29.12.2010 - 30.12.2010 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!
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!!
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!!