I began my writers retreat at La Muse Inn on Janurary 9th. It is about 35 minutes away from the city of Carcassonne, up in the Black Mountains. I was travelling by train and John kindly offered participants the opportunity to sign up for a ride package. This meant you got picked up from the station and taken into town or sight seeing once a week. There were two trips to Carcassonne, one into the Cite, which is the old walled castle, and one to Lastours, where the four Cathar Chateaux were high on a mountain top.
I was excited to go into Carcassonne for the first time. It has very narrow streets and passages. It was quite different to my experience in St Malo and Dol.
And of course they come with all kinds of intereting handles and door knockers.
It was great to see so many art galleries in the city.
The architecture in Carcassonne was so beautiful and of such a variery of styles. Also you had to keep looking up as there is so much to been seen on the upper levels. That's where the bells are. lol
The stone work was also incredible.
And this one with the flower pots was very high up.
Down at the outer walls of the ciry I found this wonderful arched gateway.
The plane trees were struck down with a fungal desease that was transferred throught the roots of the trees, and because the trees were planted so close together along the banks, and in these avenues, many trees have been lost.
The unusual appearance of the branches is due to a treatment called pollarding.
Everywhere I looked I saw shutters, open and closed. I love this concept and don't understand why it was never adopted and kept alive in England, or Canada for that matter.
I was surprised that the lady spoke such good English, and was invited to sit down at the window table. She handed me the menu and when I picked it up I was so surprised to see "SUNSHINE" written on the bright yellow sheet.
I felt right at home. As many of you know, I perform for kids as Pamela Sunshine. This was too funny and made me smile.
I told the lady my story as I ordered my smoked Salmon panini.
As we chatted I asked her where she was from, and it turned out she came from Peterborough, a town about forty minutes away from where I used to live in England. The synchronicity I keep experiencing here is quite startling.
John took us all to the grocery stores and the bakery to stock up on supplies for the coming week.
Soon we were off on our way back through the beautiful countryside to our mountain getaway.
The river runs right through the villages in the valley.
Even the villages have the avenues of plane trees.