Monday, November 7, 2011

The Hunt for Cathar Castles

Well we finally left our haven in Monfort, after about 4 weeks. Thanks to the very generous hospitality of Alison and David, we were able spend most of October in divine weather among cute mediaeval villages with wonderful markets and great food.

We took a week out of that to whizz up to Germany to visit family (Barbara and Stuart) whilst we were still within cooee. Had a lovely stay and managed to stop overnight in Beaune on way home. Of course for us this is a bit like Mecca, only wine is compulsory rather than outlawed. A very lovely bottle of Beaune '92 was consumed and as predicted, it was simply divine, just as it should be. Oh, and the meal was really good too. Obviously we didn't whizz in the truck, one doesn't whizz anywhere in a large yellow truck, rather it's more of a rumbly, jolty, noisy, amble. A hired car did the job for us.

We are now in a very quaint mediaeval spa village Alet-les-Bains south of Carcasonne, with its own ruin (and I don't meant the truck). Once again, we've found a lovely campsite, wedged between the Aude River and the city Ramparts. This area just oozes history, so it's easy to get immersed in it. The castles are dotted all over, most of them have been Cathar havens of protection, and annihilated by the nasty Catholics from the northern France (with the Pope's blessing) about 900 years ago.

This village boasts some miracle water, which I'm going to locate tomorrow. I'm not sure whether drink it or wash in it - maybe both. It might help my hideous head cold if nothing else. As the weather has deteriorated, we have hired a car for the week, so we can zip around dry and warm. The flooding has not affected us, just some rain. We are going to stay here until after Lawrence's birthday on the 13th and then head to Spain and find the sun again.

Carcasonne 'La Cite'
We've taken to playing Backgammon in the evenings in the Mog. Having taught Lawrence how to play, I'm being humiliated by his constant besting of me. I have to admit he's a terrible player, who makes moves that make me cringe and he can't count. "No darling, you've thrown a 6 and a 2, and you moved 7 spaces - try again." It must all be bluff as he beats me 3 times out of 4. How can that be fair??? It's clearly a game of luck rather skill, contrary to popular opinion. Tips anyone???


  1. Try plying him with excess quantities of gin - it worked in Manchester!

  2. He's cheating while you're filling your glass.


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