Monday, October 5, 2015

We drive to Sarlat

Day 3:  Finding Hertz, we have GPS!, signs signs everywhere there's signs, not dead in pretty Sarlat

After another good night's sleep, we were up, breakfasted and ready to go early because we had a long drive ahead of us.  We still did not really know where the Hertz rental counter was but thankfully the clerk that checked us out did.

Beautiful view from our hotel room
We dragged our bags through the Perrache train station, down one escalator to the elevator because the second escalator was broken, across the train tracks, through a parking lot to a locked elevator that would take us down two flights to the Hertz office.  Thankfully someone was going into the elevator and let us on so we didn't have to figure out how to call Hertz to let us in.  This was a pretty inconvenient location for a car rental agency, in my opinion, and I would not chose Hertz at Perrache again.  Avis, located right in the main terminal, would be my choice.

Anyway, we checked in with the less than friendly attendant who explained we had another E132 in charges over what we'd already paid through autoeurope.  We were expecting only E54 so I was an unhappy camper.  She didn't do a good job of explaining what the extra charges were for but we vowed to contact autoeurope after the trip to iron the matter out--we had little choice but to accept what felt like a rip off on the spot.  The attendant almost reluctantly handed over a map and a notation that there was a scratch on the bumper.  Definitely not renting from Hertz at Lyon Perrache again...

The car, a Renault Captur, was clean.  The garage was dark so we missed two small dings in the doors.  We couldn't fit our two suitcases (24" and 21") and two small carry-ons in the trunk which was very annoying.  We turned on the GPS and it worked--we didn't pay extra for it.  Our Garmin also worked so we felt well covered.
Following the GPSs, which totally died in the tunnel under the train station, lol, and our map, we made it onto the highway to Sarlat easily.  We stopped at a rest station pretty early on for coffee, water and snacks but really just drove without detours.  Except that every time husband saw one of those pretty signs for a sight or castle or beautiful village he wanted me to take a picture and find it on the map so we could visit.  We took pictures of the view but the weather was not gorgeous.  We were fascinated by the special bridges to help animals cross the highway.  Husband proclaimed it an easy drive until we listened to the GPSs and turned off the autoroute too early and were sent on small back roads to Sarlat.

We were meeting Barry at the Sarlat train station and made it there just about on time.  He lead us to the free parking nearest the apartment and helped us shuttle our luggage to the apartment, a 4th floor walk-up.  Barry carried my bag up the stairs while husband handled his own (the bigger one).  I went ahead with the carry-ons.  I was at the top when I heard a very loud noise and a yell.  And Barry asking if husband was ok.  As husband trudged up the spiral staircase, holding on to the rope railing, the railing gave away and he almost down fell two flights of stairs.  Thankfully he let go of the suitcase so it fell instead of him.  Hearts racing, and thankful that he was ok, we made it up to the apartment.

Le Grenier looked just like the pictures on the web.  But it was a bit more run down and dustier than I expected.  The shower was primitive with the shower head hanging off a beam by large nails and a plastic tie.  The sink was loose from the wall.  The lighting was really poor.  There were no hooks to hang towels or anything else.  The washer was not a dryer so we had to lay out towels and anything we washed on a drying rack with a fan running.  The toilet seat prevented the separate toilet room door from closing easily.  The TV was so tiny it could have been a computer monitor.  No Wi-Fi.  No phone in the apartment. The bed was hard and smaller than we had expected.  The broom broke when I tried to use it.  I did not choose well in Sarlat (sadly) except for the amazing location right in the middle of town and the friendliness of our host, Barry, who had stocked the apartment pretty well.  It was also reasonably priced at E80/night.  We would not stay there again.

From living room looking into dining and kitchen and exit
(and two doors for bathroom and toilet)
American full sized bed--very small
The exposed beams were pretty
We refreshed ourselves and headed for the Tourist Information to use their Wi-Fi and get information about the gabarres.  They were closing up since it was almost 5pm but did say the gabarres were done for the day.  It was a very pretty afternoon so we wandered into the church, the cemetery (which thank the universe husband would not be buried in) and around town.  Such a cute town.  There were not a lot of other people about.  We had a drinks on the square at Café de la Mairie and watched some police officers with a dog come running through.

So glad husband did not have to be buried here!
Sarlat's square on a beautiful evening

Police in action in Sarlat
We don't know what happened

Square honoring martyrs of the liberation

Beer cave where we chatted with a nice Australian
We slowly made our way to L'Bistroi l'Octroi for dinner which was very good.

My goat cheese and husbands foie gras starters
Fish for me; duck for husband
Dessert at L'Bistroit l'Otroi
Back to the apartment, up four flights of stairs, not holding on to the rope railing, to try to sleep.  We were liking Sarlat already.

Take Aways:
1. Hertz is not well located at Perrache train station in Lyon.
2. Driving in France is easy but pricy on the autoroutes.  Those tolls do add up.
3. Be more careful with the apartment selection especially in the lower price range.  Always ask for the dimensions of the bed, not just the size name. 
4. Say fervent thanks to the universe for keeping us safe on vacation (we don't want to check out how good our travel insurance is!).
5. Make the best of your not so great decisions!

Next:  more back roads, a gouffre, a vertical town, and lots of pretty villages

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