We spent the next day in search of our species' origins along the Valley of the Vézère, a tributary of the Dordogne. If these impressive sites are any indication, our homo sapiens ancestors beat out their Neanderthal rivals through superior interior decor. Their dwellings were chock-a-block with prehistoric cave paintings of exceptional quality--you've never seen livelier bison--though you'll have to take our word for it, as photography was not allowed inside.
Miles provided a lively soundtrack to our tour of the Font de Gaume cave complex -- his grunts, cries and yelps helping our fellow tourists to imagine what conversation was like 50,000 years ago.
We emerged from the darkness of prehistory into the haze of the Middle Ages. The village of St. Leon-sur-Vézère, like virtually every other village in the region, claimed to be a stop along the medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Someday we'll have to see exactly what was happening in Santiago de Compostela that made everyone wear out their medieval feet getting there.