We finally hit some cooler weather in France. When we woke up in the morning, temperatures were in lower 60s and some rain showers. That did not stop us from getting out of the house and exploring beautiful Jardins de Marqueyssac. It is the most visited garden in the Perigord region, giving us spectacular panoramic views of Périgord & Dordogne valley. We walked around the gardens for few hours and enjoyed stunning views from above. Glad we got there in the morning because once we were leaving, the rain started to come down pretty hard. The afternoon brought naps for everyone (much needed) as the rain lasted into the evening.
It rained all through the night and again into the morning and temperatures didn’t make it above 60 today. Honestly, its the first time on this trip where we’ve had unpleasant weather (I think we’re 40+ days on the road). Pretty good track record if you ask me. We bundled the kids up in their rainproof coats, and decided to take a train ride through a nearby village called Domme. One of France's Most Beautiful Villages, perked high up on the cliff, it gives you another lookout point of the entire valley. When you set your foot on the grounds of Domme, it really feels as if you are taking a step back in medieval time. After the wet and very cold train ride, we walked through a weekly green market located in the heart of the village. Although the weather was terrible, the marker still drew a decent amount of people.
That evening, our hosts invited us over for dinner and drinks. They both speak perfect English as she is an English teacher and he is from Great Britain. They bought a fixer upper barn, renovated it and turned it into their beautiful home. They showed us the before/after pictures and we could not believe it - they completely took the roof apart (the owner did it himself), created a 2nd floor, installed genuine oak floors, created water and septic lines, electric, and everything else it takes to make a house. Pretty much created a gorgeous home out of a ruin. Maybe the best part was learning the owner isn’t even in construction, he just learned the trade on his own. Impressive! We were and still are very impressed by it. If you’ve ever watched an episode of House Hunters International and saw people buying a complete fixer upper in a country, that is exactly what this reminded us of.
Our hosts were extremely hospitable. First, we shared some appetizers and cocktails, then they prepared us a delicious dinner (chili con carne with rice) and then, the dessert was served - a strawberry tart, and finally, to finish that feast, we had a cheese platter with homemade bread & cognac. We learned about each other quite a lot, talked about cultural differences, travel, family, politics, life in general, and everything you can think of. Here we were, at their home, laughing and talking well past 11pm, and they had to work the next day. It was an unforgettable evening with people we just met 3 days ago, yet they made us feel like we were part of their community. There was never a moment of silence or awkwardness, just 4 adults having an amazing time together. Yes, France is beautiful and picturesque country, and traveling around it is simply spectacular. But what this trip is about, is the people who we meet along the way, who open their arms to us, and welcome us as if we were their family. That alone is simply priceless…
Our last day in Perigord brought more rain. We took our time today (everyone slept until almost 9) and did not rush. Both Rick and I got our workouts in, the kids took a nap and after a late lunch, we decided to visit a village called Belves. Another one of France’s most beautiful villages, this place is simply an enchantment for heritage enthusiasts. I have to admit that so far, this was my favorite French village. It is located on a top of a hill, and as you get closer to it, it is breathtaking. It seriously looks like an ancient french village seen in the movies. Everything is made of a light stone, each house has colorful shutters and amazing flowers - in other words, a true picturesque french village. We walked around the cobble stone streets and almost could smell in the air the history filling this unique and idyllic place. It is funny, because ever since we arrived in France and I see local people, I can’t help but wonder what they do for a living, what their days look like, what they eat, and are they tired of all of the tourists like myself, who keep staring at them as if they were a piece of art in the museum. The French are really amazing people.
So far, being in France and exploring this beautiful country has been a dream come true. This is our third location and yet again, truly unique and diverse from our previous places. Everyone we have met has been extremely nice and compassionate. Sometimes, I almost have to pinch myself that all of this is really happening. I am so thankful and grateful for this trip, even with all of the bang ups and hang ups that come along with it (kids had some moments this week). Not every day has been perfect and easy, but that’s not the point. What really matters is the fact that the four of us committed to this adventure and made it happen.