Friday, 25 September 2009

Tour de France: Carcassonne/Arles

We drove through to Carcassonne just in time for yet another three course dinner, including a delicious lasagne. In the morning I set to work on the translations for Germany, which left just enough time to grab a bite and meet the bus. In the old town I encountered a small green lizard in a narrow street, and a couple of comfy cats in courtyards. We went down into the main town and took a boat trip on the canal. Then I stayed in town to seek out an internet café in the form of an Irish pub. Mum came too, but the rest of the group were keen to get back and do their washing.

That night the hostel put on a dinner of local specialties for us - a salad with jezier, which is duck guts. The main course was cassoulet - duck with beans and pork sausages - and another apple tart.

The next morning after breakfast I went for a walk and enjoyed the relative quietness of the streets, which was a surprise after seeing it so busy all the rest of the time. Then I went into the castle with eight of the girls and spent some time wandering around alone after they all raced through. From the courtyard a window showed a basement below, with a cat sleeping on a cardboard box.

For lunch we went just around the corner - well, everything's round the corner here - and ordered the gizzard salad again and lasagne followed by chocolate mousse. The remainder of the day was spent walking around and around the Cité inside and out and on the ramparts. In one of the little shops in a narrow winding street I had the unusual experience of discovering a red chair exactly like the ones I owned in Germany. Sitting on it for a moment was quite singular. That evening we ate omelettes in the square.

The morning after that we left at eight to head for Arles, where we arrived around noon. First we ate salads at the Place du Forum near Van Gogh's Le Café La Nuit, then visited the amphitheatre, the church and cloister, and the underground crypt with most of a Roman forum intact under several streets. That night we went with the ladies to a restaurant recommended by the hotelier, and ate the most artistic meal I have ever seen - three petite but filling courses of delicately designed platters. I ate ratatouille with egg followed by salmon and veges, then a creation of gingerbread and ice cream.

Salad in Arles

Arles: the Roman amphitheathre
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