Chinese horses, troglodytes, walnut farmers, bison, Josephine Baker, and French national kayak champions all have one thing in common: they inhabited the Dordogne River valley sometime in the last 20,000 years or so. The dwellings, drawings, monuments, and other paraphernalia left behind can keep a tourist busy for months, seeking them out. Where can one find that much time??!!
Well into his agricultural and domestication-of-animal years, man continued to come up with clever and visually appealing ways of protecting self, family, and meatstock; for example, domed roofs of stacked rocks, with no timbers, mortar, or mud holding them up. Animals on the ground floor; people slept in the loft.
Even in the nidst of religous wars, respecting and worshipping Morther Nature was recognized by all parties as a means of ensuring the harvest happened at the expected time, as respresented in these sculptures of kale surrounding a 12th-century Abbot's throne.
We have managed to squeeze in some castle-viewing into our busy schedule--did I mention that there is a castle on every hilltop? And one from every century, it seems. Where on earth--or under the earth--can we find the time to visit them all??!! The one below is just a routine everyday private home, once fiercley defended by the reigning lord of the manor, now falling victim to the ravages of time and thinness of wallet.
If you're lucky, or rich enough, your castle is kept up by surviving family, or perhaps a non-profit foundation after your death, or even the government's historical preservation arm. All those renovations and upgrades of electricity and plumbing take time, as evidenced by the repairs underway on nearly every structure constructed of stone. For example, at the singer Josephine Baker's proud French chateau, furnished lovingly during her successful music hall career but lost in bankruptcy as she aged, and, in its final chapter, accepting donations from tourists to pay for roof repairs.
This has been a busy week, for sure, keeping up with the timeless march of history! We haven't yet made it to a walnut farm (the traditional industry here, along with foie gras production) or kayaking with champions--no time!