I skipped Lisbon. Being with people meant there was less time to think to myself, and realistically less necessity to share my trip. Aside from spring sniffles surfacing last night (with a pre-emptive packet of Day Nurse in my bag to counter), the journey over was fine.
Ryanair were as welcoming as usual and the flight itself was smooth and quick. Weather at the moment is clear blue skies with a nice temperature. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow and Sunday.
Carcassonne, or what I’ve seen of it so far, is a quaint little town. As sleepy as you’d expect from the South of France. Its medieval Disneyland-style castle is beautiful. The sun’s nice and warm, the architecture lovely and the crowds I presume plague the narrow streets during high season, are nonexistent.
I do have to stretch my mind as to why I stay in London…
After lunch I wandered round the medieval city before taking a look at the castle (€8.50). You get good views from its ramparts, though you’d expect that from a hill fortress. After that I went for a little snooze in a nearby park.
Annoyingly it clouded over after an hour, and the wind was too chilly to stay sleeveless so at around 4pm I went into the town centre to do some people watching and read some of my book.
Next came finding the hostel (above), which ironically I’d passed earlier in the day. It’s a converted abbey, so it’s like I’m staying in the opening of The Sound of Music, just without the singing nuns. It’s nice enough and because it’s off season, there’s barely anyone here. I’ve seen a young couple and that’s it. It must be quiet as I booked a dorm room but was given a private one (a lucky turn considering the sudden onset of man-flu).
Dumping my stuff, I went on another walk along Carcassonne’s river before heading back to get an early night.
I thought I was going to escape the blocked nose and up until last night I was breathing fine.
Anyway, people have done a lot more with a lot worse, so I ignore the bunged up feeling and set off for Narbonne. Situated South-East of Carcassonne, Narbonne is a larger coastal town just off the Med.
There’s not really much to see – a gothic cathedral is the centre point (which is highly impressive with quiet cloisters), and various other bits and bobs. The city sits on a river which cuts through the centre attractively. I followed that for a bit but found my cold getting the better of me.
For the next five hours (yes, five) I became French, simply sitting and thinking. There’s something about the continent that rubs off on you – it might be the heat (oh yes, it’s beautiful) or just the architecture / shared conscious.
Anyway, I brought the recommended Haruki Murakami book, Sputnick Sweetheart, with me which was read in entirety either side of naps in the sun. It’d be nice to breathe freely and to have done more walking, but getting a cold without anything to push you on is the best time to get one.
I’ve caught the sun a fair bit on my arms (there hasn’t been one cloud in the sky today). Being a catholic country, I can imagine it doesn’t stir on Sundays, so I should be able to get a decent amount of Southern France architecture done before I get the flight home.
I’m definitely coming back to the south of France – having only really done Nice airport and Cannes, I’m tempted to train hop along the coast one day. Carcassonne’s the right end of the coast to fly to cheaply.
Anyway, I leave you with one message – Dear France, clean up your dog muck, it’s everywhere.
More travelling can be found here.
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