Monday 04 July
From the vineyards of the Gironde and the Garonne, travel eastwards, bypassing Toulouse to Carcassonne in the foothills of the Pyrenées. Stop and admire what is perhaps the best-preserved medieval fortified town in Europe. Later, reach the Spanish border and motor through Catalonia. Once across the River Ter, you'll soon be in Barcelona. (B,D)Hotel: Confortel Auditori
CALLE SICILIA 166-170 BARCELONA E-08013 SPAIN TEL:34932437600
Hotel to Placa Catalunya to Las Ramblashttp://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=Carrer+de+Sic%C3%ADlia,+170,+08013+Barcelona,+Catalunya,+Spain&daddr=Pla%C3%A7a+Catalunya,+Barcelona,+Spain+to:Las++Ramblas,+Barcelona,+Spain&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=41.388433,2.17495&spn=0.014843,0.038581&sll=41.38415,2.177181&sspn=0.014844,0.038581&geocode=FYamdwIdQ0khACnjaF184aKkEjEwz84w2RwgQA%3BFXiEdwId9RYhACFQh-OxC9RAnQ%3BFRVtdwId0ighACmzACEIWKKkEjHoGO0T6p4gbQ&mra=ls&dirflg=w&z=15
6:15 wake up followed by a good buffet breakfast with great fruit salad prunes and figs
. On the bus and rolling at 7:55. We all got to check out one of those strange European bathrooms I heard about on our rest stop. We got off the highway for a Carcassonne panoramic photo op and right back on to see the castle. Unfortunately two lanes of the four lane divided highway was blocked off for construction. So Giorgio had to do a 180 degree six point turn on the two lanes that were still open with traffic at a standstill in all directions. He got a well deserved round of applause and "Bravo Giorgio" from everyone. Chiara I think spoke for everyone when she commented with tongue in cheek “how clever it is to do road construction in July.” We got to Carcassonne a bit behind schedule because of the road construction at 12:35 and left at 2:13. Nancy and I discovered the fort was chock full of restaurants and shops but we found a restaurant fairly quickly Les Cote de Mailles (chainmail). The waiter Nico was very friendly, efficient, spoke English and took our picture as well. Nancy got her best wine value yet at E 2.50 for a 250 ml local red. After lunch we toured some of the fort and it’s in great shape. There’s an entire medieval village in there with two hotels and It’s the biggest tourist attraction in the south of France. On our last rest stop before Barcelona at 4:45 we were beside a beautiful forested picnic area so it was nice to enjoy it. We all had some laughs when Chiara gave us a quick Spanish lesson as we approached Barcelona and we arrived Barcelona at 6:15. We all had an included supper at the hotel and it was good. I can't say much for the local beer though but despite that my Aussie pals finished it off too. After supper Nancy and I went for a walk and saw the Arc de Triomf and accociated area. The Arc is more beautiful than the French one.
Day 6: BORDEAUX–CARCASSONNE–BARCELONA, SPAIN.