Thursday, 26 March 2015

We cross into France and make a sobering visit to Oradour Sur Glane

The past few days have seen us travelling out of Spain and back into
Abandoned car in the ruins of Oradour Sur Glane 
France. Mostly grey and drizzly weather has meant quite dull journeys and overnight stops although we have been delighted by apparently insignificant sights such as grass verges. Spain doesn't have much in the way of lush grass!

We spent one night in Banyoles at an almost deserted campsite, then crossed the border and had two nights at the pricey Camping Le Rupe outside Toulouse. Not only did they charge nearly €25 a night even though most of the facilities were closed, they also wanted €13 for three days wifi. Hence no wifi! The redeeming feature was a spacious heated sanitary block with indoor washing up sinks in a circle around a raised garden complete with trees - IN the block! One afternoon we cycled along tow paths into Toulouse and were amazed by the shanty housing along the canal banks. There are some boat berths, which is to be expected, but also dozens of tents and shacks made of salvaged wood. Another surprise was a small allotment style garden on the canal bank right in the city centre and three men failing to catch escaped chickens!

Now we are settled for a few night at Camping d'Uzurat, just outside
Stream at
Camping d'Uzurat 
Limoges and a couple of minutes walk from a pretty lake fed by the pictured babbling brook. Wifi is back to the prices we got used to in Spain - a euro a day - so I get to write a blog post.

Dave particularly wanted to stop in this area when he discovered the terrible story of the Martyred Village of Oradour Sur Glane. Destroyed in one day - the 10th June, 1944 - by Nazi soldiers, almost all the village's inhabitants were gathered together and killed, and their homes torched. As there was no one left to rebuild after the war, the village remained in ruins and is now preserved as a memorial. Signs have been put up stating the name and business of some buildings, such as the cafes, grocers and garage. Otherwise all that can be seen is ruined walls, rusted cars, tools and sewing machines, and the abandoned tram lines in the road. Walking around was an eerie experience, especially in the bleak weather. Slightly away from the streets is a cemetery which is still in use, and is the location of an obelisk commemorating the 642 people who were murdered. 192 were children. Many of the tombs display 1940s cameo photographs and it was heartbreaking to see three and four generations of families wiped out on a single day.

Ruins of village street in Oradour Sur Glane 

Oradour's visitor centre mirrors the stone and rust
colours of the Martyred Village 

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