Friday, June 8, 2018
Toulouse to Homps
After being awake for at least 2 and a half hours during the night, we slept until 8:30 am. We got showered, dressed and packed and headed out for breakfast to Café Cerise down the street. Eke had yoghurt with muesli and fruit which tasted very good. Brian had 2 croissants and 2 pieces of carrot cake. Brian’s food did not live up to the expectations created by the on line review. It was okay though and another experience in a very down to earth student-centered (from the fine arts school next door) small place.
We decided to go for another “walkabout” and wandered the streets. It was very relaxing, the weather was very pleasant and we enjoyed again the different buildings etc. We took a break and had something to drink at a patio in the shade watching the people go by. For the drive to Homps this afternoon we bought some bananas and croissants in case we got hungry!!!
Back at the hotel we waited for our driver and in the meantime Eke took some pictures of the colourful hotel lobby. Henri (our driver) appeared even a bit early and we got comfortable for the hour and a half drive to Homps. Up to the next phase of our holidays!
It was a relaxing drive through the beautiful countryside: the Black Mountains on the left and the Pyrenees in the distance on the right while driving through the Aude valley in between. Lots of vineyards on both sides of the road. Henri told us about the history of the area: the persecution of the Cathar Christians by the Roman Catholic Church and the king in the 1200’s. He told us about the wines that are produced in this area and recommended some – I forgot what they were called!
We arrived safely in Homps at the door of our B&B “La Maison des Palmiers” right on the canal. We were greeted by our host in perfect English with a very British accent. He and his wife are ex-pats from England who moved here 3 years ago. They operate a B&B 6 months of the year and the rest of the year is theirs to play with! The house is 450 years old and big! We have a very comfortable room with a view of the canal which has a lot of tourist traffic. We were offered a drink and sat in the garden with our host discussing the world ‘s problems such as Brexit and Trump! Especially the impact of Brexit on the regular people.
We decided to go for a walk and walked down the gravel road alongside the canal to the harbour where “our” boat will be tomorrow. Brian asked at the office which boat we will be on and we found it in the row of all “Le Boat” owned and rented boats moored at the dock. Afterwards we walked into town, got ourselves an ice cream. Sat by the river to eat it and walked further through the village which has only about 600 inhabitants. There are 7 restaurants that all make a living from the boating tourists that stay overnight. We saw the remnants of the Commandery which is the ruins of an old fort that housed the military at one time. Now there are some apartments in what is left of the building. The square tower still stands.
Back to our room where we did some communication with people and rested a bit. We walked over to the small pizza place next door and enjoyed a simple meal of a pizza with duck meat on it for Brian and Eke had a Minervoise salad with cheese, prosciutto, tomato, walnuts and a nice yoghurt dressing. It was a good ending to a relaxing day.