Thursday, 3 May 2012

24th Apr CARCASSONNE – ALBI

We went back to the church to take some photos of the glass (as I didn’t have my camera with me yesterday) and there were four men, in there, singing accapella (no idea how to spell it, but I mean without instrumental accompaniment); they were really good, made me go all goose pimply.

We paid our ticket for the aire, it was only 5 and left to go to the aire at Albi (70 miles away) that the lady yesterday (the one who was looking for aire 123) had recommended. The journey started off beautifully (would have been better if it wasn’t rainy and windy) the road ran alongside a canal through avenues of pollarded trees (I think they might have been Limes, not the citrus type); in the verges wild iris were growing (they were dwarf plants only 9” – 12” high but the flower was normal size) fabulous dark purples, and cowslips, pale lemony yellow.
Then we came to road-works with a set of temporary traffic light; the lights were blinking orange – Brett said “I don’t know what that means” after a few minutes of ‘blinking orange’ no traffic had come towards us so I said “I think it means you can go” as we passed the lights they changed to solid orange (there was no red or green), the road-works went on for about ¼ mile (with nowhere to go if anything came towards you) when we came to the end there was a queue of traffic waiting to move – their light was ‘blinking orange’!!!! We still don’t know what it meant!

Then we came to a barrier across the road with a “diversion” sign pointing to a very narrow road to our right; we followed the signs. The diversion went on for miles through this really gloomy valley, towering on either side of the road were tall rock faces and all the while it was pouring with rain and the wind was buffeting the van.
Finally we got back to the main route, from there it was plain sailing, we passed through fields full of free ranging ducks (probably for the fois gras, comfit or cassoulet), to the aire; but the aire was full!!! There were only supposed to be nine spaces for vans and there were already ten vans parked, plus others in the car parks next door; we squeezed in next to the end van, obstructing a footpath and tight to a wheelie bin, and had lunch whilst we waited for someone to move – fortunately the first van to move was the van we were next to – so we managed to bag the spot, before any of the other hovering vans were able to! As soon as we moved another van had taken our unofficial spot.

We stayed in the van, waiting for the rain to ease up, so that we could go and explore Albi; by 4.00 p.m. they sky was turning blue and the sun was shine. Albi has a magnificent Cathedral, it’s totally built from red brick apart from a, very ornate, Gothic stone entrance.
Albi Cathedral
The whole of Albi is built in red brick – but we didn’t find out its story as we haven’t had access to the internet for several days.

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