Monday, October 1, 2012

Cycle Touring Day 184

Once we finally got our act together this morning, we set out to cycle up to Rocamadour from our campsite at Lacave. My friend had done the climb last week but was keen to do it again as, although it was quite a climb for the inexperienced cyclist, the views at the summit worth certainly worth it.

Rocamadour is a medieval city perched on the side of the Alzou valley and is well worth going out of your to pay it a visit - this was actually the second time my friend had visited the place in the past week. To see a town apparently clinging to the side of a rock face is most bizarre but very picturesque.

We parked the bikes at the top of the hill and walked down the same route to the old town as we had last night when we first arrived. With the church now open (it had been closed last night as  it was late in the evening) we took a look inside to see the Black Virgin before heading up to the chateau at the top of the town once again. Halfway up we spotted a cave we could not see in the dark last night, and explored inside. It was a cavern created by water over thousands of years no doubt and went about 20 metres back into the rock. At any moment I expected to be surrounded by bats!

For the cycle back we crossed to the other side of the valley and cycled up the long, slow climb back out of the valley. It was a beautiful climb with gorgeous views once again of course. Unfortunately though my camera battery ran out just as I as taking a final picture of Rocamadour from the other side of the valley, which as most frustrating. We cycled cross country for a while and after a few more ascents and descents we ended up in the village of Cal├Ęs before making our way back up and around to Lacave.

After a jaunt to the local supermarkets and dinner back at the campsite, we drove off to visit Figeac for a night time stroll - my friend does like to drive so - before returning back to our campsite well after midnight.

Rocamadour perched on the side of the Alzou valley.

Those on a pilgrimage climb these 216 steps on their knees apparently. Those nuns must get through so many pairs of fishnet stockings!

Some old painting on the left and the sword of Durandal at the top right. I was actually taking this photograph of the painting only. I searched all over for that sword on the day, to no avail, and have only just noticed it there now in this photograph as I was typing this caption! Bizarre!