Europe 2012: Day 36, Sarlat

Main square in Sarlat, France.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We woke up around 8:00.   It is cloudy.

It is amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for one’s mood.   I crawled out of bed to get the laptop, my DH was already checking his iPod.  Emails were coming in like wildfire!   Our internet connection was fast and flawless!

I downloaded pictures from my camera to the laptop and organized them to the best my memory would allow.   While I take a shower, my DH uses the laptop to check his daily “feeds”.

At 11am, I have completed two more blog postings and my DH has finished reviewing our finances.  The sun is out and we are ready for a walk around the town of Sarlat.

The first thing we notice as we walk down the main street of Sarlat is that there are tourists roaming about but Sarlat does not feel touristy.   All traffic is diverted to the outskirts of the town so there is no traffic noise and no cars to deal with on the street.  Nice!

We wander through stores and streets.  I take pictures.  My DH gets a pastry as big as his face.   We take a Rick Steves walking tour.  We go through the market.

Mark’s pastry — it looked too good to resist! (Sarlat, France)

Street in Sarlat, France.

Anna behind the catherdal in Sarlat, France.

DH in front of a monument in Sarlat, France.

Buildings are made of a distinctive yellow stone in Sarlat, France.

At around 1pm, we stop for lunch at Auberge de Salamandre.   We choose this restaurant because they have a Foie Gras platter – Foie Gras three ways!   I order the platter, my DH orders the Grilled Duck Breast menu.

Eating Foie Gras on toast is Sarlat, France.

If you like liver, it is likely that you will like Foie Gras.   However, duck Foie Gras has a buttery texture and a milder taste than beef or chicken liver.  My platter had a piece of fresh/raw foie lightly sauteed with an orange sauce, a slice of foie gras terrine (in gelatin), and foie gras pate – all served with toast.   It was the best foie gras I have ever eaten and possibly the most fattening and unhealthy meal I have ever had in my life!

My DH’s menu started with garlic soup made with egg and then grilled duck breast served with potatoes cooked in duck fat.   Duck fat is like gold in this part of the world – it has a richness and flavor that butter lacks (if that is possible, but it is).   His menu was healthier than mine, but not by much.

Duck breast with potatoes fried in duck fat — yummy! (Sarlat, France)

Cute duck toys — ducks are BIG business in Sarlat, France.

We were stuffed and we just remained at our table for another hour digesting our meal and watching the world go by as the sun peeked through the clouds.  It was the thought of days like this that made us want to go on this trip.  It was lovely!   It was relaxing!

After lunch, we took a walk through the carnival that was in town.

Carnival ride in Sarlat, France.

Back to the hotel to lay down and take a nap. While my DH napped, I worked on the blog.   At around 6pm, I had a couple of blogs ready for my DH’s review.  But the sun was still out so we went out to do more exploring.  This time we when through the smaller streets where the late afternoon sun streamed into the alleys and glowed on to the yellow stone.

Around 7pm, we planted ourselves at a café on the square and ordered a Walnut Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a glass of wine for me) – this would be our dinner.   The cake was good but the Chocolate Sauce was better.   We watched street performers.  We watched the world go by again.

Two regional specialties — Walnut Cake and Kir. (Sarlat, France)

At 8pm, we got up to go back to the room but were distracted by a street performer with a crystal ball.  The way he handled the ball, it seems to float on air – we were mesmerized!   We stayed to watch his entire show.  This street performer juggled balls and bowling pins, balanced baby strollers on his chin, and told jokes to the children.  At one point, he pulled a geeky self-conscious teenage boy from the crowd.  This teenager, all arms and legs, was the perfect comic foil to the slim muscular street performer with wild kinky hair.  Together they put on quite the show.  The boy ran after balls in his girlish way with a red balloon hat on his head – it was very sweet.  I think he had a good time.

Street performer, Sarlat, France.

After the show, we went back to the hotel to wait for the sun to set.   Sarlat has a unique feature; many of the street lamps here still use gas.   When these gas lamps are on, we are told they cast a glow on the yellow stone giving the alleys and street an eerie and mysterious look.  And they do!

The streets of Sarlat, France by gaslight.

The weather was sunny and mild – it was perfect weather for a lazy day of discovery.   My DH said we need to remember this day because “it is supposed to be hot in the south!”

I can’t help but to think that if we had booked another tour (as tempting as it sounded), we would have missed this lovely day together.  Sometimes it is not how much you see of a place that makes it memorable, but what you experience while you are there.

Quote of the day:  “Everywhere you look, there is a painting!” — DH


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