Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rivers ... and Cahors

The theme seems to have been rivers lately. Lourdes was encircled by the River Gave. Bergerac had the Dordogne, and now I am in Cahors with the River Lot. (And the journey from Bordeaux to Montauban today passed alongside the Garronne... sorry spelling not right but no map with me.)
I love Cahors absolutely. Sarlat was your very beautiful tourist medieval town, but it was almost too pristine for me. Cahors is more surprising and it is set more in the wilds. The river encircles the town and the Pont Valentré is really stunning. It is pedestrianised and cobbled and you can quite imagine horses and carts going over it. There is a huge cliff up behind the town.
There are lots of "real" walkers here who carry tents and bedrolls. I was a little embarrassed when the lovely young woman in the hostel included me in that class as I was carrying a big backpack: I am very strategic and carry mine as little as possible. Cheap hotels over the road from the railway station are my ideal.
Spending the weekend in Cahors. Will walk the town more properly in the morning with a walking map. Then will take the SNCF bus to another picturesque village for the afternoon. Sunday I hope to do the tourist bit and take a boat trip on the river under the bridge and through a proper lock. (Saw the boat go through the lock this afternoon while I was on the bridge.) Meanwhile all these "real" walkers are out on the proper walking trails, but I don't want to do them on my own. Monday I am heading up to Orleans to begin looking for a bike: the nights may still be cool but summer is coming.
I was lucky to get into this hostel. It has lots of reservations from proper walkers. And it is in a historic old convent which has some real character. So reserve if you are coming here!

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