Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Friday it absolutley poured and I got wet despite my you-beaut gear. upsetting really. Next day missed the erly morning train and on the way back stopped at a crossing, backed up and fell over a bollard. My translator lost its lid for the thrid time and I badly strained my left hand. Much Voltaréne has been rubbed into it but the two middle fingerzs and wrist are still swollen. Hope I can pull the gadget tomorrow ...
Went to Decathlon morning and helpful young guy explained that when the goretex type clothes get saturated on the exterior, the vapour from the athlete,s body (c,est moi) can,t escpe so any wetness is condensation.
I wasn,t super wet, and really only noticed it on my sleeves as I was wearing a sleeveless fleece. So after lookjng at a lot of cheap and dear gear I bought a cheap and cheerful polyester fleece. It does the job! and a cheap umbrella. In arvo caught train to Carcassone, bowled straght intyo a British Groceries store and the proprietor organised my bed for the night at a most pleasant hotel with (limited) cable. BBC World News! I listened to the show about two hours iun a row AND in the morning.
After unpacking and thoroughly dressing set off for the old city (la Cité) Took about twenty minutes with the wind builkding but no rain. Oh, the city! It just looks magical. Bollocks to all those who tut tut that it has been tarted up. In the early 1800s under Napoleon,s army it was neglected nd damaged dreadfully. It took the efforts of some guy to have the site declared an upgraded army base which led to govt money to start repairing the damage. Then a committee got together and they hired an architect historian called Violett le duc. They raised funds, bought out the squqtters who had put up houses all over, and started rebuilding. (sorry about typos - haven,t the time to get them all) Not one of the 50+ towers had a roof. to look at it now ...
As I have come down in an early shower and not the last one I looked at an exhubition of photographs of the citadel. This mornign I made a beeline for where one of the photos had been taken - across a vineyard. Yerp, it worked a treat. Took a lkast one this arvo. The city is lived in. All the shops are occupied and there are several otels and buckets of eateries. The old cathedral was demoted a long ti,e ago and was in a terrible state before restoration but has never been deconsecrated.It is now a basilica with a kindly and vigorous priest.
There were about 60 in the service (culte) and I hardly got a word. Still, all was done well. There was a confident cantor and a fine organist. It is a tall romanasque church with some excellent and ancient windos including two huge rose windows. One tall skinny one shows Philippe the Bel and his sons (early 14th C) How these avaoided damage after all the wars and sieges and neglect I don,t know.
Some of the stuff for sale was quite reasonably priced, for instance, tapestry cushion covers for 20 E or less than 40 dollars. There was a lot of marvellous stuff for kids - drees ups an swords. Alec Cummings kit siege machine was from there, and they had lots but dear. One item Richard Pearson had mentioned was a game like Knights of Catan (?) but about Carcassone. It has a board and lots of cards and costs 59 E. Didn,t buy it. or anything apart fro, food. I had for lunch a traditional local dish - bean and porc casserole. It was hot and hearty and came with bread and water so at 7 E was quite cheap. (most of my bought meals have been kebabs - around 4E, take away.
I haven,t done Carcass juystice. Here qre so,e junbled thoughts. cone topped tozers in red tiles or black/silver tiles. Grey/green stone, cobbled streets some so narro yoçu can almost touch both walls at a tme. colourful materilals, fancy patisseries, hop signs, streets named for old folks or events, the school is a museum of education. herqldry, weapons, armor. Cathars and the 1209 sacking of the town. The main mueum is the old cqstle. It has of stones and there qre sarcophagi, bosses, statues, corbels and a magnificent ablutions fountain. Water poured out of the top into a large basin, then out the mouths of carved beasts and beauties. The workmanship was superb.
You,ve gotta go! and so do I.

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