Red Wine, Baguettes & Smelly Cheese travel blog

The town of Foix

Chateau at Foix

Wildlife on the hike around Foix

Hiking around Foix

Laundry at Campgrounds can be fun.........

If you can work out the translation that is.

Don & Robyn from New Zealand on a mammoth bike tour

Bike touring - minimalist style

It's all downhill from here

Tunnles on the rail trail - cool!

Castle at Montsegur - last stronghold of the Cathars


Getting online can be challenging

We are in a liberated country

Priceless - a nap on the side of the road

Puivert Castle

Hiking around Puivert

Urinal long-drop from the 1920s on a bridge in Puivert

Urinal construction drawings


We continue to hike and bike our hearts out in the foothills of the Pyrenees! We were based close to the town of Foix (in the Ariege region of Languedoc) for the last few days and then ended the week in the tiny village of Puivert (in the Aude region). This is where the Cathars were finally wiped out at the castle of Montsegur in the 13th Century.

The feeling here is much different from the Dordogne; we are clearly in a mountain area. Liz has done some fantastic hikes, sometimes using public transport to get to the start and Ian has completed some mammoth (and very hilly) bike rides on one of the now well-worn-in fold-up bikes.

We are truly into the rhythm of life in the camper van. The more time we spend in it the more we love it. For anyone new to our camper van blogs and want to know more about the camper van, here is a link to a short video we made a couple of years ago called “Home is where you park it – life in the camper van”: Home is where you park it

It was great to meet 2 wonderful folks from New Zealand in our campground at Foix this week. Don and Robyn are cycling back to New Zealand (see photos). We had lots of laughs on a very rainy evening in our van drinking tea and eating English biscuits. Since everyone was so welcoming and generous on my solo ride across Australia three years ago, it is a pleasure to be able to return the favour…………….

Notable events this week:

• When the cleanup crew (Ian) gets a newly laundered drying cloth it is almost as appreciated as newly laundered underwear.

• France is a truly liberated country (see photos).

• France – the only place I have been in the world where the rail trails have hills. Not gradual slopes……………HILLS. But they do have cool tunnels………… (see photos).

• When you turn the corner and head up a hill on your bike and 2 locals start laughing you had better take note. Within 3 minutes you are going to be standing on the pedals and gasping for air. The down hills are a blast though………………………

• Grocery supplies and food are very inexpensive here. Not like snacks or eating out, where you need to arrange a bank loan before ordering off the menu.

• The village of Puivert in the Aude region may be small but it is unique. It has a brewery on the edge of town run by an Englishman named Paul who serves fantastic beer and pork scratching as snacks (remember pork scratching in the pubs 30 years ago…?)

• After visiting the brewery (and of course trying one glass of each type of beer), the bike ride through the narrow village streets back to the campsite is much more entertaining…………..and faster.

• The good news is that some campsite internet is free. The bad news is that it often takes 15 minutes and 4 attempts to key in the internet password (see photos). Especially after visiting the brewery………….

• When you try to outrun a guy on a carbon racing bike wearing all the “right” gear up a hill on your fold up bike, you know it is not going to end well, but it is fun to try.

European trivia

Every week we will give you a trivia question, with the answer given the following week. Remember, no Googling!

Last week: Which famous English King occupied Beynac Castle in France in the 12th Century?

And the answer is: Richard the Lionheart!

This week: What does Languedoc mean?

Until next week,

Liz & Ian

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