July 23: Everyone Wants to Go to Carcassone

Sunshine! When we woke up this morning we saw bright sky, little puffy clouds, and sun! I put every stitch of clothing on the line. That felt great!

After a furious round of emailing with the universe and staring at little pictures of Paris apartments on the Netbook, we decided to just go out into the world and hope that an apartment would somehow magically happen as we were driving. As it happened, one did, which meant that Dan got the email on his phone and had to drive to Wifi in order to log on and pay for it and get everything organized. All this fadoodling meant that we got on the road much later than we had hoped, but having a place to go to in Paris was pretty much worth it.

The plan for the day was to go to a cave in the morning and Carcassone in the afternoon. Carcassone was one of the places I most wanted to go to while in France, and I was really looking forward to it. I’d done my research; I was ready. But first, the cave. There are lots of caves to explore in the Pyrennees, but we let the kids sit with the brochures and pick out the one they wanted the most. Of course, they chose the one with the boat ride and the train ride involved, which happened to be not the one on the way to Carcassone, but they’d been so patient with all the Tour watching and waiting that we let them have their pick, and we headed to the Grottes de Battharam. I’ll write all about the Grottes de Batharram in another post, but for now I will just say that there was a LOT of climbing down, and the train ride was breathtakingly fast and the walls were breathtakingly close. Everything in France is more dangerous, less monitored, steeper, lower, and this cave was no exception. Whoever laid out the tour through the cave, 200 years ago or whatever, was insane. The end.

By the time we had gone to the cave on the secret shuttle, gone through the cave, and made it back to the car, many hours had passed, and by the time we got back on the road, it was later than I had envisioned it would be upon setting out for Carcassone. However, instead of spending the afternoon there, I thought we could maybe spend the evening there, eat dinner, meander around the Cite, and still see it. The GPS put us on the autoroute, which was perfectly fine until it was a complete standstill, at which point it became horrifyingly unfine. We waited, waited, and inched forward, until we saw that we were actually being shunted off the autoroute: it was completely closed for an accident.

Between the apartment emailing, the endless cave, and now the closed autoroute, it appeared to me that the universe was telling me I was not supposed to go to Carcassone. So we went to Auch instead.

We saw the statue of D’Artagnan, wandered around the cathedral which was under renovations, and ate dinner at a place on the square.

I ordered randomly (again) and ended up with a salad covered in sardines, or some other inedibly hairy fish. The second part of my food was steak tartar which was terribly unground, tasted strange, and had all kinds of weird little bits in it that I rejected. Dan greatly enjoyed his food, the kids were kind of meh about theirs, but in its favor, the restaurant had an enormous Great Dane puppy who was very personable and entertained the children warmly. So, that was dinner. I would not go back there again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I now hate all fish.

We drove home in the dark, packed up as much of our stuff as we possibly could, and prepared to head north in the morning.

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