Najac 15th June
Today’s expedition was supposed to be to Villefranche de Rouergue, the town of many churches. However apart from the churches, the town’s website mostly advertises the features of Najac, so we included it in our travel plans.
Villefranche de Rouergue has some pretty impressive churches and abbeys. We went to visit the Notre Dame in the town centre, walked around the town and then went up to the town lookout for a multicache.
Our crazy GPS took us up the goat track to the geocache, so half way up we abandoned the car and followed the Pilgrim trail to the top of the hill, quite poignant because the cache is called “in the shoes of the penitent”. The road up is actually a preserved Roman road as a Gallo Roman Oppidum village once existed on the hill. Two churches were built here centuries ago; they were then destroyed in various conflicts and then later rebuilt. Apart from the two churches, a cross and a B&B, there is nothing else up here. The views of the walled city of Villefranche de Rouergue are great and the cache can be easily found by spoiler photos as we found out.
Our next multicache was at Najac, a beautiful medieval town, surrounded by forest; it is built on a ridge line that stretches over two hills and a valley. The main street of the town goes down one side of a hill towards the valley and then up the other side, which also has the large St Jean church and the Najac Chateau. The town has preserved (from the 13th & 14th centuries) many of its old buildings, gates, fountains, washhouses and bridges. We parked at the wrong end of town and therefore ended up seeing a lot more of town than the average geocaching tourist. Although we found the cache, our discovery was also hindered by cobbled paths (in jandals), missing information off signs and a bakery half way up the hill; nice toasted sandwich.
Our well earned Friday night taste of France is a €7 kebab, chips and drink combo from the local. Unlike NZ, chicken doesn’t come off the skewer; it is, instead, cooked in chunky bits on a hot plate. The photo below shows a French kebab, no the chicken isn’t yellow because its grain fed; I think they thought we were English so it was cooked in curry sauce.
Today’s Cahors Secret Garden is half way between our house and the Kebab shop. For the energetic you can have a game of Hopscotch, for geocachers you can admire garden No.17 the Coarsin space. French word of the day is ‘Coarsin’, it is olde French for Cahorsin ‘the inhabitants of Cahors’. In the Middle Ages Cahors was known as a financial centre of Italian and local bankers, therefore this space is an Italian garden evoking the heyday of Cahors in the Middle Ages. It is in a private courtyard so you can only partly see Mediterranean plants like olive trees and cypress.
A couple of people who decided to try living in France for three months, to absorb some of the culture and to try a diet of Baguette, Cheese and Wine.