Monday, 28 September 2015

Monday 28th Sept: Heading south

We start the day with our final breakfast at the beautiful and scenic La Bastide de Sanilhac! The only others staying at the hotel are a Danish couple to whom we said ‘Bonsoir’ to last night. A final breakfast on the terrace and we try to memorise the view as much as possible…and take a few more photos as well just in case.

Then we are off. First stop today is the Chauvet Cave. This is a full replica of a cave with cave art that is 36,000 years old. They have learnt from the Lascaux caves that they cannot allow tourists in the real cave as it increases the humidity so much that it destroys the drawings. So this is an exact replica. It is really impressive, as is the whole tourist and educational centre that has been built around it. The drawings are impressive and they were drawing with perspective even 36,000 years ago. Not sure why they had to rediscover it in the Renaissance!

From the Cave our next stop was back at the gorge that we went to a few days ago. At the beginning of the gorge there is a spectacular natural rock arch, that we totally missed while I was trying to stay on the right side of the road and grind through the gears! And it really was worth going back to see it. Again it was another beautiful sunny day and about 23’C. It was tempting to have a swim but we did not really have time. My driving this time around was much better.

It was then time for lunch, which can be hard on a Monday as many places are closed. Anyway, at the nearby town we found a boulangerie open, so bought a chicken roll, tart and ├ęclair and we sat on the nearby steps of the town square to eat. A few minutes later the Danish couple from our hotel last night came by and also went to the same place to buy their lunch and on seeing us came over to eat and chat. They are from Copenhagen and are on a 2 week driving holiday. They assured us they knew ‘Our Mary’ (Princess Mary) well but I think they might have been pulling our leg!

Then it was off on the 1.5hr drive further south, to the final stop in the south, the Pont du Gard. This is a triple storey roman aqueduct built in 50AD and remains in almost perfect preservation. It is also a very impressive piece of engineering to take water across a decent size valley. I did see this on my first trip to Europe that was nearly 30 years ago. Needless to say the aqueduct itself has not changed, but the tourist infrastructure certainly has. I think we just pulled up on the rivers edge back in those days, no entry fees…it’s a little different now. 

We spent a good hour or so, and as it was nearly 6pm we were able to see the colour of the bridge change as the late afternoon sunlight changed.  Then it was time to head to the nearby village of Collias and to our little bed & breakfast. It is beautiful and it is a shame we are only staying one night here. Only shame is that there is nothing in the village open for dinner and we did not fancy driving 10kms to the nearest town in the dark. A night with out dinner will actually probably be good for our bellies!

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