Within the past month, I’ve been whisked away from my beloved Périgord and have been missing it ever since. The Dordogne is one of the most rural of all of France’s departments – green rolling hills, farmland, vineyards; very much the opposite of where I’ve lived for most of my life. So even though I only spent eight months in this part of the country, I really find myself wishing I could walk those country paths once again.
My first real introduction to the Dordogne countryside was through an action-packed, crash-course in Nordic Walking. Along with the other language assistants in town, we were all in frantic search of French-speaking friends, and ended up taking the bait when we saw a flier advertising a new way to walk. When we showed up, we were greeted by a great big group of some of the friendliest sexagenarians in all of Périgord. They suited us up with poles, taught us how to walk like a Norwegian, and led us on a lightly-paced walk through the woods.
But why limit myself to Trélissac? On weekends where the rain spared us for a few hours, Phillip and I would choose a direction, drive for a bit, and then take long walks into the forest.
On this particular walk, along with our friend Nick, we came across some noisy llamas and a dog with a hairy face that followed us for nearly two hours. He was completely content to just trot ahead of us, though after nearly ten kilometers, we weren’t sure this poor pup really knew where he was or how to get back to where we found him (though we were quick to acknowledge the possibility that where we found the dog and where he actually belongs could be two very different places). So we hoisted this confused fella into the trunk of my car and took him back to where we first met.
And more recently, in the springtime, I found myself taking more frequent walks (and half-assed runs) along the voie verte, a path that follows the Isle river through Périgueux, especially once the ducklings started to hatch and waddle around. So sweet…
Oh, but who’s this miscreant? And what’s this, seems this sneaky cat has found a friend and co-conspirator in Rosie. La honte! Remember when people could feel safe walking along the river? Oh to go back to those carefree days! La Dordogne d’hier pour toujours!