Saturday 10th September 2011 Weather:-28degrees/Hot with cool breezes
We decided to forgo our back roads for the tollway in our travels from Sarlat-la-Caneda to Carcassonne today (290Km=3hours), we are getting a bit blasé and just wanted to get to our destination. One of the things that I have not mentioned before is all the elaborate planting of flowers and shrubs on many the roundabouts on this side of the world, I have tried many times to get a good snapshot of the roundabouts but none have turned out to our satisfaction—there is always a truck/car/signposts spoiling the vista but today one of my attempts was worthy of presentation.
Our Hotel (Ibis Centro) here in Carcassonne is in a good position it is just a 15 minute walk to the Medieval City and 2 minutes to Pont Vieux, a bridge dating back to the 14th century. The Canal du Midi is also only a 10 minute walk in the other direction.
Our first event once we settled into our hotel was to go and visit Medieval Carcassonne, a bit of this way--that way sashaying was done in the lower city and when we eventually arrived inside the ‘old town’ we realized that a metamorphosis had taken place:-the old medieval town had changed into a modern day market place with every second shop being a restaurant of the ‘set tourist menu’ type. The city is a lot larger than I thought it would be and if you sat back and got your imagination going you could picture how people lived here many years ago. We did not go into the Castle today as we want to leave that for tomorrow, we are also going out later tonight to take some pictures of the city lit up at night. I have to mention though that Herman is not very happy, his 3 ½ year old Sony DSLR camera is not behaving itself and we are thinking it is ready for the scrap heap so now he is resigned to sharing my camera---good thing I held out for my little Panasonic-Lumix.
It was still only about 3pm so of to the ‘Port du Canal du Midi’ we went and as there was a little barge just about ready to go 12km up the canal we decided to hop on. We have been fans of the Rick Stein TV series where he went on a barge for the length of the Canal du Midi so we certainly had a little taste of that today. We enjoyed ourselves and can say “yes we have done that too” but just like eating ‘Duck Confit’ (which I did last night) it all looks and tastes a lot better on TV. It was delightful though to hear the guide on the boat cross from French to English then Spanish and back again—telling jokes—she had more than half the boat in stiches, everybody has different talents, thank goodness.