Valentine in Carcassonne....winter wonderland....

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February 14th 2018
Published: May 6th 2018
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Here we are, the last blog of a pretty amazing one month trip...and now, I'm only 3 months late on blogging!

We start the day very early in Barcelona and drove north to the little city of Figueres. Here, Dali left his Museum while still alive. He designed the place and offered it the to city and the people of the world. You can qualify Dali with a lot of words, mad could be one of them, genius obviously another one. The place is just stunning and we spent a full morning here. Dali was later buried here too. It's a long day and Figueres itself doesn't have much to offer as a small city, so we had a fast lunch and drove North to France.

We could have stop on the way, but today is not about the journey, it is about the destination, I name the very romantic Carcassonne! I have few things on my wish-list, and staying here was one of the top of the list. I have to admit that the same wish-list is getting shorter by the year. This is ok, we are all getting older, and we can learn and discover new places!

L'Hotel de la Cite in Carcassonne is one of those iconic places to stay in the world. The hotel is today a M Gallery by Sofitel....great, this first give me a discount, but also a pretty serious upgrade. Love when the bell boy told me such and such French stars stay in our room....I didn't give him my name card, we are staying! It's low season in winter, and we have the place for ourselves. Trust me, I'm not sure I want to visit the place in August, I simply don't like the crowds!

We had a wonderful welcome at the hotel. Being pretty empty seems to help them to treat us like Queen and King...and yes, the wine vouchers are always welcome! Our room has a huge terrace with short of breath-taking views. We are going to have some serious fun here! We rush to visit the Cathars Castle before they close. Fun thing, being the last one to get in allow you to exit the remparts with the staff through passages that are off-limit to the public. They have the keys, and with few other lucky ones, we just follow them, opening and closing doors with the little few happy people!

For dinner, the trick is to avoid the tourists and go with the local crowd. The hotel has a very nice restaurant, but it is solid expensive, and what we are after today is some truly good creature comfort food. I did my homework and we found one of those special places. It was the 13th of February, and the place was packed with locals...better speak french here!

Tanya went for a cassoulet, which I have to admit, I ate nearly half of it....and I had a pretty stunning hachis parmentier of duck confit with some foie gras, all this with a superbe little carafe of local wine. Credit card was happy...and we had an amazing time!

Next morning, early wake up again. The hotel has put some complimentary Taittinger out for the breakfast, it's Valentine Day! Belated Happy love day to all of you! We decided to walk more the little streets of the Old Cite...than went around for more pictures, and it was already time to get back home.

We went first to drop the car at Toulouse airport...that's just over an hour drive. Next was the short plane to pick up our next flight to Dubai. Being St Valentine Day, it was nice to be both upgraded by Emirates to Dubai. Next, home for few days before heading again on the road, this time across South Africa.

I'm currently only 5 blogs late...this should work over the coming days. Next on my little travel blog, it's golfing time South Africa way!

Additional photos below
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6th May 2018
Cathars castle...

Cathars Castle
Another gem for the Palaces & Castles thread in the Photography Forum...tres bien Pierre!

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