Friday, February 01, 2008



What can I say about the little hilltop town that was our home for a week.
'Bloody Amazing' leaps to mind.
It was gorgeous.
Think of the most typical French medieval village you can then squeeze the pure essence of it out and rub it all over your body while eating fresh baked Pain smeared with your body weight in Fromage while sipping a Bordueax and you will be close.
The house was wonderful and welcoming and all 8 of us fitted in quite comfortably.

Loungeroom View

It was a great base camp for day trip and the region of the Dordogne is packed with more fabulous little villages, castles, troglodyte caves ( i said troglodyte alot, its such a great word) cave paintings and vistas that make you go all thing.

The door to the house

We saw several groovy castles and cave paintings in the area, but since I haven't put the photos up on Flickr yet, I'll talk about our adventure in Carcassonne and beyond. Dr Nik has been living in Marseille for the last 8 months so we arranged to meet half way in the walled city of Carcassonne. The night before we had a big dinner and drunk lots. Mikes brother who lives in England flew over with his girlfriend for the weekend, so it was a night of catching up and general good times. We were all a bit seedy the next day and left late for the 3 hour drive.
I got to drive and we took the paege/toll roads for most of it. They can be expensive but with the speed limit at 130km/hr its totally worth it. I was quite comfortable sitting at 150km/hr and was still getting passed. God knows how many speed cameras we set off in the course of our trip.

Exploring Carcassonne

We got to Carcassonne, caught up with Nik and spent the afternoon exploring the castle. It is pretty impressive, well restored and the streets are crammed with tourist shops and cafes. The hostel inside was closed, so we found a hotel outside the walls but with a excellent view from the terrace.
One of our favourite games is 'Carcassonne', so I brought it with me and spelt out the name of the group blog I babble at. Its important to maintain the geek image while in foreign climes.

Yes, yes I'm a geek....lucky so is everyone else

The next day we picked a interesting looking castle mostly at random to go and explore, and boy did we choose well.

The good things in life

About an hour south heading for the Pyranesse is Chateau de Puilaurens. A completely crazy arsed castle on a knifes edge built in the 12th Century by people who were not afraid of heights.
It was closed being January and all, but a small chain wasn't about the deter us. The trail up is steep and rocky and looking up at the walls is a bit dizzyfying.
The place is outstanding. Restored places are cool, and gives you a good feel to how it must have been like to work and live there, but for me a good ruin has much more of a impact. Give me a crumbly, overgrown wall any day.

Picnic view

We weren't the only ones to break in, people with small children and even smaller dogs wandered through and lolled about but it was a dozen at the most.
We had a great scramble and a superb picnic lunch with a view to kill for. Most of our meals consisted of the most yummiest bread, cheese, pate, jamon, and wine...simple and perfect.

Nothing like a good ruin
We managed to drag ourselves away, drop Nik off at Carcassonne for his train and headed back to Belves for more thrilling adventures and cheese.