Further Southwest: Experience is the Best Teacher

You never know that your shoes are not water resistant until you get caught in the rain.

Moving on from Uzès to the Tarn region, I don’t mind bright clouds and some drops of rain every now and then. Consequently, I see no point in changing my plans when I arrive the early afternoon at Carcassone, the world famous medieval town between Nîmes and Toulouse. I still don’t get the symbols straight when I head from the bus parking to the city’s entrance and a group of nuns crosses my way, hurrying just in the opposite direction. Well… I should have followed them. It takes less than 500 meters until I reach the town walls soaking wet with my shoes making funny noise on every step I take.


The good news is that the atmosphere of Carcassone wins significantly once the tourist crowds have left the tiny streets. The bad news is that it was just too wet to dare more than one snapshot and anyway, I decided that it reminds me a lot of the Mont Saint Michel and that I rather change into some dryer clothes and move on.


In fact, the old town looks quite impressive when approaching it from a distance: there is a wow-effect, no doubt. But the closer you get, the more annoying get all the shops and restaurants and advertisement for souvenirs and tourists from abroad and the rain and everything. At ground level, no house kept its old form, old narrow windows have been replaced by large glass fronts for souvenirs and wide open doors for inflowing tourists. I think of Brügge / Belgium and how they achieved a more impressing picture: they left the buildings as they have been and just inserted shops or pubs or restaurants, but kept to the exterior and the façade just as it had been. Wise they are, the Belgians…

I leave Carcassone-Land to Walt or Disney or whoever is currently responsible and continue to some basic French achievement: I remarked a huge Carrefour supermarket and within 15 minutes have everything on board for offering myself a wonderful dinner. The only thing missing is a bottle of regional wine, but this is easily set upon arrival on today’s destination.


Probably beautiful with a ray of sunlight

North of Toulouse, the region around the river Tarn comes up with a pretty landscape of mountains and forests and: vineyards. Thanks to “France Passion”, I arrive the late afternoon at Isle de Tarn and make friends with the local dog. Already the route to sleepy, hidden farms is a wonderful experience, once more celebrating Hector’s slim silhouette. Upon arrival I am free to taste my way through the selection of wine that today’s host produces, learning that I love the full-berry-fruity wine best as long as it stays dry.

Although the rain does not stop, I am happy that it does not snow (here) and enjoy the calm night deep in the middle of nowhere. With gas, electric and water systems on board working just fine, I am warm and cosy inside Hector and finally oversleep my planned departure. Plans might be exaggerated, though.

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