Night Location: Carcassonne, France
Song of the Day: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
Mumisode of the Day: "I'll have two bulls, please. Two BULLS." Mum was testing out her French, much to the delight of the rest of us.
This morning Mum did a quick sketch of the skyline out her window. She is becoming quite the artist on this trip. Unfortunately,Gemma had a rough night in the attic. It has no windows and as it is at the top of the building, it seems to collect the majority of the heat in the house. The attic is made of pine timber so it smells and feels exactly like a sauna. Not pleasant sleeping conditions.
A bargain breakfast of juice, coffee and baguette was enjoyed sitting out in one of the courtyards of the old city. We literally are staying so close to the walls, it was just a short walk up hill, across the drawbridge and in through the gates. The fortifications are quite impressive; the city is double walled and everywhere you can see slots for arrows and other hide-outs.
After breakfast we headed off to explore the castle. The inhabitants of this castle would have been fairly secure. The castle has its own wall within the double walled old city. Amber really enjoyed exploring the castle and the ramparts as the city was initially Roman and you can still see the surviving Roman towers and curtain wall that have been incorporated into the city's defences. Legend has it that the chandelier of King Solomon was hidden in the great well of the city. To date it has not been discovered.
Gareth and Gemma then spent the rest of the afternoon on a quest for the game of 'Carcassonne' so that we could all say we had played 'Carcassonne' in Carcassonne. This sounded a lot easier than what it really was. While one might think that you were sitting on a souvenir gold mine, very few shops knew what we were talking about and most continued to direct us back to the shops we knew did not contain what we were looking for. At last, after scaling a few city walls, Gareth spotted the game along with five extensions in a shop window. Victory! Or so we thought, but alas the shop was never open. In fact, it appeared as though it could very well be closed for the winter. However, they did not give up, and descended out of the old city and down across the river to the modern part of town. Tourist information proved very useful as they did after all know where the game could be purchased. Gareth was very excited and the French version was acquired. It took a bit of research, but later in the afternoon he was able to find the English rules online as we weren't overly confident in our ability to play, let alone score, in French.
Dinner tonight was in the restaurant 'Adelaide' where a bizarre cheese dish, apparently a regional special was enjoyed. It is pretty much a huge round of Camembert cheese, grilled and then served. You eat a huge plate of melted cheese, and that's it! We weren't really sure how to eat it. A lot of bread was consumed and we all felt a bit sick after the effort. Mum, who had not ordered the cheese, decided that she could enjoy some ice-cream for dessert and so tried to order two scoops (boules) or BULLS. It was hilarious.
The long sought after game was pulled out after dinner, and Mum showed us her skills in the creation and completion of cities. David was the ultimate champion, followed by Gareth. Turns out, you win by being an awesome farmer. Right up Mum's alley really.
Last night in France for a short while as we are off to Barcelona tomorrow!