Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hilltop City and Thousand Islands? – Erich

France is separated into départements, which are administrative regions, like being broken up into states in the U.S. We are in the département of Lot, but not too far from the département of Dordogne. And we took a little trip into Dordogne to the city of Domme.

Domme is an old medieval city that was built for defense on the very top of a high hill overlooking the Dordogne River. The architecture is old, like many of the towns in this area. There are many old buildings and crooked streets. And there are structures left over from what once must have been walls around the town.

On the way there, on the way anywhere around here, you pass by old churches and other buildings from many centuries ago.

At many of the intersections are signs, arrows pointing down varied roads with the name of the village or villages you can reach by going in that direction. And often under the village's name it will say something like eglise de XIII S. This means in that village there is a church from the 13th century. Of course, there are also XIV S (14th), and XII S (12th), and the oldest we have seen so far XI S (11th).

You see so many stone buildings that are so ancient you almost get immune to it. Almost. They are still pretty impressive to see. When you come from a country which has almost no structures standing from the 17th century, you can appreciate that there is a rich, if someone taken for granted, history here.

Traveling to Domme, you must drive up the curved road full of switchbacks that leads up the hill. And there is a warning at the bottom that there is a height restriction at the top. You have to pass under this arch to get into the town.

In Domme, there is a viewing plaza where you get magnificent views of the Dordogne River below and the plains and peaks on the other side. This is green pastoral land dotted with stone buildings. And you can follow the meanders of the river.

You can also see some of the structure of the rock on which Domme stands.

At another location in Domme, we saw the remains of an ancient guard tower which once stood as part of the city's defenses. Now, the floors which were probably wood are gone. But part of the stone structure remains.

We enjoyed a picnic in Domme, surrounded by the beauty of the landscape. And to get food for a picnic, one stops at a grocery store, right? While you see many differences in the grocery stores of varied nations, one particularly caught my eye.

In America, do we have our own particular sauce of which I am totally unaware? One that we are so proud of, we call it American Sauce? How am I so ignorant? Or is it made of Americans? Oh, that's getting to a dark place.

Before you panic, reading the ingredients, I'm pretty sure this is Thousand Island Dressing. But hey, market it however works best for you, Heinz.

I suppose, though, it is only fair. I mean, it is the French way of getting back at us for fries, toast, and vanilla. Touché, France! Touché.

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