Welcome to France. Wednesday 21st May. 2014.

We woke to the sound of heavy rain on the roof and opening the curtains we could see the flashes of lightning in the black clouds that hung low in the sky. The crash of Thunder followed quickly so we knew the storm was overhead. The wind was particularly strong, it shook the van and made it lurch like a ship at sea.

We had enough provisions to make Tea but we were just about out of food.

Despite advertising free Wifi on the Aire, there was none so we were unable to search for a new site or to plan our route. We’ve been so involved with Spain we haven’t given a thought to what we wanted to do and see in a France, so wifi was essential.

We decided to drive back to the Sea Front Car Park (where we knew there was a market) and buy some food. There were some Cafe’s there that might have wifi so we could get breakfast whilst we planning the next part of the trip. We also needed an up to date weather forecast as we didn’t want to spend the next month in the cold and rain.

We retraced our route back to the Sea Front only to find the road to the car park closed because of the market and a diversion sent us down a narrow street. But cars had parked there so the van couldn’t get through. We reversed back and turned around.

We eventually found a car park on the Sea front but about 500 metres further up. So we parked, put on our coats and stepped out into the wind and rain now blasting in horizontally off the Med.

When we got to the market we realised there was a Tourist Information Centre which advertised free wifi. We went in and asked if we could use it?

At this point please read all dialogue with an ‘Allo allo’ accent.

It would help if you knew the ‘Does your Dog Bite’ scene from the Pink Panther Movie with Peter Sellers.

Me: “Do I need a pass word to access the free wifi”?

French bloke: “No, you ave to open the ‘FreeWifi’ then make an account wiv them and that’s Ok”.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find the Free Wifi option on the list of available wifi, so I went back and reported this to the guy.

Me: “I can’t seem to find the free wifi option”?

French Bloke: “No, it’s Broken”!

After I picked myself up I considered whether I knew any French swear words, I didn’t which is just as well.

“Ok” says I. ” Is there a restaurant anywhere that has free wifi and we could have breakfast whilst we used it”?

He beamed. He had just the place and produced a street map marking on it with a pen where we were and where the free wifi was. It wasn’t too far away from where we were parked so we could walk across.

“What’s the name of the Restaurant”? I asked.

He wrote down the name, it appeared he was sending us to a cycle shop.

“Will a cycle shop let us use their free wifi”? I asked.

French Bloke: “No, you will ave to pay Im 2 Euros for 15 minutes”.

So his plan was for us to stand in a cycle shop whilst planning the next month of our trip and pay 8 Euro per hour for the privilege. Tosser.

He went on to advised us we weren’t allowed to leave our Camper in the Sea Front Car Park, ‘it’s only for Cars’ and he gave us a map showing where we should park the Camper. Yep, back where we’d spent the last night!

So we decided to head for Carcassone. Some one had recommended a campsite (‘A Lombre Des Nicocotiers’ at Trebes) and we could stay there the night, use their wifi and if necessary, move on the next day.

So cold and extremely hungry we put the coordinates (the lady had written them down when she gave Jaki the recommendation ) in the Satnav and set off.

After an hour we saw a sign for Carrefour and decided to make detour to stock up. However, like most things it was too good to be true and the left turn led us into a warren of narrower and narrower streets where we again found it impossible to get through so had to reverse back out and stick to the wider roads.

In doing so we found an ALDI, parked up and went shopping. Loaded with fresh produce we had our first French meal sat in ALDI car park. We never did find the Carrefour.

When the Satnav announced we had reached our destination it was I’m sure sheerest coincidence that there was a gypsy site on our left. We’d seen the prostitutes sitting in lay byes for several miles and Jaki had commented that they looked like Gypsy’s. Was this coincidence too?

We decided this wasn’t going to be our first choice of camp, not least because Jaki doesn’t have a head scarf, so we drove on. We knew there was an Aire in Carcassone so if the worst happened wed’d stay there.

We found the Aire but it was about 1.5 Kilometres from the town centre.

I put a search into the Satnav, ‘where am I now’ and it gave us some coordinates that didn’t match those in the Aires book. It looked like there were two Aires in Carcassone so we drove out (first hour is free) after making a nice cup of Tea, to find the second one.

However,the Satnav directions required us to drive down a one way street the wrong way, which we didn’t do but we did see a sign for another Camp site which we followed.

We discovered a great site, ‘Camping De la Cite’ on the side of a river, about 300 metres from the wall of the Castle.

We booked in and it was reasonably cheap given it’s location, had free wifi that works, a bar, restaurant and some of the biggest pitches we’ve come across on our travels. Set in amongst the trees and bushes it’s like camping in Blaise a Castle.

We took a walk along the river into town stopping to take a few pictures of the Castle before heading back for a BBQ of pork,chops, lamb chops, sausages and baby new potatoes (cooked on our new electric ring) before getting an early night.

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