Before I tell you about my visit to an amazing medieval castle nestled on a hill and hidden between two ridges … I discovered Americans aren’t the only rude tourists!
So, last night, at dinner, at my hotel/restaurant in Fumel, this woman was talking on her phone quite loudly. I’m pretty sure she was talking to a baby, as she was making the kind of sounds and noises and cutesy-words you’d say to a baby. It’s pretty much the same in any language. It could have been her baby. Maybe this was the first time she’d ever been away from her baby. Who knows? Anyway, she was annoying. Go out in the lobby or go outside and talk to your baby.
Finally, this guy sitting a couple tables away comes over and begins talking to her, in French, of course, since we’re in France. It wasn’t exactly an argument, but from what I could tell, he too was annoyed and was politely, but firmly describing his annoyance. Finally, he walked away, she said a few more baby things into her phone to the baby, hung up, and shot a nasty glance toward the guy.
Skip ahead several minutes and the guy and his companion leave, and a minute later the lady is back on her phone. And, she looked around and just dared anyone to come over and say something. I didn’t have the nerve.
Hey, what would Larry David have done in this situation? There’s no way he could have resisted saying something and it for sure would have escalated into an international incident. Sometimes, I wish I could be more like Larry.
I’m getting closer to the Bonaguil story. Here’s a photo to whet your appetite.
So, I arrived at Bonaguil at 13:00. The last half kilometer to the entrance is up a super, super steep hill. I got to the top and the sign said: We open at 14:00. Crap!
Back down the super, super steep hill to the café at the bottom. I sat outside and had a Vittel and a sandwich fromage. Across from me, directly in my line of sight, were a French couple. They seemed sort of elegant. He was wearing a pink sweater, a sure sign of sophistication, right? And then, out of nowhere, the guy sticks his index finger into his left nostril, digs around and around and pulls something out. And looks at it. And twirls it around between his index finger and thumb and looks at it some more.
“Holy crap,” I said to myself. “Is he gonna eat it? No way, please don’t. Gross! And, should I say something? But what? How do you say ‘that’s disgusting in French?’ Should I just say something in English so he knows I’m here and can see him? What would Larry David do?”
The guy didn’t eat it. Whew. Instead, he reached into his right nostril and began the whole process all over again. And here’s the thing: His wife was sitting right next to him, and they chatted away the whole time as if this was perfectly normal.
All I can say is: Thank goodness Susan wasn’t here to witness this.
OK, before I lose you, here’s a photo of the town of Puy l’Eveque, which I rode through on my way to Bonaguil.
One more thing before I get to Bonaguil. I was riding on a path today, and there were people walking. What do you say when you’re about to pass them? I can’t say “on your left” over here. They wouldn’t understand. How about “dans le gauche?” Nah, that would be weird for me to say. Plus, people over here seem to walk on the left rather than the right, so I’m all confused about what to say. I’ve been alternating between “pardon” and “bonjour” and “hello.” They all seem to work.
Oh no, I’m out of time and energy and haven’t even gotten to Bonaguil yet. Let me sum it up and post one more photo. According to the brochure: The powerful Berenger de Roquefeuil (1448-1530) “would spend the next twenty years or more making Bonaguil the fortress of legend it is today, equipping it with a barbican [outer, fortified walls], several towers, a chicane [I think this means the walls are curved], seven drawbridges, a casemate [fortified gun placements] and a moineau [some sort of defensive type thing] with cannon parts…”
All in all: Pretty amazing. I wish I could have taken better photos, but I think you need a drone to do Bonaguil justice. And my panniers are already full.
Tomorrow: Heading east along the Lot for 60 or 70 miles to St Cirq.
If anyone’s interested, here’s the link to my eBook from last year’s trip to Bordeaux. It’s available on all eBook platforms. I think.