Friday, June 10, 2011


On Monday, 5/23, we headed out of Avignon, headed on toward the Atlantic coast, a long, long day in the bus--something over 7 hours.  Our scheduled stop would have been at Lourdes, but the group decided instead on the walled city of Carcasonne, despite my flattering descriptions:  Lourdes as a holy shrine, set in 12 acres of trinkets, vs. Carcasonne, "a medieval amusement park."  Ok, ok, Carcasonne is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, but...
 [maybe a map, though the link may collapse...]

Liz told us the story of medieval Carcasonne, the center of the Cathars, a religious sect not quite Catholic that was the subject of a Crusade/genocide in 1209.  They believed in dual gods, spiritual/good and material/evil, which suggested that " the purpose of man's life on Earth was to transcend matter, perpetually renouncing anything connected with the principle of power and thereby attaining union with the principle of love, [while] man's purpose was to reclaim or redeem matter, spiritualising and transforming it" (see our Wikipedia friend).

And there was that story about the siege, where the heroine in the city fattening up a pig and catapulted it out to the besiegers to show they weren't starving.  An unfortunate statue to her now at the gate:
In any case, there we went.  Past the long line of trinket shops and cafes, winding through the narrow streets, there is the inner keep, a fine castle, but admission was 8 euros, and, alas, the torture museum was closed.


 So, David, Willy and I went looking for t-shirts, shot glasses, and lunch.  We found a nice open-air place, where Willy finally tried a crepe, nutella-filled:
and I had a bowl of French onion soup, which David insisted I should just call "onion soup" here.

Later, walking through a shop full of ashtrays, peasant dresses, bracelets, postcards, sex-position dice, and fake swords, there was the owner's French poodle.  Which David insisted I should just call, "poodle."  Hmmm....

But a fun place, if not quite as historic as it is billed.  Lots of visitors:

While we gathered to wait for the bus.


I think the group concluded I should have called it a medieval mall.

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