Friday, May 7:  Medieval Sarlat

Today I woke up slowly and crawled out of bed to do some typing, while my dad took a shower. Soon I was finished, and everybody was ready to go down to breakfast. I put on my shoes, and walked down. Breakfast was away from the main lobby, to the right, and it looked like a little cafe’. It had lots of windows, and a big buffet. I walked over and started to grab some food. There was a kiwi, applesauce, chocolate cereal, hot cocoa, and orange juice. I sat down and mixed my cocoa, and then ate everything. I couldn’t eat the kiwi though, because I accidentally grabbed one that already went bad. My brother went to the bathroom, and when he came back he had two mints in his hand, because after you are done you take one. He gave one to me, so I thanked him and went upstairs. I typed for a long time, and at that time everybody was starting to get hungry, so we went out, in search of lunch. Robert and Dad knew about a pizza place that looked good, so we headed there. We walked around the back of the hotel, and on until we reached a square. It was a small enclosed garden, with places all around it. We went into the pizzeria, called the Pinnochio. I walked inside and sat down, and looked at the menu. This place had a downstairs and an upstairs, wasn’t very fancy, and was also a mini-bar. I ended up ordering the Menu Enfant, which gave you a ham pizza, a drink, and a desert. First came the pizza and drink, an orange juice. The pizza was very delicious, especially because of the ham, and they gave you a lot of juice. I ate it all, and then ordered my ice cream, and I got lemon. It came, and was very tart and sweet at the same time, and came with a little biscuit. Our menu gave us a little “surprise” when the menu came, which turned out to be taffy. We thanked our waiter and went back outside and home.

We were going to drive to our first stop today, so I grabbed my pack, and we all got in the car, that was still parked on the sidewalk. This was a relatively short drive, and we were going to see some cave paintings first. It was off and on pure sun and pouring rain, so we packed our umbrellas and sunglasses at the same time! My dad parked in a little lot near the gift shop and entrance, so we piled out and walked inside. We looked around at the gift shop a bit, but then checked our reservations and walked up the trail. It was sunny now, and there was a nice view, so it was a fun little walk, until one of my feet got caught under the railing over a small drop-off. I picked myself up, then walked on to the entrance. It was sealed off, so we waited for our tour guide to come. We were under a big rock, and my parents said it reminded them of Wave Rock, which we saw in Australia. I vaguely remember it, because I was 5. Soon a very French looking lady came in and opened the door for us, and let us in. We knew that she was going to speak only French, but it was the only way to see the paintings. We walked through a dimly lit and narrow cave until she stopped us. She said not to touch any of the walls, and then turned on the light. There was a big painting of some bison, and looked just like the ones in the postcards, and were amazing! She pulled out a flash light and flickered it on and off, like a candle, how the cavemen would see it, and she said it looked like it was supposed to be an illusion, like it was moving, and it was. She led us through some more paintings of horses, bison, and reindeer, but my favorite one was a very clear one of bison, with only black around the edges. Since she was speaking in French, one of the people in the tour knew French and English, so she translated a lot to the people who didn’t know French, like us. Then some people asked her a question, which made the tour guide mad, so she said, “I am the tour guide, and you should ask ME the questions” in perfect English, and very snobbily. Then we reached the end of the cave, so everybody turned around and walked back down the tunnel and out again, to find it was raining. Hard.

Mom and I remembered our umbrellas, but Dad and Robert forgot, so they raced ahead and into the gift shop, while we just walked. When we reached the gift shop, my dad was looking at a poster. He liked it a lot, because it showed a graph of who ruled, where they ruled, and when they ruled, in different areas a long time ago. The biggest part was the Romans (DUH). What made it different was that it wasn’t like a timeline, but a graph, and was easy to read and understand. My dad bought it, and I got two postcards of my favorite painting, one to go to school, and one to home. After that, we all jumped in the car and drove on. Next we were going to La Roque Saint Christopher, ruins of a village that was built in the rock, and sounded interesting. When we reached our destination, we all got out and looked around. We were near a little brook, and the entrance was nearby. We walked in and bought some tickets, then left and went up the trail. There were about 24 stations, or homes. We walked along, looking at them all, and they were all different. Some were butchers, some were kitchens, some were stables, etc.

After the first 6 or so stations, we came to the main stretch, where we could see everything before us, and a marvelous view from the cliff. We moved along, then stopped at a device that worked by putting a person inside a little running wheel, like a little hamster, which would power the winch that pulled up an object from the ground up to the cliff. When we hit the end of the line, we looked at a sign that showed a path of people on high places with horns, which would sound from one, the next would hear it and blow his, and the next would hear it and blow his, and so on and so forth. They did this with about 22 people, and it traveled 16 km (about 10 miles)! They did this when there were invaders. Then we walked back along the cliff and up a new part, even higher, with some places where the kitchen was, with neat sound effects. Then we went up higher, where Neanderthals lived, and there were wax cavemen fighting a bear, and it also had sound effects. That was the last one, so we took some stairs down and in the gift shop. I had fun looking at shiny rocks, so my mom offered to buy one for me, as an early birthday present, because tomorrow was my birthday! She probably would have bought it in secret, but she wanted me to pick it out. I got a flat one that was clear blue all through the center, and was very pretty through the light. I thanked her, and then we all piled in the car again. We were going to drive home, but Rick Steves said that there was a really nice cafe in a town we were passing through, so we stopped there. It was neat, with homemade ice cream, so Robert and I both got a scoop of white chocolate. We thanked the lady, and went through a door into the sitting area to eat them. I looked, and saw the longest cone in my life! It was very good though, like white chocolate always is.

Then we left and went in the car and went home. In our hotel room, I did some homework, until quickly everybody wanted to go and eat. We weren’t going to eat at the hotel again, so we went outside. My dad really wanted to get an omelette, so we followed him. After many tries, we actually found a good one. It was in a little street, and when we went inside, it was very homey, with a big picture on the wall of a pretty scene. We sat down, and ordered. I got the Menu Enfant, which had a mini-pizza as a starter, a main course with fries (I chose a ham and cheese sandwich), and glace. First came the mini-pizza, which was cute and delicious. Then came the best part, the main course. It was like a fancy hot pocket, with really good cheese inside, with ham. They gave you a lot of fries, but I managed to eat all of it. Then came the desert, and I chose to get lemon, which was very very tart! After everyone finished, we left and went home to go to bed. Tomorrow’s my birthday!