Contents for Basque Country Travels
This one week trip to the Basque Country started on Wednesday. We, that is my grandparents, my mother and I, took off with a car full of essentials near half seven, half an hour later than planned. The weather was fine as we went south, passing through Clermont-Ferrand. We had many stops, one at a beautiful pine forest surrounding the road. I slept at least two thirds of the way however, and couldn't tell you where said forest was. Even though I slept, I still saw splendid scenery, and vast fields of grass. We stopped at Montignac, underneath Brive-la-Gaillarde. Montignac is the small town nearest the Lascaux cave, which was visited the day after, just before hitting the road again. The Lascaux cave is a cave in which nearly 2000 prehistoric drawings can be found, many of which have faded or totally disappeared. It was discovered in 1940 by four teenagers having fun in the woods with their dog, Robot. Robot fell into a hole, and when a boy went to retrieve him, he noticed the echos of a cave.
The teenagers left and came back with shovels, dug until they hit the cave, and discovered the thousands of paintings on the walls. The cave itself is not impressive, it is small and very ordinary. However, when Lascaux opened in 1948, some 1200 visitors a day came to see the Paleolithic drawings. Their carbon dioxide deteriorated the art, and in 1963, the cave closed for preservation. Paintings were restored and Lascaux II, a replica of two of the rooms in the cave, opened in 1983, 200 metres away from the original. It was made using wires to mold the exact shape of the cave, with cement used as a wall. The same pigments were used to make the paintings, and details were made to the millimeter. We were not allowed to take pictures or film, for reasons of copyright, which I do not find right. The paintings are over 17000 years old, they have passed their copyright date to the artists. I understand that the person who recreated some of the paintings should get some percentage of the sales, but a copyright on something he doesn't even own, merely recreated, isn't that plagiarism? And if the copyright belongs to the teenagers who found the cave, shouldn't they just receive a percentage as well but the cave really belongs to the state?
I tried to search on the internet for photos of more than just the recreated drawings, but I can't find anything of the Chamber of Felines, and we are told that the two rooms remade contain about 90% of the drawings, but 90% isn't 100%. If anyone knows something about this copyright madness, please explain to me why we can't take pictures of what are essentially fake drawings, who run no risk of fading away. Here is the most important prehistoric finding, but it is also the most coveted, and therefore the most exclusive, unfortunately. I was not pleased with Lascaux II, and the price is far too expensive for what we saw. After the morning's disappointment, we went back on the road and arrived at the mobile home in Hendaye near 9:00. We had a tiring day and went to sleep almost immediately, planning to have a relaxed day afterwards to get over the 950+ kilometers we had driven.