Posted by: jimndianne | November 10, 2009

A Dutchman, a Donkey, and 2 Dogs.

10 November 2009 France

After breakfast,  Ron gave us a quick011 look at his property where we were delighted to meet his gorgeous donkey, Jaimine, (or something like that..), which he used for bringing in the firewood and carrying loads up the hill to his house, one of his five cats024 and once again his two great dogs.

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Click on the name, Bourgaille, to have a look at his website. It was well worth our visit to his charming Guest House.

Continuing on past Tarascon-s-Ariege, we located a village named Larnat, also to resist a car from sliding over the edge! This village was just a small mountain retreat with barely a soul around, though we did encounter a tiny, fenced-in and roofed off area containing seven dogs. Hopefully, someone nearby was feeding these poor animals. 039 The picture was taken from the town looking to the main road at the bottom of the mountain. On the way back down a pheasant with the most amazing plumage ran out across the road right in front of us! No chance for a photo opportunity though.

We have, nevertheless, discounted this area as a possible place in which to live. It could be viable as a winter ski base because of the skiing facilities in the area including those in Andorra, Spain, which is only about an hour away. The logical alternative would be to rent a house for, say, a month in the winter during the ski season, then you wouldn’t have the problems associated with looking after a house in extreme winter conditions.

This was to be the furthest south that we would travel so it was time to do an about-turn and continue in a northerly direction to Castelnaudary, in the departement (county) of Tarn, where we planned to look for a place for the night. The landscape changed once again becoming quite flat and uninteresting in preparation for winter. 048Castelnaudary was a pretty little town on the Canal du Midi, and had a really nice feel to it, being compact and friendly and easy to get around. People fed the ducks on the canal and children played games and looked happy. Simone and I wandered up to the Tourist Bureau where the assistant happily gave us lists of the hotels and B & Bs in the surrounding area. The major problem when going outside of the town  to locate these B & Bs is that they are rarely signposted. At the first, after asking numerous locals and going around Laurabac at least three times, there was no-one at home. Luckily, our second choice was at home and it was almost dark when we arrived. Valerie, the lady of the house, was charming, inviting the three of us into her kitchen for coffee while her father and mother turned on the heating and prepared the separate guest area for us, as they were not expecting any further guests until next summer.  With the entire guest house of four bedrooms to ourselves, it was far bigger than we wanted or needed and therefore more expensive than we would normally pay for one night including breakfast, but it was comfortable and warm. Dinner was not available there, so we drove back into Castelnaudary, parked, and wrapped up in our scarves, woolly hats and warmest clothing due to the cold conditions, (I had leggings on under my jeans) went on the hunt for food! Simone’s sharp eyes soon located a nice cafe/restaurant with ambience, called Cafe Le Cassoulet, where we happily enjoyed our meals in the warmth.


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