Well readers, this post is 11 months overdue, but with the busy year I’ve had, it’s the first chance I’ve had to sit, reflect and reminisce about our week in Paris.
Paris, the city of love, is a magical city. Whilst I’m more partial towards Barcelona, I cannot help but fall in love with the city and embrace its beauty. Even the snow-drenched boots, overpriced cafes and cold weather could not take away from the wonderful time we had there. We also got to catch up with one of our best friends, who now lives in London, and see the sites as an unstoppable trio. (more…)
Disclaimer: It has been a while since my last post due to returning to normality. however, I’m back on track and ready to conclude this journey. Thanks for your patience!
Our ‘luck’ with The French rail system hadn’t changed and with more delays, we were finally on our way to Bordeaux. However, with one bout of bad luck, good luck followed and upon the train being delayed at a station (again) for 30 more minutes, we were advised to get off and change to a direct train to Bordeaux. This is where our luck turned and we managed to score first class seats for the rest of the journey. We were also happily relieved to see our hotel (Ibis Styles) literally across the road from the train station. No awkward hitchhiking for us this time around! (more…)
Our adventure into France had started out rockier than we had hoped, but thanks to some very sweet people, we managed to get there in the end.
I’m not sure if it was a bit of bad luck, the weather (snow), or if this is how trains in France run normally, but our trip from Barcelona to Carcassonne provided some challenges. Our train from Barcelona to Narbonne was reasonably fine, despite a 40 minute delay halfway there. However, when we had arrived in Narbonne we found out (with some confusion along the way) that all of the trains to Carcassonne had been cancelled due to the weather. This was not ideal. Thankfully we weren’t the only ones headed there and with the help of a gentleman, who spoke perfect English and French, and the frazzled-but-diligent train staff trying to find a solution, we were able to get there in the end.
But once we arrived (close to 11pm at this stage), we were a little dismayed find that there were no taxis at the station. Not ones to wait around in the cold, we decided to walk to the hotel (holding onto hope that we would find a taxi along the way). 15 minutes and partial frostbite later, we were struggling to find the right streets and just about everything was closed. Then two angels in the form of a lovely older couple walked our way. When Guy (with some rusty French) asked for directions, they eagerly and kindly offered us a lift! And thank goodness they did, as it would have taken more than 40 minutes to get there the way we were going (especially without a proper map). And just like that, we were saved and had hope! They were so kind and sweet, inviting Guy to practice his French and partake in some general chit chat. When they dropped us off at the door we couldn’t be more relieved. It’s people like that who will always be remembered with a smile.
Now, back to Carcassonne itself. It is a beautiful city, despite the cold (and trust me, it was fricken freezing!). In fact, it’s hard to believe how big a difference the climate was between the two countries. And due to some unforeseen circumstances, our original hotel was closed for the night so we were upgraded to the Hotel Montmorrisey. And what an upgrade! Perfectly situated right outside the old city we had this spectacular view from our window:
The hotel owners also seem to share our love for pets, with three domesticated dogs having run of the joint.
The day in the old city was lovely and the history of Carcassone is interesting in its own right. We were able to explore the old castle and wander through the cobblestone streets until we could no longer feel our extremities. We escaped the minus temperatures for a delicious ‘Plats du Jour’ (the French version of ‘Menu del Día’) and with a warm tummy, we headed towards our next stop: Bordeaux