October 19th, 2019

19 October 

Day early yesterday, as we had the chicken curry we usually have on Saturday night! Watched and enjoyed World on Fire. 

Rained quite a lot, and for quite a while last night! Very peaceful where we were, not even under any lighting!

This morning had a leisurely start - forecast said it would stop raining by 11am, and it was actually accurate!

Went out walking for a couple of hours. I know there are a few of you who have said Rocamadour is beautiful - but weird also springs to mind!

We walked down Chemin de Croix, which has lots of Stations of the Cross (basically religious figures behind bars!).

It is situated in a narrow gorge on the Alzou, and has a population of only 600, yet has over a million visitors each year! It is one of the most unusual places of pilgrimage in France, people have been flocking here since the Middle Ages, many a crowned sovereign amongst them, in order to view the Black Madonna of Rocamadour (12th century) in the Chapelle Notre Dame. 

Pilgrims climb the 216 steps, often on their knees in order to worship. When I read this, I didn’t think it meant now - but sure enough, a few pilgrims were on their knees, stopping on each step, praying. It had been raining a lot, so they got wet! Also, we saw a family with their children - quite strange that they do it too, without having enough independent knowledge to question it. 

There are seven sanctuaries to enter including the basilica Saint-Sauveur, and the crypt of Saint-Amadour. There was a service going on in one, everyone was wearing a yellow scarf, can only think they were coached in!

For those interested, the following history is taken from France This Way:

Brief History of Rocamadour

A knowledge of the history of the village will greatly enhance your visit to Rocamadour. The story starts in 1166 when the preserved body of a hermit, reputed to be Saint Amadour, was discovered here. Saint Amadour is reputed to be Zaccheus, the inn keeper who climbed the tree to see Jesus and whose wife Saint Veronica wiped the face of Jesus with a handkerchief whilst he carried the cross.

After the death of his wife Zaccheus came to Rocamadour as a hermit. He built a sanctuary in the rock and locals called him Amator (’the lover’) because of his devotion. Hence Rocamadour was named after the rock of Amator. Within a few years of the body being found numerous miraculous healings were attributed to the saintly remains. Pilgrims started arriving - and kept arriving!

The Black Madonna and the shrine became the main attraction for pilgrims and the town grew wealthy under the important patronage of kings and nobles of the time. Henry II of England was one of the first to come and donate a lot of treasure. The hospitals and churches, and the village of Rocamadour itself, grew to cope with the influx of pilgrims, as did the 'grand staircase' which pilgrims climbed on their knees to reach the village.

By the 16th century the number of pilgrims had dwindled, and the Wars of Religion had caused great damage to the village, and it was not until the 19th century that the Rocamadour we see now - a charming and popular destination - took shape.

Pretty amazing to see so much carved into the rock face!

Walked around the touristy street below. Really not busy! 

Foie gras is a speciality of the region and is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been especially fattened. By French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn with a feeding tube, a process also known as gavage. Foie Gras has the fifth-highest cholesterol content (515 mg per 100 grams) among all foods. Can’t offer a positive opinion - as it’s something that I would never knowingly eat!

After lunch back at Dave, Tintin drove today for about 1-1/4 hours. Lovely proper countryside! 

First off, we saw a field full of sheep - and surprisingly tiny lambs - Spring lambs??

Also saw three deer in a field, then saw a red squirrel run across the road - sadly no photographic evidence of any!

We parked up at Salignac with one other moho. 

Tintin had a doing afternoon. After reading some comments on the Mobilvetta Facebook group, he decided to pump up our front tyres - will see if it makes any difference. He also used his best workman’s friend of WD40 on the windows, oven and anything squeaking. Tried to improve the sliding function of the tamber loo door, and for a while made it worse - then worryingly after replacing a screw in the top - managed to get it firmly stuck - closed. Eventually he sorted it out, whilst I changed our bedding for the last time!

The German lady from the moho next door came over and gave us a huge amount of walnuts they had collected, as they had so many - how very kind of her. 

After that, despite it getting later, thought we’d better go out for a walk, especially as it hasn’t rained this afternoon, and has been much warmer. Well, the village could be described as ‘sleepy’. Signs led us to the Château - which was falling down and we couldn’t access!

Strange house with a roof made out of just stacked rocks - how does that not leak?!

And to end on a good note, a friendly vocal cat came to see us!

And lastly some more photos - 

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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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