Tours to Périgueux via Oradour-sur-Glane 194 miles, 4 hours 15m ride time
I’d like to say today dawned with bright sunshine, the birds were singing and six bikers leapt out of bed to greet the day. I’d like to but if I did my pants would be on fire. We had a relatively late breakfast of cereal & fresh baguettes with honey, nursing one or two hangovers and looking out of the window at the clouds. And puddles. And showers.
At about 10am we decided what the hell – skin’s waterproof – so we headed off for fuel in pretty foul conditions. After fuelling up our first stop was for a coffee after 90 minutes or so as the weather began to lift.
The main event today was a visit to Oradour-sur-Glane on the way to Périgueux, the administrative centre of the Dordogne.
Oradour is famous as the ‘Village of the Martyrs’ where 642 innocent civilians were massacred by the Nazis in June 1944. The men were separated from their families on the pretext of a census and were mercilessly machine-gunned down; their bodies burned along with most of the village. The women and children were crowded into the church – a place of refuge and protection, but were themselves murdered and the church set on fire.
The village was preserved by the French as a monument to those who lost their lives in such a callous and brutal way. The buildings were made safe so that visitors can stop, pause and reflect on man’s inhumanity to man in perpetuity.
The ruins were largely silent as those visiting, including ourselves, walked round thoughtfully and respectfully, reflecting on lives lost so cruelly. The low clouds and a single skylark warbling above only added to the eerie atmosphere of the place.
After such a sad experience it almost seems sacrilegious to say “And then we went off for chip buttys and a coke” but I’m afraid that’s exactly what we did. You can’t keep a biker and fatty food apart for too long it seems.
Our post-lunch run to Périgueux took us off the main roads to (at last) a few swoopy quiet roads where we could er… relax our throttle discipline a bit. If anyone knows the address of the relevant French government department we need to contact for copies of the lovely photos they took from their roadside cameras, please let me know. I definitely think they caught my best side. Aren’t we lucky that our number plates are on the back….
Our hotel in Périgueux is right in the city with an underground car park so we can sleep without worrying about the safety of our pride & joys. We get very attached to these machines which uncomplainingly drag us round Europe at sometimes in excess of thirty miles per hour. I know! Modern marvels they are.
As I write this evening I await the crane we ordered earlier to lift me into bed. We ate at an Irish bar and I can honestly say I have never in my life eaten so much at one sitting. Every single one of us had a meal fit for a Roi (do you see what I did there?) and I suspect we won’t be needing breakfast tomorrow, just a job lot of indigestion tablets. If you’re reading this, Gill – the diet starts when I get home.
We’re here for two nights so we can leave the luggage in the hotel and explore the area with considerably lighter bikes. They’ll be a little more agile without the drunk hippo handling we’ve experienced so far. I’ll fill you in on the adventures tomorrow.
Pip Pip til then 🙂