Saturday, May 12, 2012
Breakfast was interesting this morning at the Monastery; self service and instead of coffee cups we had the traditional bowls; they were used both for our coffee/chocolate and cereal. Good food but definitely not the normal café style. But…we did really enjoy the American coffee…it’s much weaker than the European version and we also could have as much as we wanted! We also had to strip our beds and put the linens in a basket in the hall!
Soon we were off on the road toward Albi; the home of Henri Toulouse-Letrec. Located north of Carcassonne; it took us less than two hours to drive here. We found our hotel…this is market day and the streets are packed. The boys dropped us off at the hotel so we could ask about parking while they circled the streets. When the wonderful hotel owner, Patrick, asked us where our car was parked…we said “it is driving around waiting for us to get information on where to park”….he looked at us with a questioning look and so we repeated our statement. He shrugged his shoulders as only the French can do and then we added … our husbands are driving the car! Voila….. we don’t have a car that automatically drives itself! He though it was just the two of us and we had a very strange automobile that could drive itself! Ah…he laughed and said, “you have two rooms!” A little bit of English is as dangerous as a little bit of French! Soon he was finding us a spot across from the hotel with his friend and then gave us our rooms early. We need to move the car to the parking lot later today after the Market is gone! Since its Saturday/Sunday we won’t have to pay for parking!
Off we went towards the Cathedral and the Toulouse-Letrec Musee. We rounded a corner and a monster of a building loamed over us! We’d read in the tour book that this church was built at the end of the Cathar Wars by the Catholic Church to prove that they were so strong that the Cathar’s didn’t stand a chance of winning any future battles. I’ve never seen such a huge brick church…yes…most of the buildings in Albi are made of brick. The Cathedral was originally built in the 13th century as part of a fort as well as a church.
You’ll find a strange photo in the slideshow today…it’s a manhole cover in the city of Albi and four sets of feet touching the circle….as Terry said, “it was a feat to take this photo”! Seriously, we took it for my twin sister as her favorite thing on our trip to Europe in 2009 was to find a manhole cover with the city name and take a photo with our feet…so this is for you Mary!
Our main site to see in this town is the Toulouse-Letrec Musee. Albi was his hometown and there are over 1,000 of his paintings exhibited in this Musee. It was closed from noon to 2 pm so we found a café with a view of the Cathedral and Musee and enjoyed a two hour lunch under the shade of the awning. The boys had Croque Madam and I had a Croque Monsieur…mine didn’t have the egg on top! The sky has been overcast all day and although it was humid; it was cooler than yesterday when the temperatures hovered above 85 degrees.
At 2:00 pm we headed for the Musee and enjoyed … without being able to take photos….nearly two hours in the Musee and then back to the Cathedral to look for the 2 Euro coins that are imprinted with the varies sites throughout France; Terry is collecting them. We could not find the machine and when Jim asked the clerk in the gift shop in the Cathedral where the machine was located he said, “I am the machine….the real machine makes too much noise”…and so we found his Albi Cathedrale coin.
Heading back towards the hotel we got royally lost and had to stop several times to ask for directions but we finally found the hotel. The boys moved the car into a parking lot and then we had two hours of down time. The wifi here is fantastic and I did yesterday’s blog. Then it was off to dinner. The weather is very threatening so we chose a place around the corner that the hotel recommended by the name of Le Nossy Bee. We had to wait until 7:30 but it was worth the wait…actually they let us come in early and have a drink while we waited. We each ordered a different plat…usually at least two of us are the same…and everyone enjoyed their meal; and we were not too full since we’d passed on the Starter and the Dessert!
Walked back to the old cite center since there was no rain and thought we’d see lights on the Cathedral…it was nearly 9 pm but as we head north it is staying light later and later so we only got the setting sun rays on the towers. Everything was closed so no ice cream shops for dessert.
Tomorrow we head for Sarlat where we’ll stay for two nights. Au Revoir….