9-23-08 – Sarlat, By Jodi
Ginette accommodated us by having breakfast ready early so we could leave by 8:30. She was such a sweet lady, constantly bringing us things and moving nice lawn furniture in front of our room to sit. She always insisted on packaging up leftover baguettes or bread at breakfast for us to take for ‘picnic’ as she would say. After about every sentence, she would say, VOILA! , so that is why I said that in the prior post. We really liked her a lot and she really knows how to pamper her quests and run a great B&B.
So, on the road, about an equal mix of small country roads and highways, as we make our way to Oradour-sur-Glane. We drive to the new town of Oradour, buy a sandwich and eat outside the entrance in a park area before touring WW2 martyred town of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Oradour-sur-Glane was a small town of about 600 people, who were murdered by the Hitler’s German SS Waffen troops on June 10, 1944, just 4 days after D-Day. They wanted to set an example to other towns that resistance the Germans is futile and not to side with the Americans. The Nazi’s looted every house and business, killed every man, woman, and child in cold blood, before torching the whole town. The French Government has left the town exactly as it was from that day as a remembrance and memorial. One word etched in stone as we entered the town, “Remember.”
We strolled the burned out streets and buildings, all labeled with plaques of what business it was and who owned it. We saw a bakery, butcherie, dentist office, seamstress, hair salon, with all with supplies and tools the Germans they didn’t want. Just about every home had a burned up sewing machine. Many cars were left in front of homes and in car garage repair shops, all burned and rusted.
We turned one corner and saw the church, we both knew that the women and children were rounded up and killed there, it was hard to enter. And there was no way we could bring ourselves to take photos inside the burned out church, it was too sad. About the same time we entered the church, a dozen or so French soldiers were also touring the grounds, they were even sniffling as they walked the church.
Around the corner, was the street that led to the cemetery and memorials. Again, we couldn’t bring ourselves take photos as we saw the face photos of whole families who had been killed. At the back of the cemetery was an official memorial listing the names and ages of everyone in town, ranging from 12 days to 80 years old, it was a very sad and heart wrenching sight. As we exited the cemetery, Terry and I both could not comprehend how 200 Nazi’s could be in the frame of mind to kill women, men, babies and older people, they had to be psychopaths. It was mind boggling at the thought.
We left Oradour, in a somber mood, reflecting on the surviving family members from other towns, who still go back to Oradour to tend to the memorials by placing flowers and notes. It must still be so hard for them even after all this time. See additional photos HERE.
PLEASE ALWAYS REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET
Why must history keep repeating itself?
Well we are back on the A-20 highway for the final 2-hour drive to Sarlat. We arrived at our B&B at 4:30 and was met at the door by sweet Alain, who kept apologizing because she didn’t speak English. We laughed and said we were sorry we didn’t speak much French either, but as always, no problem, we managed.
We unloaded our bags, and drove the couple kilometers to town and parked in a steep hilly neighborhood. The whole town of Sarlat is hilly, with narrow medieval cobbled, streets. Every turn had an interesting buildings, roof lines, squares, alleys and cats who had ½ size curly tails , think pug. They must have all been related in some way to carry on that weird genetic trait, just like the bunch of 3-legged cats we saw in Rome. We walked the town walk, seeing every little street and cranny so Terry could snap photos of it all.
It was now dinnertime, so we decided to try a restaurant recommend from Rick Steves book. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was great. Terry had a potato and cheese fondue plate, surrounded by all kinds of freshly sliced ham type meats. I had a small salad and a tartiflette, which was like a ham and cheese au gratin potato casserole. We stuffed ourselves, it was so good! We have finally found, after getting used to the time change, we sleep better if we have a decent meal in our stomachs before bed. No more waking up at 2am starving-LOL!
Back to the B&B, and we are met at the door by friendly, Francoise, Alain’s husband, who does speak a little English. He wanted to know all about us, where we had been, where we were going, and we were tired and wanted to go to bed. We politely excused ourselves after an hour as the conversation winded down, went upstairs and flopped in bed.
Todays was interesting because we went from Renaissance chateaus, to WW2, and then back to Medieval times.