Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's almost Christmas and I haven't had time to shop for presents...

I will be at Rota and Moron, Spain all week this week for work. A co-worker and I will stay around for the weekend to see the sights of Sevilla. After I get back, I will be back at work for half a day, then I will be away again for 4 days to visit schools at Vilseck, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Schweinfurt, and Bamberg – all located in the Bavaria region of Germany. I will then go back to Seattle for the holidays for two weeks, which will be a much needed break.

I will be posting a majority of the pictures from my trip to southwestern France during the Thanksgiving week, at a later date. We visited Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Toulouse, Nimes and Pont du Gard. Just as a preview, the following photos are shown:

I visited Carcassonne back in summer of 2002 with six other backpackers, all family and friends. Back then, Carcassonne was a short stop to see the rebuilt fortress castle on our way to Collioure and Barcelona. This was the only time that we were lugging our backpack while sightseeing. We were all very tired once we made it up to the grounds of the fortress. This is probably why I don’t have many pictures from that first visit. The first picture is Jimmy Jam along the ramparts of the castle from the 2002 trip. The second is of me in front of the castle taken during this last trip. I was not prepared for the cold and blustery weather.

Carcassonne, July 2002

Carcassonne, Nov 2008

The heart of the cassoulet route goes thru Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, and Toulouse. We had cassoulet for dinner at Carcassone, lunch at Castelnaudary the next day, and dinner in Toulouse later that evening.


Along with these three cassoulet meals, our first lunch at Carcassonne was also a bean and meat entrée.

carcassonne lunch

So, it’s no wonder that we came across this sign at a bar in Nimes. But we managed to be civil, because we were in the car for a good part of the day driving from Toulouse to Nimes after the 3-day bean casserole indulgence.

Nimes bar warning

The last day and half were spent seeing the sights of Nimes, including the well preserved Roman amphitheater, and the magnificent and also well preserved Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard.

Nimes Roman amphitheater

pont du gard aqueduct

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