Monday, January 5, 2009

The Adventure of the Hour is...

With a telephone call from Molly and Billy, we were on an adventure that placed us on the Spanish border! Off we went to follow the road of the ruins of the Cathar castles northwest of Narbonne (a city whose cathedral is only 1/3 finish after being started in 1272...sounds like some of my handwork projects).

Winding along a road that only cows could have created, we arrived at two of the castles built in the 11th Century at Durban and Aguilar. They were very air conditioned, however, quite fun to wander around. No, the trails were not wide and stone free, and in the U.S. one would not have been allowed to travel without signing a waiver that whatever happens--- you fall off the side of the mountain, an 11th C wall collapses on top of you, or you fall in a hole, it is not the owner's fault.

Following a windmill to the village of Cucugnan, we discovered a Salon de Thé for lunch. Opening the door we knew this was the right place. Only seating for about 20 with the tiny kitchen located in the corner, the room was filled with the sounds and smells of those enjoying lunch. A pumpkin soup, pasta with peppercorns and a local cheese, a selections of cheeses of the region, and finally, a nut filled brownie drenched in a kirsch sauce. The breads were from the bakery across the way with the flour ground by the windmill powered by the valley winds.

Onto the next and largest of the castles of the region, Peyrepertual. The winds were screaming and I decided this would be a great castle for the others to see. After a long hike UP they did not reach the castle being 500 feet directly above them. It is amazing and on a warmer day, I will climb to the top. It was built in the 11th-12 Century also, to guard the border with one ever attacked it. Hummm, wonder why? The Pyrenees shown white from the snows in Spain last week (When we arrived, signs on the interstate warned of snow in Spain! Click on the picture to see the Pyrenees in the background. Look carefully to see the castle on the right.).

The area must be gorgeous in the summertime. I will return---at least for lunch!

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