Thursday, 3 May 2012

23rd Apr PORT LA NOUVELLES – CARCASSONNE

We were heading for a very pretty looking aire today at Thebes, adjacent to a canal with shops and lots of restaurants and bars – it was shut off!!! The aire was gone and the car parks said “no camping cars”; shame because it really did look nice. However on the way we did have one piece of good luck, we found a campervan accessory shop and bought a new cap for our water filler – Brett’s a ‘happy bunny’.

We ended up travelling to Carcassonne where the aire cost 10 (according to our book). We had some fun ‘Sat Nav’ moments, the best being Brett driving backwards for several 100 yards down a very narrow one way street (and of course we were going the wrong way), only one car had to back out of our way and he was quite cheerful about it. We drove around the one way system three times and still we couldn’t find the aire; we had stopped to have yet another look at the book, maps and Sat Nav when we noticed another English van parked near us, the lady was holding the aires book. I tapped on their window “are you looking for aire 123?” I asked, she said “yes” they’d been driving round in circles for hours and were giving up!!!! We gave it one more go, ignoring Sat Nav’s route but taking note of where she said the aire was located (Brett reckons she thinks we’re driving the Fiesta) and eventually we found it! And thank goodness we did as Carcassonne is an enchanting (if rather touristy) walled city; it looks like the setting for a Disney fairytale, it has 52 towers as the guide book says “with its witch’s hat turrets and walled city Carcassonne looks like some fairy-tale fortress from afar”. Within the city is a church with some rather nice glass 13th – 16th century.
Our walk, from the aire to town

Carcassonne's wall
Inside the walled city
We had planned to go back in the evening to have a meal; Cassoulet is this region’s speciality, one enterprising restaurant had a sample bowl out on the table, to show you what you were getting, an earthenware dish full of beans, Toulouse sausage, duck leg and pork – it looked very tasty. However at 8.00 it started raining heavily and hadn’t let up by 9.00 so we had to cobble together a pasta dish (boring) – pity we were looking forward to eating out and the castle is supposed to look lovely at night as it’s all lit up. We had hoped it would stop later, so that we could at least have a walk around, but it continued raining on and off all night.

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