Sarlat is one of the highlights of the Dordogne, with its narrow medieval streets and honey-coloured buildings. In the middle of August, it’s always bound to be a bit crowded. And on a market day in the middle of August, it’s likely to be impossibly busy. And on a day predicted to reach 38 degrees, the sensible course would be to avoid it like the plague. So we went there in a burst of collective insanity.
It’s funny that with increased age, maturity and wisdom, we find ourselves still capable of bad judgment calls. It meant we drove five miles in a hot car to an overcrowded town, just to edge through gormless overheated tourists having all made the same bad judgment call, and seek refuge in an air-conditioned café, which was only half empty because it had no soul or atmosphere. At least, not the sort which enthuses any real café lover.
Naturally we arrived too late to find car-parking nearer than a couple of kilometers up a hill outside town. It was fine walking in but less than pleasant stumbling back in the heat of the middle of the day.
The heat got to all of us. Despite my gallant husband braving the heat to run up and switch the air-conditioning on before we got back to the car, it was never going to cope with the suffocating temperatures. We drove back to the campsite accompanied by squabbles between the (er) twenty and eighteen year olds. They assured us it was in a spirit of irony.
In the meantime the twelve year old suffered the back backseat far removed from any pretense of air-conditioning. We said it could be worse. We were full of stories of travels in hot cars on plastic seats in the sixties. It didn’t help.
Luckily we got back to find the diminutive freezer full of frozen bottles of water. This is the sort of camping I love.