Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lascaux and Rocamadour

Yesterday we left Montauban for another day trip, driving under cloudy skies up into the wild mountains of the Dordogne region. The dramatic clouds turned to blue skies as we crossed both the Tarn and Dordogne rivers. The gentle farmlands of the lower hills, with their greenery, poplar and plane trees, red-tiled farmhouses, and population of sheep and cattle disappeared as Jim manouevered the Pugeot into mountainous regions largely devoid of any human presence.

After two hours of driving we reached the town of Montignan where we bought our tickets to see the prehistoric paintings re-created in the famed Lascaux II cave. We had to sign up for a French tour, because otherwise we would have had to wait for an English language one two hours later. Better if they used head-phones, since my French is not that fluent! Nevertheless, the eerie mystery of the Prehistoric cave paintings provoked us into pondering the lives and beliefs of those who dwelled in the region 35,000 years ago. After the guided tour we drove back to the major highway to reach our second destination.

The town of Rocamadour, a former pilgrimage spot on the road to Santiago de Campostella, is perched on a huge cliff. In the Middle Ages the rocks were hewn into seven chapels, one of which contained the 'miraculous' image of the Vierge Noire, or black virgin, who still sits perched above the altar in her chapel. Visitors take two elevators, and the second one is on an incline which travels to the cliff top where the lord's castle is located, a building now housing the chaplains. But one may walk on the walls and take photos of the incredible views from Rocamadour.

We returned to Montauban around four in the afternoon, which gave Jim enough time to enjoy the hotel pool. Today the sky is bright blue and we look forward to our last excursion from this lovely, undiscovered town of Montauban.

No comments: