Esperaza – Carcassonne – Lac de la Raviege
We woke up and said good morning to the circus animals, had breakfast and a tidy up and set our sights on Carcassonne.
Like many, I suppose I’ve been inspired by Kate Mosse’s books and their settings.
We found it easily and the parking was expensive – but we spent the afternoon wandering round the ramparts in howling wind – rock hugging!
I know it’s Saturday and it’s busy, but I couldn’t help being a bit disappointed – I don’t know why I expected a ‘quiet’ or spiritual experience – but I did – and I found Carcassonne (the Disney experience) 150% touristy bling and blag… “buy your souvenir gargoyles and teatowels here” in 50% of the shops, and the other 50% were restaurants.
We both loved the buildings and went snap crazy – but because of the crowds I didn’t really get into it at all… sad!
The ramparts were windy, and with a dark brooding sky it was atmospheric to say the least….
I couldn’t leave without a wander round the cemetery, the tradition of entire generations being entombed in the same place … some of these tombs go back hundreds of years and yet family members are still being tucked away with the ancestors today…
While walking around we spotted some bikes/bikers and as we left we saw them once again – sporting black and white patches this time – Gunfighters MC France.
We drew more than a passing glance in our Pasty hoodies – and we pondered the name. I suggested they might be benevolent anti-gun campaigners and Nick chortled at my odd view of the world! Anyway – we looked them up on t’internet and they’re a world-wide group of either serving or retired law enforcement officers! How wrong can one girl get!
We left the car park and were at the barrier before realising we had to pre-pay at an auto caisse machine! Had to reverse back in (Nick’s getting really good at this) – then paid – used the services – and left in the prescribed fashion!
We headed for Mazanet – Lac des Montagnes; passing some beautiful villages en route, despite the drizzle and mist:
When we arrived it was a bit remote and piney, with loads of procession caterpillar nests everywhere; so we ate some soup, walked Bertie swiftly away from the trees and headed to the Lac de la Raviege.
We’re parked near a sailing school which is all closed up for the winter – I would guess in the summer the place is buzzing – it’s gorgeous!
There’s a legend concerning a dragon in the lake too… a little like our very own Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. This one’s called Drac.
Spent a very chilled evening and Nick got the telly working – don’t know whether to be happy or sad – and neither does he! I still can’t believe I built a snowman yesterday lol!
Lac de la Raviege – La Salvetat sur Agout
Bert found himself a little friend this morning – and then decided to take a chunk out of him! what in hell’s name are we going to do with our stroppy little dog!?! They made friends again pretty quickly but he sure has attitude!
We’re off to Camares next, via the Route des Lacs.
Passed Lac du Laouzes (Aire 94) looks beautiful – we exchanged all our water here as not really happy with our last refill it tastes/smells a bit odd!
Arrived at our lovely riverside location on the banks of the Dourdou – lovely spot but I’m wary of the mozzies! All facilities except WC which doesn’t open until 15th April (happy birthday to me!).
Sadly tonight we have had to bite the bullet and realise we’re NOT going to be able to make Monaco for my birthday…. after spending over 350 euros on fixing the Blobby bus, we really can’t justify going 600kms out of our way for a day or two’s fun – and it WOULD have been fun – but it meant travelling hard to meet the deadline – getting skint and then chasing upcountry for the next week…. we’ve got to keep it real and we just can’t afford it. Nick contacts Danny and we sulk the evening away…
Had a bit of fun skimming stones over the weir by the river bridge…
Camares – St Alexandre (via 53kms of Gorges du Tarn)
Another overcast day, a final skimming contest with Nick
Bert wants to follow the stone!
We pass the Viaduc Millau…
and then off to the Gorges du Tarn…which wasn’t on our agenda but hey – we’re here – and so is it!!!
The views along the Gorge take your breath away
and the tunnels….
OMG the tunnels….
they do the rest of the job and leave you gasping!
There were more than a few sharp intakes of breath even though the signage says the tunnels are big enough, they’re all arches with sloping sides – you have to take the centre line through all of them in the Blobby Bus!
We stopped for lunch at La Malene, and took Bertie for a run along the river…..
Castelbouc is just so picturesque – the ruins of the castle right at the top…
To think we may have just passed this by…. what a journey today…. feeling very blessed!
Finally off at Florac and followed the D6 to find our next aire at St Alexandre.
Brilliant, just brilliant – so quiet on the roads and we were graced with a bit of sunshine! As we hit Florac it began to rain, and the mountains started to steam (just like the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee).
We refuelled and did a small shop in St Privat des Vieux; then headed straight to the aire – what a lovely little village!
views from the windows…..
It commands such a fabulous view of the surrounding countryside, and the largest building is the cave du vin…. vines everywhere and some beautiful wisteria in bloom. Nick took a wander round with Bertie whilst I cooked, and found an XK8 up a side street! I think this village could be a TAD exclusive for us lol! It’s been a long and wonderful day – Comfort food (steak pie, mashed potatoes and fresh veggies) for supper, washed down with some equally comfortable Benlloch red!