Blogs from Midi-Pyrénées, France, Europe - page 4

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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Saint-Girons February 9th 2019

Next time we see an Aire right in the village, need to look where the church is. In Castelnau-Durban, it was just across road - and its clock struck EVERY hour, all night. As did another clock, 2 minutes out of sync! Ad on a sinhle "bong" for the half-hour from one of them, and between 23:00 and 08:00 we had (I think) over 120 chimes while we were trying to sleep! Decided to look for an actual campsite next, as we needed to wash some clothes. ACSI site at St Girons was open, so although nearby we decided that would do. Really peaceful, and a pitch that was a real suntrap - spent the afternoon sitting OUTSIDE in warm sunshine! On the wa, we'd bought two chicken breasts from Carrefour, so we roasted them in ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Foix February 8th 2019

Woke to a beautiful morning - real contrast to yesterday's rain - so went into the town (Quillan - remember?) one more time, for a couple of bits from shops and a farewell coffee at Le Terminus (which incidentally is named for a railway station that no longer exists - tracks are still there, with a piece of wood across them to allow access to the Aire). Also tried to find out the significance of the date, 17 March 1912, on the otherwise unmarked statue of a girl holding a torch (or taking a selfie! - see picture). Any ideas? TIO was shut. Set off into the Ariège dept, but decided the main roads around here are "interesting" enough, without exploring villages in the mountains, so we'll leave that little project. The mountains around us continued ... read more
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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Albi December 28th 2018

For the second edition of this lantern festival they made it larger and bigger. So we were told, since we didn’t visit the 1st edition last year. This festival is so popular that tickets have to be bought in advance and we arrived 1h30 before opening time. We were at the beginning of the line which turned out to be very long behind us. Last year, 250 000 person braved the evening to see it. It is a display of light ‘sculptures’, a tradition in the province of Sichuan (China). It is really impressive and beautiful. It makes up for a enchanting evening for everyone, young and less young alike. It is very hard to describe so I let you have a look at the pictures. Pour sa deuxième édition, le festival des lanternes s’est agrandi. ... read more
me and the Palace
chinese man along the road to the Palace
the back of the Palace

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Tarbes December 27th 2018

Decent night's sleep, if a bit chilly because we didn't keep the heat on overnight! Very pleasant stopover, but only 2hrs of electricity was included in the 10€ admission, so we just used that for the oven chips and a bit of battery top-up. But good to hear birds singing in the morning - except that their idea of "morning" was about 04.00! Reminded me of ATC Camps, and a certain Sqn Ldr who'd say to the cadets on arrival, "This week, you will learn that there are two 5.30's in a day! (you know who you are GR) Next time we woke up, it was a slightly more civilised hour. Light breakfast, then topped up the water etc, and set off about 10.30. Having decided not to drive in the dark unless we had to, ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées November 20th 2018

The journey from Barcelona to Perpignan almost started with getting on the wrong bus (detrimental mistake avoided). I shut my eyes for the last 20 minutes of the ride and woke up an hour and 15 minutes later to a woman yelling. We hadn’t moved an inch from when I initially shut my eyes. Whatever the woman said convinced the driver to pull off the ramp and try a different route. Twenty minutes later, he pulled up to a tollbooth with 5 to 10 individuals with yellow vests blocking the lanes. The driver said something and people started getting off the bus. Thankfully, a passenger told us anyone wanting to go to Perpignan had to get out here because protesters had shut down all the roads coming into the city. We immediately jumped off and ask ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Saint-Cirq-Lapopie October 18th 2018

Go on you know you want to do it! Say it - Cirq Lapopie - you know it will make you smile. Lapopie makes you grin from ear to ear in a way that saying Milton Keynes or Rotherham doesn't quite do. It is one of those communes in the Lot department of south western France. A member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France - the most beautiful villages association. Dotted round France are many of these beautiful villages as well as Villages Etape where local produce is sold and Villages that are flowery . I had read a lot about Saint Cirq Lapopie and decided without doing much research that that was where we were heading to today. It is sited on a steep cliff 100 metres above the river Lot and is ... read more
A glimpse of Saint Cirq Lapopie
The medieval heart
Look what we missed

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Mirepoix October 9th 2018

What makes the perfect town? A good well designed empty motorhome spot?. Mirepoix ticked that box. An easy walk into town?. Ticked box again. A lively busy environment ? It certainly delivered on that one. It needs an interesting square full of jaw dropping camera opportunites. Mirepoix was still delivering in bucketloads. Shops including a large Super U ? Of course they were there. A gatehouse ? We found that down a backstreet. And how about a brocante a Sunday tat market? Yes that was there in Mirepoix too. There was nothing missing . We even were treated to an organ grinder and a box of amazing cakes. After a very wet and sleepless night accompanied to the sound of thunder and heavy rain and the light show we had made the initial decision to drive ... read more
some of the old buildings in Mirepoix
Mirepoix
Half timbered pastel pink Mirepoix

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Ax-les-Thermes October 8th 2018

So that is us finished with Spain. The heat just got to us and the fact that there seemed little to do in the small towns that we thought would be interesting. A lesson perhaps learned the hard way. Never expect the weather to be exactly what you think it will be and never keep going back to the same country. At some point you just run out of things to see and do. I am not saying that Spain disappointed but it could have done better . C+ rather than the B I had hoped for. So where in the world is Gabby the motorhome. She is on a camping site near to the town of Ax le Therme. It is blooming cold and rather wet. I know it is a mistake to wish for ... read more
Salubel fountain
Cuidid Rodrigo
details from the church at Cuidad Rodrigo

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Saint-Jean September 19th 2018

MELTDOWN. No, not Chenobyl , or a nuclear plant in Japan. This one was all mine. As those of us have the dubious pleasure to know, anxiety attacks come at the most unexpected times. My latest one popped up at 12.58 last night. These are quite irrational fears or reactions to things that usually never happen, but it’s very real at the time. I put mine down to jet lag, airline food, making sure I don’t miss my train , even though I have 2 alarms set at 5 minutes apart, or the vegan meal I ate for dinner last night. The room I had was also very warm with no way of cooling it down. Another thing I hadn’t noticed until I went to close the curtain at bedtime, was that there wasn’t one. Normally ... read more
The Ticket To The Unknown
A Little More France In The Form Of A Crop
A Trainload Of Pilgrims. It was a quiet trip.

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Boutx July 23rd 2018

The journey to Cabrispine May have been 200 miles, but it had gone smooth, and due to it not raining or being cloudy, it was still light well after 9 pm, so I could pitch easily. The first layby I stopped at, I was unsure about, as it didn’t seem clear enough for me to pitch. Then while I stood pondering, a motorhome full of kids parked up, and reversed pretty much into the back of my truck, so that decided that, and I moved on. The spot I did stop at was perfect, as it was on the inside of a switch back, and was only big enough for my truck. Of course, what I didn’t realise was that above me was another, bigger lay-by, which filled up in the morning. Again I will say ... read more
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