Kiri and



January 23rd, 2014 (by Steve)

Carcassonne. What a great game. Almost as good as Settlers. Maybe? Well, this was also the last place in southern France that we wanted to visit before hitting Spain. Rather than going straight there from the Verdon Gorge, we decided to amble around the coast, spending a night in Arles, then a windy night next to a beach. We’d not planned to stop there overnight, but when we pulled up for lunch, we decided that as it was such a nice spot, we’d stay for longer.


Before we get on to talking about Carcassonne, we’ve got to mention flamingoes. We hadn’t really expected to see flamingoes on the trip, so when we first spotted them, Kiri got a little excited. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. Kiri got VERY excited. You’ll have to wait until the video of this part of the trip to fully appreciate the excitement level (if it makes the final cut!), but I would go as far as to say it was significant excitement (and from my days as a data analyst, I don’t use the word “significant” lightly!). Sadly there was nowhere near any of the flamingoes to stop Bertha and take photos, so this the best shot(!) taken as Bertha sped(!) past them.

Moving snapshot of a flamingo near Montpellier as we sped past

So, Carcassonne. A great fortified medieval city. A cracking board game. A cracking book (Labyrinth by Kate Mosse). A cracking visit? Well, in some ways, yes, but in some ways, no. As a place, it is stunning and well worth a visit. If you’re into your history of knights and castles it’s fascinating to wander around the walls and get a feel for how protected it is. Sadly though, the myriad shops and restaurants inside the city don’t feel as if they’ve been set up sensitively. You expect a little bit of tourist tat in any place like that, but it seemed to be choking the soul of the city. I’m sure that it’s not necessary to have 3 museums of torture within a tiny city like that. So whilst it was worth a visit, it didn’t really float our boat (and not just because the moat has no water in any more).


The following morning, we set off before breakfast, as we would have to pay extra for the car park we’d stayed in overnight if we had left after 8am. As it was, the barrier was up (unexpected bonus!), so we didn’t even have to pay for the previous day in the car park either. After breakfast on the road, we headed for a little village a short drive away, as we’d read that there was a motorhome stop there with good facilities, including free electric hookup. As it turned out, none of the facilities were operational, but we decided to stay anyway and have a chilled day. We’re glad we did, as we saw our first British motorhome of the trip (imagine that; our 83rd day in mainland Europe, and our first British motorhome). We exchanged a polite “hello” with the owners, talked a little about the weather, then wished each other safe travelling. How very British.

And then on the road towards Spain. We emptied our toilet in the next village along in some public loos (we think we were allowed to…?) and set off towards the Pyrenees. Au Revoir France!

All posts about France

Europe – a new chapter

Bertha vs. Bertha

Another breakdown (in communication?)

Oil’s well that ends well

KIST 2EU… this time it’s personal


Revelation on the Riviera

Climbing every mountain

To toll or not to toll…

B-right side of the road

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