonight. The shopping trip went OK, but the opportunity to top up with fuel at one of the never-seen-before-no-staff-filling-stations, almost beat us, but we persevered, and eventually worked-out the process! A scenario that wasn’t good for my tech-head image!

Chateau de Bonaguil
That’s more like it - exactly as described on the tin! A really old 12th century castle, that had been lovingly restored from ruin with some exceptionally interesting features, including a tunnel, and a couple of spiral staircases too! Brilliant!! The only slightly strange feature was the fact that we couldn’t work out its purpose! It’s not near a river, nor near anything strategic (as far as we could tell) - so just what was it there to defend?

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Lunch beckoned and so we stopped off at the restaurant at the foot of the hill leading to the Chateaux. When we arrived around 12.15, it was deserted, but on the stroke of 12.30, everyone seemed to arrive at once - we think it’s the national time for eating round these parts! - and within 10 minutes of so, the place was over half-full!

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Monsieur Le Fido’s Favourite Meal

For the size of the Restaurant, it had a very wide range of food on offer - Ann had the cheese salad, whilst I tucked into the pork mignons with chips. Before long, I realised I had an admirer - in the shape of the restaurant owner’s dog, who clearly also had his eye on the pork! In the spirit of EU harmony, we shared the meat, and a lifelong friendship was forged! When I say ‘lifelong’, I really mean about 10 minutes, after which someone on the next table ordered the pork too, and Monsieur Le Fido switched allegiances! Damn French!
Winking smile

After stuffing ourselves, we headed back to basecamp for the last time this holiday - and headed straight for the kitchen to begin preparation for the big farewell meal tonight. We do like our challenges! A kitchen that was hotter than Mr Hot from Hotsville; working with an Aga for the first time - and, trying not to disrupt their kitchen too much, as it was needed for the guests’ meals later on as well!

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The Aga Tamed! (Almost!!)

An hour later, with the Aga tamed (almost!), and mains and desserts just needing a final flourish, we got packed and put our feet up. It looks (and sounds) like there’s a storm coming, so our farewell meal may be inside. Actually, two hours later, the storm hit, with hailstones abut the size of a 1p piece - most unusual.

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Ice anyone?

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Let the Feast Begin...

It was a great meal - and we weren’t interrupted by the weather. We finally said our goodbyes just after 10.30, and then finished off the packing. An early start tomorrow means we’ll be leaving Steve and Helen’s around 8am and hoping to be home just after lunch, UK time.

It’s been a great break, and we’re already thinking we should return to this area again next year.

Bye-bye Domaine de Peyrecaty - see you again soon!