This blog is posted when we travel overseas taking a break from our Fulltime RV Life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cave Art Horses, Long Bus Ride, Toulouse – Oct. 9, 2018


We weren’t the only ones up early this morning.


One advantage of the bus leaving before the sun is up is that when the sun does come up you have some great views.


There are enough castles that the names never stick. Baffled Bob.


Pech Merle, here the cave art is mostly from 26,000 years ago. As with all the caves, the number of visitors and the duration of the visit is very strictly controlled.






Postcard photos courtesy of Linda. The spotted horse and hands were even better in the cave. The mammoth is especially life like. This was a period of extreme cold, so the long hair of the mammoth is shown to be just as it was at the time.


The type of terrain where the caves can be found.


The type of terrain where modern man is found. The name of the town is St. Cirq Lapopie. All the streets in this town seemed to run in one of two directions. Either up or down, with down being the prevailing direction. I think that is why Linda chose to eat very near where the bus left us off. Smart Linda.


This area is known for its saffron. Naturally we had the local drink which contained, you guessed it, saffron.


In case you want to know what was in it. I’ve never understood why people travel then order only what they could get at home. We generally try to have the specialty of the area, with occasionally having something from home. (But never American beer which is crap compared to what you get elsewhere in the world with the few and far between exceptions, Vietnam’s daily fresh beer being one of the exceptions. It’s so bad it makes bad beer taste good in comparison.)


Speaking of tastes bad, foie gras, tastes great to me. Linda on the other hand begins to turn green at the sight and smell of it. One of my last opportunities to have it and I wasn’t going to pass it up.


Toulouse, we were here a number of years ago. Hey, don’t laugh, there really are some places we haven’t ever been to, but we’re working on going there. Such a big world, so little time.


The route the bus drove down to get us to our hotel.


Long day, big meal at lunch, a visit to Super Marche down the street, once we found which street it was on that is. We weren’t lost, we just weren’t sure where we were going, or where we had come from. What’s life without a little adventure anyway. We never did eat the apple, but the bottle of wine was consumed. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Caves, towns and lectures,, a Very Full Day– Oct. 8, 2018

Yes, I acknowledge being many days behind in my writing. There were simply not enough hours in the day to see and assimilate, have time for myself, and then write. This is being written on the 15th, a week late, as we enjoy Germany, so hopefully I can write two posts each day until I am caught up. Hopeful but Doubtful Bob

I will also try to post which sites we saw each day, as it is possible you may want to visit them. Looking back, this was the best and the most tiring tour we have ever done, but was nothing short of awesome. There were tour members who have taught this their whole lives, but were now having their first opportunity to actually see the art work. It was nothing less than a fantastic group of fellow travelers. Many kudos to Roger Parks for suggesting we would enjoy a Nat Geo tour.


It rained all last night, the water pouring into the river just made this photo. This town is Montignac and the hotel we are at is Hotel la Roseraie right on the river.


Our first stop was Lascaux 4. Many caves have been closed to visitors and no visitors are allowed in any newly discovered ones. Also photos are not allowed in any of the caves. Lascaux 4 is an exact replica of the actual Lascaux cave, almost to the centimeter, and all the paintings have been faithfully reproduced, which means photos are allowed.


I know you want to see the cave paintings, but this says volumes about our group. There are at lest four people in the group taking notes of what our guide is saying.  In other tours we have taken there would be some people of looking at what they could buy (the shoppers), others would be off taking photos (the photographers), and others just walking about (the tourists). Here, everyone is listening, and yes I was taking a photo, but only because I had in mind what I just wrote. Good Bob.


In the actual reproduced cave no photos are allowed as the group is give a set amount of time to to go through it. But once completed, there is a “workshop” area where sections of the paintings are displayed and what might be called, “the attack of the cameras” takes place.










Bison, note the long hair because of the cold temperatures, bird and stick figure, the only human like figure in the cave.


Modern human watching 3D movie of ancient humans. Good Bob for not calling her ancient modern human.


Flip top cap on water bottle that uses a fraction of the plastic the lids on our water bottles use. And it works just as well. Gotta use all that plastic or our economy will collapse.


Divided attention during the tour of the town of Sarlat.


All attention here on the beer and gallette. It had been too long since we had these. Happy Bob and Linda.


Excellent, bottled but local. Local is always the best choice even if bottled, and bottled is what it usually is in the smaller towns.


Nutella crepe for dessert. Linda never leaves a creperie without having one. Smart Linda. Smiling Bob.


One of those only Linda knows why she took it photos.


Les Eyzies where the Cro-Magnon man was found. This one is for Roger Norris.


