Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden
huskyteer

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4: Rocamadour, Padirac, Gramat

The next day we were ready to do some serious sightseeing. I'd added Howard to the hire car agreement as a second driver, so I could sit back and relax.

We stopped off briefly to look at Rocamadour, a village sticking out of a cliff:



Around noon we arrived at the Gouffre de Padirac and gazed with some trepidation at the lengthy queue.

We decided to wait it out. Fortunately I was able to pop off and get myself an ice cream (crème brûlée flavour).

We bought our tickets and descended by many, many stairs to the cave entrance. It felt prehistoric down in the cool, damp hole among giant ferns, and I wouldn't have been surprised to see pterodactyls overhead.

More stairs inside, then more queueing. Ahead of us, dark water lapped at the cave walls and tourists, eleven at a time, boarded small boats and disappeared into the gloom with a guide at the helm.

At last it was our turn to embark and set off for Hogwarts the interior along the underground river with its constant temperature of 13° (air temperature a constant 12°).

I thought of caverns measureless to man, but they weren't really, because our guide kept telling us that the ceiling was 65 metres above us or the water 5 metres deep (at this point, being a humorist, he rocked the boat from side to side).

Walls and ceiling were dramatically lit, modelled by water into stalagmites, stalactites and extraordinary formations like dripping candles, cathedrals, or the covers of 1970s sci-fi novels.

Our craft docked at the other end of the waterway and we were led by another guide to examine the chasms, lakes and natural sculptures beyond, before resuming our seats for the return crossing.

We took the lift back up.

Afterwards we visited the Parc Animalier de Gramat, on wosny's recommendation.

This was a lovely zoo set in a huge park. The specialities were native species past and present: bear, wolves, foxes, genet.

There are also animals you can bribe with popcorn bought at the entrance, and then stroke - goats, deer and sheep. One Jacob's sheep considered that my popcorn to stroking ratio wasn't high enough and charged me with all four of its horns.

Outside the fox enclosure, a sign told us where we might spot the inhabitants:



And, indeed, there were two foxes curled up snoozing up a tree.

Otter being effortlessly adorable:



Just for atommickbrane, PIGGES:



I rather fell for the albino coypu and started making plans to keep one in the bath. Your mileage may vary:



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Tags: animals, france, hols
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