Today’s pictures on flickr

One of the first things I’m going to do when I get home is fry myself an egg. Many of the best breakfasts that I’ve had have been in Quebec, but here in France, it’s a completely different story. Yesterday, our “petit dejeuner complet” cost us 6 Euros (9 dollars), which consisted of a croissant, a “petit pain”, coffee, orange juice, honey and jam. Today we got pretty much the same thing at the hostel. Breakfast in Denmark and Germany was much better, usually with a wide variety of meats, cheeses, breads, jams and fruits, and possibly a cold hard-boiled egg. Fabulous, but breakfast is supposed to be warm!

Sorry for the rant. It’s the little things you miss, isn’t it?

The forecast today was for a continuaion of the cold weather. It was supposed to hit 1 degree last night, with a high of 12 today. I thought the south of France was supposed to be warm! So we bundled ourselves up good today before leaving Carcassone and heading for the Mediterranean.

It was cold, but properly dressed it wasn’t too bad. Fairly hilly, though. Our guidebook complained that there are often strong westerly winds making the trip to Carcassonne quite difficult. We were looking forward to this, since our trip was in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, we were dealt a strong easterly wind. So we facd hills and a headwind today. Ugg.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about the hills though. We did have some bad ones, but we had more downs than ups, so that was cool. One in particular stood out. We were following a spectacular narrow valley on the way in to Lagrasse. There was a long steep downhill to get into the valley, and then the slope moderated, but stayed downhill. And stayed downhill. And stayed downhill. We kept expecting to have to pay for our downhill around each corner, but we never did. Not until Lagrasse, 10 to 15 kilometres later, did we hit an uphill slope again.

It’s too bad it was a fairly drab, overcast day because that valley was spectacular. Hopefully the pictures show it, but they never properly do.

For additional entertainment a dog joined us for a good part of the trip through the valley. We had stopped to take some pictures when we heard this clanging bell coming around the bend. We were baffled until the mutt came around the corner. He came trucking past us, with a steady purpose, only occasionally putting his nose down to smell the pavement. We passed him a couple of times, but he caught up to us each time we stopped to take pictures. Eventually though he did reverse directions. Going home, I supppse.

Lagrasse and St. Laurent were two very beautiful little towns that we passed through on our journey. They certainly seemed older than anything we saw in Northern Europe. More of a Mediterranean feel.

We passed a few castles up on the mountain tops just before we hit Narbonne. Unfortunately, it was starting to get dark, so we don’t have good pictures. Sunset at 5:30 is really a bummer.

In Narbonne, we went to find the cheapest hotel listed in our guidebooks. It was described as “very nice for the price”. It said “cheap”, but I certainly didn’t expect this cheap. Rooms with shower and toilet were 22 Euros. There weren’t any of those available, so we took a room with two double beds for 29 Euros. The hotel is old and somewhat run-down, and so are the beds, but this is certainly the largest room we’ve rented in Europe! That’s 3 Euros less than what we paid for the hostel last night, and not much more than we paid in Denmark just to put up our tent in a campground!

To cap off our cheap hotel room, we had a cheap meal at the restaurant right next door. For 37 Euros total, we had a 4 course meal with wine. And not a cheap meal: fish soup, escargots, steak and creme brulle. Very nice.

We’re still a kilometre or two from the Mediterranean, but tomorrow we follow it for most of the day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow…