Seems like a long journey to get here. Ever since arriving in France we’ve been ‘heading
south’ with the goal of arriving at the Medeterranian Sea. Then the last few days of leaving the Pyrenees was very slow indeed. We tried to take the canal we loved soo much before Tolouse to find that it was only a tiny dirt footpath with lots of large roots as obsticals. We were making very slow headway indeed. Brian was still not feeling 100% and complaining quite a lot. When I looked back at him I saw he was drenched in sweat and very pale. So out to the road and to Carcassone we bee-lined, and the nearest hotel were checked into. Super early (before noon) I was able to do laundry and catch up on internet things.
There was also an amazing medival city high up on a hill that we went for a little walk
through. Climbing up and up the roughly cobbled path you get a feeling of imposing grandure from the massive structure towering above. Walking along fortified walls strung with archer keys I couldn’t help but imagine I was a medieval maiden. (And to help with this fantasy, the nearest shop sells period clothing for both you and your partner!). Cruising through the streets my imagined past was crushed by the tapas bars and screaming children. I do wonder what the history of these buildings is. Built in the 13th Century they’ve seen a lot of changes and different owners. Now they house postcards and toy swords. Sometimes I wonder what of our daily lives will be worthy of the history books…
The next day Brain was well enough to cycle. Thankfully it was an easier day rolling through a nice flat valley with a killer tail wind. Another wine region there were vines all around, but now they are starting to show off their fall colours. Bright yellow leaves, deep scarlet, burnt auburn and green sometimes all on the same property - with each varietal showing slightly different colours. This was very beautiful as most everything is dead and gone in this desert-like landscape.
Olive trees all of a sudden popped out of nowhere! Rolling along vinyards there was all of a sudden there was a building selling ‘huile’ with olive trees scattered around. A strain of bamboo is growing everywhere and cactus’s are making an appearance on the horizon.
Heading as far south as we could we were actually riding along various land bridges with
‘etangs’ (sorry, cannot do the accents. These are little areas of trapped water were lots of wildlife live). The most unique of all creatures that live here are Flamingos! Never had I thought that flamingos were native to France, but they are! Brian thought they would have all migrated by now, but I was able to catch a glimpse of a few!
But finally we arrived. Taking the first side road we could that wasn’t waay out of the way we
went directly to the water to sit ourselves down on the Med and have a picnic. Beautiful! And we had it all to ourselves with just a few locals going for their mid-day walk or run. Now pretty much the rest of our journey will be centered around this body of water as we work our way around the coast of Italy, the islands of Greece, the south of Turkey as well as Israel and Egypt. This ancient travel hub for all the great civilizations and explorers of the past, this lovely warm blue water where Europeans come to winter will be our compass. Staying close for warmth, the solitary sun rises and sets over it’s expanse now that it’s getting late into the Fall. However wonderful it is, the heavy evening dews may actually be worse than England’s rain for putting away a tent. Completely wet inside from condensation in the cool night air, as well as wet outside from the dew, we are always packing a soaked tent. That and the mosquitos are ever-present again. Just had to add a few negatives so all my Canadian friends burried under snow don't get too jealous ;)