October 9th, 2019

9 October 

Cooked chicken in a red wine sauce, with fresh green beans and mash - nearly real food!

Peaceful overnight, a few distant trains and lots of owls calling? 

The workmen started cutting down huge trees on the opposite side of the canal at 8am. We don’t really know why they’re cutting down so many living trees - seem to be doing it along the canal. 

First and foremost, I’d like to say thank you to Tintin for driving today - not sure I would have been so calm!

At his first stint of two hours driving to Carcassonne, he met this Dutch registered moho - and had to reverse for quite a long way until there was enough space to pass! And it was actually two lane traffic!

We stopped off near Coursan in order to service Dave for free as it was sort of on the way - and as you now know - these places are few and far between!

Found a park4night parking place just outside Carcassonne. Had another avocado salad for lunch. Tintin got the bikes out, but we really should have walked, as it was only about a mile away. 

Shock horror - we’re in long trousers, had our fleeces and coats on! It was drizzling a bit earlier on. 

Carcassonne is still in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in the département Aude - population 46,000. 

History bit if you want to skip it - taken from Baedeker guide book:

In the year 1 BC, the Romans fortified the market of Carcasso on the way to the Atlantic. In the 6th century it fell into possession of the Visigoths, then the Arabs (725) and the Franks (759). In 1209, the town, a Cathar stronghold was conquered by Simon de Montfort, he went on to use it as his base for a brutal war on the Cathars. In 1229 the town and county fell to the French Crown. The fortifications were extended by the Counts of Bèziers (1130), Saint Louis (from 1240) and Philip the Bold (around 1280) and were at last considered unassailable. From 1240, the Ville Basse was developed along the lines of southern French bastides, in which the citizens expelled from the fortress could settle. The 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees rendered the fortress redundant. It fell into disrepair. Restoration work began in 1843 under Viollet-le-Duc and was completed in 1910. Some people think it looks like a Disney film set. The Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie (1991) was filmed here. 

The city has 52 towers and ramparts totaling 3km in length with a double curtain wall. 

It’s almost as if the place is a victim of its own success, the guidebook even says the charm of the romantic alleyways is, sad to say, considerably diminished by the mass of souvenir kitsch on offer. 

Again, from our point of view, it’s sad to see multiple coach loads of visitors descending and taking over. 

Didn’t fancy a visit to the Château and a two hour walk around the ramparts for €9 each/€12 with audio tour - so just wandered around. You’d never go hungry or thirsty! Don’t think we’ve seen so many places to buy ice-cream either - but it felt too chilly to bother! On a warm sunny day, sure the place has a lovely atmosphere to linger over lunch or dinner - today not so much!

Had a look in the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. Again, absolutely huge. We liked the luxury comfy seats at the front! So much stained glass in there. 

Lots of boutique shops - some with up market pick and mix.  Can’t quite understand why people buy from these type of shops. All the biscuits, sweets, nougat etc are open to the elements - that can’t be very hygienic!

Decided that I should buy a foam sword so that I could swat Tintin with it at night over the bed divide if he snores. Alternatively, could use the ball and chain! No, we didn’t buy either!

Rode back to Dave - yes another cup of tea/coffee and biscuits! We didn’t want to stay  at the parking place, we were the only ones in the carpark, and doughnuts were etched into the gravel, with reviews talking about youths gathering at night...

After some very narrow roads leaving the parking place, skillfully driven by Tintin (whilst I held onto the edge of the seat!) Tintin drove for about 20 minutes to a place called Trèbes. Twice he had to go over a narrow bridge over the river Aude. We missed the turning for the parking place first time, next time we realized there were bollards over where we should be driving. 

Then tried the next suitable place in Capendu, about another 15 minutes away - after a bumpy rubbish road to get there, yes we could park, but spaces were really for cars only. Plan C!

We’re now near Douzens, another 10 minutes driving - an actual motorhome parking space (one of two) overlooking a rugby pitch. Should be peaceful tonight. 

We briefly thought we could meet up with Andy and Maggie Way, as they’re on their canal boat coming towards Carcassonne - but it’s not meant to be - they won’t be near here for a few days, and now we’re thinking of driving into Spain for warmer weather. Will see you in Guernsey!

Tintin also stopped off to fill up with diesel at a SuperU because the price was good. He was waiting patiently to fill up and a woman pulled up alongside to use the pumps on the right hand side. She pulled ahead first, so we couldn’t use the pumps on the left hand side, but now she couldn’t open her door. Tintin refused to move, it was our turn! Think she was quite cross from the amount of babble coming from her - Tintin just kept calm and ignored her - she had to drive through and around again to wait her turn! Serves her right - all these pushy people - what’s wrong with the terribly British way of waiting your turn!

As we were driving past mile after mile of vineyards again today - it just makes you wonder if there is still profit to be made. I guess unless you’re a really well known Château or Domaine, you end up selling to a co-operative. We’ve seen quite a lot of grapes abandoned on the vine, all shriveled up. There are so many questions, and no one to answer them!

More photos from today - 

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About Us

Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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