30th November

This was the first truly long drive of the journey and we were not too sharp about setting off either. As we hit the A26/E15 we realised that we could avoid Paris and all the junctions by following the E15 Euroroute to the E17 and going round Reims to rejoin the E15 to get to Narbonne, then turn East to get to Carcassonne our second night’s stopping place. Keeping a long journey short it turned into a 11.5 hour marathon mainly because I had underestimated the time for the journey (never believe a Google map timing) and because of rain reducing the speed limit from 130kph to 110kph and it getting dark. Too late we realised that we should have rung the hotel before 7pm if we were going to be late but it turned out not to be a problem being winter. When we finally arrived about 9:15pm the hotel turned out to be right below the walls of Carcassonne’s old fortified town La Cite, quite spectacular! It was very basic hotel but its position made up for that.

And fortunately there was a restaurant in the old town open late, Auberge des Ducs D’Oc where we just had to have Cassoulet, the dish of the region. They even did it without the breadcrumbs for Lynne. Brilliant! While we were having our meal I got a text from Lou asking if something in with the photos of their Civil Ceremony that we’d given them needed to be kept. I replied “Hello from Carcassonne…” and got an astonishing reply from Lou that she and Kerri had just left there the day before. They had spent their ‘honeymoon’ there and we’d missed them by a day! We finished the meal with a ‘pud’ of the local rocket fuel called “Marc” and were even told where in Carcassonne we could buy it. By the time we’d finished eating it was quite late and we were very tired so it was straight to bed. No open bars might have contributed a bit too?

In the morning there was a passable breakfast again so Lynne filled up as well as me before we took an hour or so to wander around La Cite in the rain before heading off on the (relatively) short 3-4 hour drive to Barcelona at about 10:30am. We didn’t fancy crossing the modern city to get some Marc so that will have to wait for another time.