Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Via-ferrata challenge!

 I've often reflected on why the Perigord Noir (our part of the Dordogne department) is so popular and attracts so many return visitors: obviously it's very pretty and in summer,  the weather is usually sunny and pleasantly warm but the most important thing is probably that there is something for everyone.
La Dordogne & boats from the via ferrata
Despite having lived here for almost 8 years, we still have places we haven't yet visited and activities we haven't yet tried, so are always grateful to guests who can give us the lowdown on where they've enjoyed visiting or have tales to tell about activities the've enjoyed. For sight-seers, the list goes on and on - you could stay a month and not have managed to get around to visiting all of the beautiful villages/chateaux/caves/scenic views in the area  - unless you decide to go for the easy option and float over it all in an early morning hot air balloon!
Tweety pie flies over Meyrals!

For those who like active holidays (or have children to wear out) there is plenty on offer. Recent guests came back from Les Eyzies having enjoyed an excellent couple of hours exploring the local area on horseback, whilst another couple with young children had a terrific holiday out an about on bikes - neither of which are things that I've done, being scared of horses and too lazy for cycling!

Kitted out and under instruction!
Sometimes the attractions are the least expected: lots of our guests visit gardens whilst here, and Marqueyssac gardens are particularly well know for their fantastic views over the Dordogne and Le Roque Gageac, but the ticket price also includes free entry to the challenge of the Via Ferrata. Wearing a harness and helmet, and clipped onto a wire rope, one can spend 40 minutes negotiating around the cliff face, 100 metres above river level: a great challenge for all from 8 years upwards.....including Grandma (me, Sue). Having braved it once a couple of years ago, I decided to return with friends/guests just so that I could take the photos that I'd been too scared to take the previous time!
Ready for the off!
Guest, Tim, reflected in a mirror at the start

There are some 'thought provoking' moments!


I think all of us - 2 oldies, 2 x '40 somethings' and 2 students all felt a sense of acheivement at the end.......and the 10 year olds behind us thought it was "cool"!

  In the same vein, there are several airparcs in the area

where anyone from 3 years old to adult can swing through the trees - just for the fun of it & a good way to get some shade on a very sunny day!
Impressive cliffside below Marqueyssac gardens
Another enjoyable(and more relaxing) way to visit Marqueyssac  is on the 'candlelit' evenings held each Thursday in summer, when there is live music and children's activities.


 The very hot and sunny weather we've been having over the last few weeks has meant that our table tennis table/badminton & other games equipment has been a little less used than normal but the pool has never been more popular!

Although there's nothing like a reviving dip in the pool after a day out, the fun of river dipping can be very memorable (& sometimes unintentional during spirited canoe jousting)!
For younger children, one of the life-guarded river beaches on the Dordogne makes a great afternoon out, especially one for one of our young guests who'd just had a snorkel for his birthday!

Beynac castle -view from a canoe
  Older teenagers & adults might like to whisked along in the faster (but shallow) stretches especially in the 'cingles' or loops of the river!
 Canoe trips on both the dordogne &  Vezere are a great family activity and guaranteed to use up excess energy as well as being the one of the best ways to see the majesty of the chateaux lining the Dordogne. To quote Ratty in Wind in the Willows, "there's nothing like messing about in a boat"!
Jon, after the Via Ferrata, enjoying a celebratory icecream at the Garden cafe!