Thursday 16th – Friday 17th, May
Today was an early start. Having stayed in a hotel in London overnight, I was up at 05:00. With no breakfast available in the hotel at this ungodly hour, I walked to St Pancras International railway station for a quick coffee before meeting and greeting the tourees between 05:55 and 06:55. All the tourees made the meet and greet on time. As I met each of them I handed over their Eurostar tickets and explained the security and border control procedures. Although we were booked on the 07:55 train, unfortunately it did not leave until 09:05.
We arrived in Paris 1h15m late and were expecting our transfer coach to be waiting outside at the side of Paris Gare du Nord. Unfortunately, for various reasons our coach was absent. After waiting, and a few telephone calls, it was all down to Tour Manager’s plan B. All 25 tourees were bundled into taxis and a mad dash across Paris ensued. We arrived at Paris Austerlitz with only time for a quick pit stop before joining our train with two minutes to spare. It was a good job the RailDiscoveries planners had factored in a three hour transfer time, otherwise we would have missed our connection.
A pleasant five hour train journey followed. We were met at our destination station of Souillac by our coach and transferred to our hotel. Dinner was at 20:30 followed by my welcome speech.
Friday morning was a free morning, this allowed a more leisurely start to the day, following the busy, long day on Thursday. Souillac has a small traditional market on a Friday morning.
At 12:00 we boarded our coach for the 60 minute ride to Chateau des Milandes:
Unfortunately, it was raining, as it had been in the morning, as it was, in fact, also forecast to do for the whole of this six day tour. The gargoyles were effective though:
The Chateau was the home to the Caumont family until the French Revolution. It became almost a ruin but was restored between 1900 and 1914. Later, it became the home of Josephine Baker, the dancer.
After spending about an hour walking around the Chateau with our individual audio guides we had time for a coffee/beer/lunch* [*delete where appropriate]. We were then treated to a half hour birds of prey demonstration. This included owls, falcons, [ferrets] and a bald eagle. [See the Video of the day at the bottom of the post.]
Our coach returned us to our hotel in Souillac for 16:00, giving the tourees a bit of R&R time before dinner at 19:00.
RailDiscoveries Tour Map:
Video of the day:
Selfie of the day:
- Welsh Highland Railway & Caernarfon
- Ffestiniog Railway & Portmeirion
- Passau and Home [via Köln]
- London to Munich [for Oktoberfest]