A Travellerspoint blog

France Is Very Challenging!!

rain 9 °C

Well despite the language barrier when I arrived in Portugal, I managed to get by quite easily (especially with the help of friends!) but the people there are also just so much more helpful and kind.

I have had an endless stream of frustrations in France....unable to draw cash, unable to recharge my mobile, and no-one seems to be able to help. Very frustrating and making me think I may have to cut short my stay here....can't be totally without cash??

James and Sophie are going in to Carcassonne to take Joyce and Rod to the airport and I decide it might be best for me to get to a bigger city and try sort my nonsense out...otherwise I am on the first flight back to Lisboa!

We stay the night at their apartment which is most comfortable. Next morning delicious cafe au lait and croissants d'amande.....yummy....a much enjoyed treat!!

I ask James if there is just one place to see in Carcassonne before I leave this amazing area, what would it be. He takes me off for a tour of Le Cité. What a place...here is some history...

Carcassonne is the only town in Europe that has a fortified city where the walls are still intact. Amazingly there were plans to destroy this old Cité, but a man with some common sense and foresight saved it from destruction, so thanks to Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille, one can walk the ancient streets. First signs of settlement in this region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac – a Celtic place-name that has been retained at other sites in the south – became an important trading place in the 6th century BC. It is now a World Heritage Site.

Well the Mcdonalds have all headed back to St Ferriol. I am staying overnight in the Notre Dame de L'Abbye....an old church now converted into an economy hotel!! Much like a backpackers...clean and neat....and cheap!! I have a view into the main courtyard and church tower. Mmmmm... often wonder why I land up in some places...intriguing!
Carcassonne view from my room

Carcassonne view from my room

Carcassonne my dinner

Carcassonne my dinner

I am still trying to sort out all my nonsense...means a walk down to the town square and it's blustery out there, but of course I make the best of it. Visit a delightful little delicatessan with the most yummy cheeses, meats, chocolates and a whole lot more. I am like a child in a sweet shop!!
Carcassonne French service is really slow!!

Carcassonne French service is really slow!!

The next morning I take a walk around the area and find a very interesting mural of the history of the siege of Carcassonne. Lo and behold there is reference to a man with the same name as my mother save for 2 last letters...Philippe Hardi!!! Co-incidence??!! There are too many of those over the years for me to accept it as such.....call me crazy...its fine!!
Carcassonne family

Carcassonne family

Posted by Gypsy Lee 11:50 Archived in France Comments (0)

Thank you!!!

Thanks to all of my loved ones (that's family, old friends, new ones and ....everyone really!!) for subscribing to my blog!! It is encouraging to know that the time and love spent on sharing my journey is enjoyed by others. BIG please...if you see grammar or spelling errors, pse let me know....those who know me will understand what a stickler I am for "proper" English :)

My offspring have not subscribed yet.....should that bother me???!!!

Posted by Gypsy Lee 05:18 Comments (0)

Walking in the Woods of St Ferriol ~ 26 Dec 2010

overcast 3 °C

A much anticipated afternoon off and some time to explore St Ferriol. Have passed the cemetry each day taking Joy & Esther for their walk but cannot go in with them, so I head off there first.

The snow is still there...isn't that awesome!! Little puddles of water in the road up the hill have frozen over....nature making the most beautiful artwork with ice.

The scenery is quite breathtaking....bluest of blue skies, autumn hues, patchwork fields...I am loving it!

And of course, gotta take some pics of my favourite subject....windows!!! Here are some from St Ferriol and also Couiza, a nearby village.

So much to see and so many places to go!!

Posted by Gypsy Lee 13:20 Archived in France Comments (0)

Dreams DO Come True! My White Christmas ~ 25 Dec 2010


It's Christmas eve and Sophie and I are clearing some rubble out of the small room where the old Citroen will live. It suddenly dawns on me that there are some "things" fluttering around in the air!!! Silly African!! It's snowflakes!! As I ask Sophie what this stuff is, a beautiful, perfect 6-pointed-star flake lands on my jacket....I am thrilled...and back to child-like wonder yet again! It's 3 in the afternoon and I just know we are in for a white Christmas....I asked for one after all!

My host family are off to dinner and I am alone at home...perfect to give me a chance to just reflect on my year, my blessings and my loved ones. Lots of mixed emotions, but much joy and so grateful for the life I am living and the gems that so many people have deposited into it. And the snow just keeps on falling ever so gently....

I wake up to THE most perfect, stunning view....snow - not quite covering the landscape in a blanket, but there it is...filling the grooves in the roof, covering almost everything....for me it's just perfect.

Great excitement here in St Ferriol, preparing for Christmas. The menu has been planned, the shopping done...at the fresh market in Esperaza.
We are having goose....a 1st for me...with roast potatoes and red cabbage to accompany. I will be making 2 stuffings to go with that and perfectly finished off with Joycie's delicious apple pie and creme fraiche. Scrummy!!!

Off to start cooking....we have a lovely meal with much fun opening presents....Guilhem, the precious 2 yr old makes Christmas gifts just so much more worthwhile....and the day spent lazily enjoying wine, food and good company.


Sophie gets a really cool gift... calendar of the European Rugby players...now THAT is scrummy!! Here's what I want for next Christmas if anyone needs some ideas ;D

Thank you to the McDonald family....it was most memorable!

Posted by Gypsy Lee 12:29 Archived in France Comments (0)

Life in St Ferriol ~ Dec 2010

semi-overcast 15 °C

It's truly beautiful here in SW France. James and Sophie have a lovely chateau which they acquired about 14 years ago. Very brave, as it needed a lot of TLC. But they have done some really good work on restoring a "grande dame". My ever so lovely room is in the Gite...French for a self-catering holiday apartment...lush double bed and super snug down duvet...heavenly!!

St Ferriol view from my room

St Ferriol view from my room


The foothills of the Midi Pyrenees are just over there...and once again I have to pinch myself!! It really is true....and I am STILL having such an awesome journey.1St_Ferriol..othills.jpgSt_Ferriol_2.jpgSt_Ferriol_1.jpgSt_Ferriol..yrenees.jpg

Days are mostly taken up with cooking, cleaning and preparing for Christmas. I also take the doggies for a walk, twice a day. The delightful Joy & Esther, sweet standard Poodles...Raine you would love them!!

Posted by Gypsy Lee 12:34 Archived in France Comments (0)

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