Tuesday, 6th September Day Twenty-one – Carcassone to Narbonne Plage
Another early start but this time to avoid the intense heat of the bedroom, let alone the midday sun!
I am scratching from some overnight attackers of the bed-bug variety and haven’t had a lot of sleep due to them and the sound of the fan we needed to keep the temperature bearable. It was much hotter inside the room than outside in the corridor, even with shutters closed and the fan working overtime.
A bad night for both of us and not one I would care to repeat – although the hotel owners were delightful, energetic and tried to be helpful – but they are working with sadly bad material!
We did the usual due diligence on our phones, appliances, maps and the predicted road route before setting out from Carcassone towards Narbonne .
This road, the N113, passes through Conillhac Corbieres, a town well known to Husband as he spent a holiday there in 1971, that is if you can call breaking all the skin on your hands and nearly cutting off your thumb picking grapes any sort of a holiday? Nonetheless, he fondly remembers his trip with some fellow students from University Hall Buckland, and we went to the trouble of finding the little house that he stayed in – totally changed,as is this once sleepy little village now it is dissected by a truck route.
Before this we travelled through Trebes, another small village with a very narrow centre and many traffic calming slaloms. Having noticed a large camion approaching close to the back of the bike I decided to wait at the outskirts to make sure he had got through safely. It was worth the wait , ten minutes later my Husband appeared followed by the huge yellow camion, close behind which was a red lorry, then a larger blue one, a white van and finally another of the special big camions, all driven by frustrated looking Frenchmen!
Just as the first motor cars were led by a man walking with a red flag to keep their speed below 5 miles an hour this entire cavalcade of camions was being held at a 20 miles an hour pace by a Brit on a bicycle!
I enjoyed the spectacle so much I forgot to take a photo!
In the days of the Roman Empire Narbonne was the administrative base for the Roman Army in Galia and there are Roman artefacts on view around the city, including what could be Roman pillars in the centre of the roundabouts on the route out to Narbonne Plage.
A spectacular Phoenix from the Ashes the original church was ruined by a fire in 441, after which it took 37 days to demolish those parts of the basilica that had escaped destruction. Then a Latin basilica was constructed by Bishop Rusticus, who was encouraged in his work by the Gaulish prefect, Marcellus. The basilica was finished on November 29. 445. (I wonder where they found these definite dates – I guess the Romans were super efficient ?)
I am so pleased that John has achieved this – he can be equity proud of himself, cycling for nearly a thousand kilometres’ ( probably more including all the wrong turnings), keeping the brave bike in one piece, and the car, our marriage has taken some risks, but we are still a team and we made the journey work together notwithstanding our need to squabble.
Before going to our hotel we had an all important visit to make – to the Mediterranean Sea to complete our coast to coast experience. Husband has to swim in the surprisingly cold sea at Narbonne Plage!
We are staying in Appart’City Narbonne, 18 Boulevard General de Gaulle 11000, which has its own laundry – so much as I wanted to visit the Cathedral we have no clean clothes – so guess how I have spent my afternoon?
This evening we had the best meal of the trip in a restraurant called Co in the market square by their beautiful Halles. Only a little glass of champagne as we have a lot of driving tomorrow but a good night celebrating a job well done!
Tomorrow I will do a summary of statistics, and our highs and lows of the trip – but essentially this is it Folks, the journey across France is complete – and I am now on holiday…!!!