Carcassonne. 22nd May. 2014

Still the great debate here is ‘should we stay in France or head South’?

Every weather forecast we’ve looked at has given different predictions but one thing is clear, the next 10 days will bring some pretty unpleasant weather, it’s just a case of where is the best place to avoid it.

Our original plan was to make our way up the centre of France then cut West and follow that coast over next month to Brittany ready for the return journey. But the weather here is almost certainly cold and wet.

Option B is to follow the South a Coast of France across to Nice in the hope that they miss most of the weather but were not certain of they will stay warm and it adds considerably to the travel times back to Roscoff.

Option C is to drive back into Spain and keep going South till we find good weather. We’ll probably have to go as far as Valencia.

We’ve discussed every option till were sick of it, but I must admit our communication skills are some what strained.

Last night I thought we’d agreed to go out exploring the country side on our bikes, so dressed accordingly (apart from putting my trousers on back to front which is becoming a habit).

When Jaki appeared she was dressed some what differently. She thought (wrongly I might add) that we had agreed to walk up to Carcassonne Cite and explore.

So as is always the case I changed my clothes.

We agreed (as a compromise?) to cycle to the Cite gates, which we did. Jaki seemed surprised when we encountered a hill.

“We have to go up a hill”. She said with the insight of Mystic Meg.

Given the Cite and the Fort are built on the top of a hill for strategic reasons, I would have thought it was inevitable that we would have to climb up to get there?

Once there we chained our bikes to a lamp post (as this tourist attraction that gets millions of visitors per year hasn’t thought of installing a bike rack) and stared at the Cite Walls.

“What is it we do here my Pet”? I asked, fearing we were in for another hike around a pile of old stone, some trinket shops and a selection of over priced Cafe’s.

“This is the Old Cite, we can have a walk round”. She said confidently.

“Will we have to pay to get in”? I questioned fearing an exorbitant entry charge that I would regret paying.

I was assured there would be no additional cost and as the sun came out I mellowed, unchained myself from the bike lock like a repentant ‘Swampy’.

We set off through the Cite gate and found ourselves in a cobbled street full of shops selling Carcassonne souvenirs, trinkets and other assorted tat. They did have a collection of knives and swords of all shapes and sizes for sale including some that looked suspiciously like flick knives. These weapons would be lethal in the hands of a local thug or mugger and the fact it had ‘A Gift from Carcassonne’ on the handle would do nothing to stem the bleeding.

Before long Jaki had disappeared into a shop and I was left outside wondering if I’d been had.

We reached the top of the road where it widened into a small square with a selection of Cafés and this is where things took a turn for the worst.

Jaki got in a queue.

“What are you doing”? I asked with a certain anguish. “your in a Queue”.

Apparently, we just ‘Had’ to see the Old Fort after we’d come all this way.

So we paid €7 each and went in.

From inside it looked like every other ruined/ restored Fort I’ve ever been in. In fact it looked like inside of every National Monument from here to Timbuktu and when Jaki set off to climb the spiral staircase of yet another Tower, my resolve failed and I told her I wasn’t doing it anymore and threw myself on the ground where I had a temper tantrum.

When we met up later we agreed I would bugger off for a cycle ride leaving Jaki free to wander unhindered.

Outside, I was just unlocking my bike when a very Officious young lady in a Hi-Viz jacket approached me and told me (in French) to move the bikes across the road to the car park.

I explained in English that my Femme was still wasting her time wandering around the Castle in a show of defiance and would, on exiting expect to see here bike padlocked to this very Lamp post. Any deviation from this plan might suggest the bike had been stolen and cause unnecessary angst.

She shrugged her shoulders and walked off.

So I left Jaki’s bike locked to some unknown street furniture and hoped she’d find it.

Now at least the sun was out!

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