Saturday, May 12, 2012


Friday, May 11, 2012

We woke to a day full of sunshine; enjoyed our breakfast in the Hotel Bar as we discovered the original Picasso…it is a sketch that is in the same frame as the photo of the Hotel Owner and Picasso when he was visiting here.  I’ve put a copy in today’s slideshow (my black spot on the lens adds a beauty spot in an interesting place).  We also confirmed that the hotel has 2000 paintings on their walls, including the guest rooms, the restaurant and the bar plus the hallways and lobby.

On the road by 9 am, we headed into the Cathar Country.  We select two of their ruins that were recommended by Rick Steves as being the better of many and made our way to the first one with some help from Fifi.  My back was feeling better but still extremely tender.  

Arrived at Queribus, our first adventure; I decided to hike as far as I could and then stop on the trail and read a book until they returned.  Everyone was great and I actually made it to the top with everyone else; an hour’s hike...about two miles…gradually climbing uphill all the way.  When we arrived at the top we stopped to talk to two German hikers and it turned out that one them was born in the same town as Terry’s grandfather.   A long conversation ensured as they compared notes about the town in Germany.  We explored the ruins; quite extensive compared to the ones that we visited north of Carcassonne in 2010….and Terry and Linda finally followed us until we’d looked at every corner.  Then another hike down the hill to the car; a bit faster than the trip up…my back was feeling fine.

We then went across the valley to the next little mountain where we found our second Cathar ruin called Peyrepertuse.  By the way…we had views of the snow capped Pyrenees Mountains that divide France and Spain in this area.  

The boys both decided to take a breather and let Linda and I climb this one by ourselves.  It was about a fifteen minute hike each way…but we didn’t do the second half which would probably have doubled the time (or more) each way.  Again, some beautiful ruins.  

When we returned…Jim had been napping and Terry was writing in his journal.  Linda and I are both journaling on computers…Terry is doing his all by hand in a small notebook and will type it when he returns home.  The place was so lovely we decided to stay and have our lunch that we’d purchased in the store yesterday.

We were now traveling in Languedoc Country…and by 5 pm we were in Carcassonne.  Our home tonight is Notre Dame de l’Abbaye, a Monastery that is now also a guest house, and is located just across the street from the walled ancient city of Carcassonne.
It’s a bit primitive and definitely not up to the standards we’ve had; but the location is fabulous and it’s very reasonable.  The rooms are very sparse and the bathrooms are minuscule…much like you’d find on a boat….but private.   One big negative is the wifi….it is free but we found out early in the evening that it was not working well.  So I took a night off and am writing and posting this on Saturday afternoon.

We walked through the citi medieval first and then returned to the hotel for an hour before returning at 7 pm for dinner.  We took Rick’s recommendation and enjoyed a delicious meal at Adelaide’s Restaurant in Place St. Jean.  Linda, Jim and I all partook of the regional specialty known as Cassoulet.  First was onion soup….made in the French way…ah yes…French onion soup…and then the Cassoulet; a bean, duck, pork and sausage stew.   Dessert was crème brulee.  

After dinner we walked to the Pont Vieux for photo shots of the walled city with the lights on…a magnificent sight.  Home to tuck in with no computer time taken…to bed two hours earlier than usual for me; I needed it after all than walking today.

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