Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy, Busy Tourists

We've been very busy tourists this past week with my sister and brother-in-law here for the week. I won't give you a blow by blow description on the days, however, I will give you the highlights of the week.
Peggy and Tony went to Albi to see the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum which is a must see whether you are into his art or not. It's a fantastic museum with a great range of his work, as well as some of his influences, his lithographic stones and some artifacts. Together, we visited the walled city of Carcassonne, hiked up to Cathar castle and massacre site at Montsegur, visited Mirepoix on Monday morning for the market, the caves at Niaux where we saw 13,000 year old drawings, took a drive into the Pyrenees, had a fantastic dinner at the Abbe in Camon, took a drive to see boats go through the locks at Castelnaudary, saw the beautiful brickwork around Mazeres and had drinks at the bar here in Leran. That's just the high points, mind you.
Perhaps the strangest few hours of the visit were in Vicdessos, a small village up in the Pyrenees. We had just visited the caves at Niaux, and unfortunately we were not allowed to take our cameras with us, hence no photographs. (But you could Google it.) We came out of the caves quite hungry and went looking for lunch. At Vicdessos we saw a quaint hotel's restaurant with a terrace overlooking the little creek, so we parked and walked in. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the outdoor table because it was reserved. We walked in, sat down and waited. Not much happened for quite awhile. Our stomachs were growling and the staff was ignoring us. Suddenly, as we were loosing patience, a plate of meat and pate along with a salad appeared. We hadn't gotten menus yet. We assumed it was the appetizer course and soon someone would be along to tell us of our options. We waited and yet no menu or waitstaff arrived. Suddenly, what did show up was the waiter with four pork chops and large plate of white beans with pork bones. None of us were Jewish, Muslim, or vegetarians so we dug in. It was good but we were still puzzling over our lack of choice and the fact we didn't know what we were paying. A plate of cheeses finished off the lunch. Fortunately we had some cash because they didn't take credit cards. We walked out, stuffed and confused. Only then did we see the little sign stating the only choice was the Plat du Jour, viande et legume at 15 Euro.
It's been a great time and we look forward to more visits from our friends and family next year. I credit Nancy with all the great pictures and be sure to click on them to enlarge.


Anonymous said...

Hi everybody, I wish I could be seeing everything with you. It looks like you are having great weather. I can't wait to hear more about it! -Anna

Anonymous said...

Wow! If the places you listed were only the "highlights" must have been some very busy people! You're obviously becoming great "tour-guides" for your local part of France, which is great for your guests!

Luke is glad you enjoyed your "luncheon repast"...since it was the only meal on the menu...and thank goodness you had some cash with you...I don't see doing dishes in a French kitchen as a "fun activity" for visitors! HA!

As always the pictures are wonderful and so evocative of the lengthy history of many areas that were "civilized" before the Europeans set foot on the shores of America. Totally fascinating.

Au revoir for now!