I doubt any of this will make it home, but we shall see. But let it be known Linda loves the walnut wine, that’s why she got two bottles to my one. Mine may just be the best red I’ve ever had, even considering the one’s we’ve made. No way is mine making it home.


Our expedition expert, Magen O'Farrell's evening talk. Note takers abound.


Main course.


My plate after main course. Another great day comes to an end.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Caves, Art and Rain–Oct. 7, 2018


You don’t have our itinerary, but if you did and know what this is you would wonder if I had the days mixed up. As is often the case, our itinerary has been changed around. Plus this is another day of few words. Time is a very fleeting thing, and it just flies by. It’s 9 pm before the evening meal ends and as Linda so aptly puts it, there needs to be me time, i.e., relaxation time also. So if some days pass with no posts, know that it was for a good reason, and at some point down the road each day will be covered.


Our first stop of the day, Musee National de Prehistoire. We had visited this museum during our trip to the area some years ago, and had been very impressed by it. It was just as good this morning.


Following in the footsteps of early man.


It can be a little crowded in the museums, but we had “whisperers”. It’s what they call the personal sound system we each wear. Unfortunately it didn’t work, so we all had to crowd close to hear. My thought was, that as much as this tour costs there is absolutely no excuse for a non-functioning sound system, which my review of the trip we are always asked to fill out will reflect.


As close a depiction of Neanderthals as current research indicates.


The art of these early peoples was more than paintings on cave walls.


Not everyday is perfect weather wise.


Flint knapper, expedition specialist and Linda’s glass of walnut wine.


What he started with.


What the finished piece looks like.


What the piece of bread with pate Linda started with looked like.


What the piece of bread with pate looked like when Linda finished with it.


He is very good at what he does, so a piece of his work is coming home with  Linda, but in my bag of course.


Our meal included salmon encased in clay and roasted in coals.


The way it has always been done in this area.


Another local specialty, walnut wine. Very Happy Linda.


Hunter-Gatherer Linda practicing with the atlatl . Correction, Gatherer Linda. Bad Bob. Actually Very, Very good Bob.


Hunter Bob demonstrating how to hit the target with the atlatl. Bob, who couldn’t believe it himself. The first time was luck, the second time was skill. Now I know what the extra Neanderthal genes I have were used for.

Afterwards we traveled to our first rock art viewing experience. The selection of places we visit on this “expedition” are quite varied, each offering something different from the others. Our beginning was a small family owned rock shelter.


The great granddaughter of the discoverer of the cave. The overhang had collapsed since the time of the ice age when it was used. She is holding a photo of her great grandfather showing the sieving technique he developed. He was the first person to realize there were small objects in the caves that could only be recovered by using a sieve. To say she was proud of her heritage came through loud and clear as she talked in French, something even the translation showed.


The type of art found in the shelter. It was etched in the rock with a flint tool. Because the shelter was open to the air after the rubble covering the opening was removed, calcite has covered many of the surfaces, see the white calcite on the rock behind this one.


Holes drilled into the rock. They connect and were used by the Neanderthal to hold animal skin tarps across the front of the shelter. Contrary to previous opinion, Neanderthals were intelligent people who lived with the land, and as we now know, they heavily interbred with homo sapiens.

Important point. This is the only site we will visit where photos are allowed. The reason for no photos is to prevent the degradation of the art and so a tour doesn’t last forever as people jockey for position to take photos. As most women use iPhones, Linda and several others excepted, while men use cameras. And as is the case, there needs to be a very basic course in how to use the iPhone to take photos. There can be 30 seconds of swiping to get the scene correct in some cases.

By the way, Linda solves the no photos allowed problem by taking photos of postcards in the gift shop. That may not be what some people would do, but growing up in Appalachia you did what you needed to do to survive, and Linda is a survivor. She’s also a beautiful, intelligent, vivacious woman I’m lucky to call my wife.


French countryside view from the bus.


The trees are turning, the scenery is awesome as pass through the land.


Every city, town, village and hamlet in France has a memorial those from it who died in the Great War, 1914-1918. France suffered some 1.7 million deaths, or nearly 4.5% of its population.


Next cave, no photos allowed.




Post card photos by Linda. At least you have an idea of what we saw in the cave.


Dinner appetizer. I’ll just say there was something on this plate that had a certain organ of the goose/duck, and Linda chose to give it to me. Factoid. Most Foie Gras is actually duck liver rather than goose liver. The goose liver is extremely strong and most people don’t like it so duck liver is used instead. I have had both and can agree with what they are saying. If it is goose liver, you will know it.


Linda’s dessert. I could only watch her eat it. I guess that only what is good for the goose is good enough for the Bob.