With a big intake of breath and an even bigger exhale, I start writing this, my penultimate blog for this time away. Granted I have been back in the very sunny – to thunderous town of Perth now for a couple of days. To be fair I have always been playing catch up with the blog malarkey, most days too knackered to write anything and upload, never mind sift thru the multitude of photos taken.
My last place to visit was the beautiful city of Carcassonne a beautiful fortified city, a hilltop town with a doozy medieval fortress in Southern France. Located in historic trade routes and with strategic access to the Pyrenees, its hilltop was occupied by the Romans until the Empire finally fell. Carcassonne has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997 and the city relies heavily on tourism, wine making and manufacturing for its economy.
Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the region, easily accessible with its one airport and train links to Toulouse and Marseille, you can visit Château Comtal, a 12th-century castle within the city to tour the inner ramparts and have a nice lunch. If you sail, the canal du Midi, flows through the top of the town, close to the train station. Both filter into the Aude and Fresquel rivers, in my eyes, a great place for a romantic stop.
Enough of the tourism plug for the city, I’m here to see the Tour and interestingly, I stayed in the exact same gaff I stayed in 2 years ago. I arrived the day before the finish in the town. Having been before, there is no reason to seek out where they will set up or good spots, I know exactly where I am going, so I head out for a slap up meal and a few tipples neebs.
Up sharpish the next day and with the factor 50 on this time, I go for a wander through the city to soak up the atmosphere and build up. F1 Grand Prix day, so naturally I need to get a shot of the F1 bar. The crowds are building early doors, so I need to get ma spot, load up with a baguette. Some wine, some water and I am good to go. Key criteria, somewhere close enough to the finish line and where I can see the big screen. I think I nailed it!
It’s gonna be a long race today as they set off about 1.30pm and I’ve been in my spot for about 1 hour. They are expected to roll by about 5.30-6pm and without my stool I left back in Grenoble, I’m standing, elbows out, ready for some chancer to steal my spot. If you have never been, always been prepared for something to edge in beside you, then invite friends over and push you off the barrier. Some send their kids up to sneak under you and take over. It’s happened many a time, so now I stand and people know not to push in, especially as I bark at them ‘Don’t even think about it’ and they wander on.
Another superb day in Carcassonne. Despite mocking the locals and how they clamber to get all the freebies they can get their hands on, I have a superb hall for the day. I have had my fill and of course, I have taken waaay to many photo’s. A quick Panini and a beer and I’m back in the gaff, to catch the highlights and back for the long trek home. I’ve been thinking about what I will do when I’m back home, to celebrate the time on my travels. I have an idea, born from my time in the Big Apple. I just hope I am smart enough to do it, fingers crossed.