Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A trip to the South Day 2

Day 2 started with a Nordic Walk to the bridge.....very impressive. When I think what my ancestors in Scotland were doing at the same epoch.....mind you, we did manage to stop the Romans! Next a trip to the beach, or rather the lagoon, and we discoverd it was market day....bought oysters and veggies for lunch. Yummy...LO had a swim, but although the water wasn't cold, I just didn't fancy it.

We carried on and visited the well preserved medieval town of Villefrance de Conflent Unfortunately we weren't able to meet up with an old canyoning acquaintance. Next time.

We went to another beach for lunch, proper seaside this time, but again, I didn't swim. The town was rather depressing, full of people, houses so close to each other... LO and I agreed that we have a certain savage side to us...we prefer less people and more wilderness, and we are lucky that we can make that choice.

On to the Cathar trail, and the first mini hike up to visit the chateau of Aguiler
What was intersting here were all the botanical names etc. It was also where I realised that the battery on my camera was running out, and one of the things I didn 't have with me was the charger! Good one! Luckily, LO had his camera, se we did manage to take some photos.

Next on the itinery was the chateau of Quiribus very dramatic setting.

Next was a theatre show, the sermon of Le curé de Cucugnan. It was very cleverly done!
"Below Quéribus is the village of Cucugnan, which had fame conferred upon it by a well-known story, Le Curé de Cucugnan. The tale relates how the priest in the village, alarmed by the lack of faith among his parishioners, conjured up such dreadful visions of hell in a fire-breathing sermon that subsequent visitors to the village were struck by the universal piety of the inhabitants. The story was originally told in Occitan by Achille Mir, one of a group of 19th-century writers known as the "Félibres", dedicated to keeping Provençal culture (or at least a sanitised version of it) alive. It was subsequently popularised by another member of the group, Alphonse Daudet, in his collection of tales of Provençal life Lettres de mon Moulin ("Letters from my Windmill"). This probably accounts for the fact that lots of people think Cucugnan is in Provence. In any case, the village now houses a "pocket theatre", the Théâtre Achille Mir, in which the tale is re-enacted. A ticket for the theatre entitles you to entry to Quéribus, and vice versa. Incidentally, the church in Cucugnan has an unusual statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary."

We had left it too late to get a B and B; a visit to the tourist office sent us through the Gorges of Calamus, (which LO loved, but I realised that I am still a bit afraid of heights!) towards the nearest campsite, at St Paul de Fenouillet.
The Guide Routard suggested the following hotel, and we had one of the best meals I have had in a long time!

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