The next day, gorged to the max, we actually made an early (for us anyway) start to the day and headed off south-west for Carcassonne. We’d come from the depths of the gorge with its monstrous cliffs, stopping briefly at the Chateau de Peyrelade just outside the town of Boyne. Then we continued through the patchwork quilted farming countryside of Languedoc, up into mountains covered with pine plantations then down the other side past and onto the plains with vines, orchards, cows and sheep as far as the eye could see. There were huge wind turbines to the left of us and the soaring snow-capped Pyrenees in the distance to the south. The only problem was that yet again we were behind schedule due to the many photo stops.
Added to the lateness was the unexpected appearance of road works and subsequent deviations. These took us north-west again so Carcassonne was disappearing as fast as it had appeared. With my stress levels reaching fever pitch yet again and with images of the apartment owner standing drumming his fingers, peering up and down the street, I sped like a mad thing, at one point likening it to being in a rally-car race. We’d also been out of phone range for some time.
As we finally reached the outskirts of Carcassonne we decided to employ the talents of our trusty GPS Garmin (whose French pronunciation is more like that of Sir Les Patterson). Into the fray we came. It seems that today was the day that road works were going to be the thing, not only on the approach to Carcassonne, but IN it. We followed a huge tip truck which nearly became wedged between a wall on one side and a small parked car on the other. The car was slowly scraped in the truck driver’s attempt to squeeze past.
Finally we made it to our home for the next week – jack hammers and a trench digger going hell for leather 5 metres from the door AND in peak hour. Our small but extremely strong proprietaire helped us up the 43 stairs(!) to our new abode. (I’d been told 2 flights of stairs – I didn’t know each flight spiralled around for 20-odd steps.)
The apartment is perfectly located for anything you might want to do or see in the old section of the city, including the famous and most recognisable old Cité up on the hill.
After a good night’s sleep we spent most of the next day up there, divided between wandering by ourselves and joining a small tour group (yes in English this time!).