There's Always Another Hill
New York to France
Sometime in the spring of 1999 Andrew suggested another cycling trip in France for the week after Labor Day. He had been looking into the Dordogne region, a land of prehistoric caves, rich foie gras, truffles, walnuts, and rolling hills. The cycling company we'd used in 1998 did not offer the region he wanted to visit, so he'd located a bicycle rental company that would supply us with bikes wherever we wanted to ride. Throughout the summer we ordered high-resolution maps of the area from France and planned and re-planned our itinerary. Andrew made hotel reservations via fax, and we both stocked up on the supplies we knew we'd want for the ride. I decided to take a gel seat cover instead of packing my beloved wide saddle (a decision I regreted later). Andrew bought a new helmet.
On Friday, September 3, Andrew's birthday, we flew from New York to Paris, then early Saturday morning cabbed to Gare du Nord. The train took us to Souillac and a bus took us the last half-hour to Sarlat. Our hotel was just a couple blocks from the bus stop.
Before boarding the plane in New York we watched a very annoyed woman pitch a fit at the desk. She looked like someone I used to work with, but I thought "Nah, couldnt be."
We were not seated together on the full plane, and we were both in middle seats surrounded by college kids from Connecticut going for a year in Paris. They were all guite nice, but we both thought some of them were no where near ready for a year abroad.
Seated on the plane awaiting takeoff, I hear my name and look up. It is a woman who works for my Turkish client, in fact, she's the person who arranged my Turkey trip in 1998. She is visiting France with her young daughter. I tell her I'll come chat after takeoff. Soon after I hear my name again. It is the angry woman, who is a former co-worker. The girls around me are impressed that I know two people on the flight who I'm not traveling with. I'm amazed.
Later I seek out both. My Turkish friend says business is bad at Pacha, after terrorist bombs in March and the Earthquake in August. While this is not surprising, I'm sorry to hear a that a good client is having difficulties. My former co-worker is now with IBM and traveling on business to Paris and Frankfurt.
The hotel pool is quite cool but I enjoy it anyway. After our swim, bath, and a rest, we stroll through old Sarlat. We're anxious for dinner although it is too early. We review the menus at two of the three restaurants that are recommended in the Cadogan guide. At last we deem it a marginally proper hour and enjoy a lovely meal, the highlight of which is a garlic and sorrell soup. We sleep like the dead.