Monday, May 3:  The 4 Ruins

Today I woke up, not cold. I was glad. Then I got dressed and we all went back down to breakfast. I got the usual, only the roll had chocolate! Outside the window, workers were drilling in the street, which was very loud and annoying. Next we went back upstairs and grabbed our bags, and then went down to the car. It was parked down by an abbey, because all of the spaces nearby were taken up, so we walked down to the lot. But instead of getting in, we wanted to check out the inside of the abbey. Inside, it was very decorated, with lots of marble and gold. I especially liked the pulpit, which was very up high. My mom liked the stained glass, which she said looked like the ones at her school when she was a kid. After that we walked out to see it was raining, so we quickly hopped in the car and drove off. Today we were going to Lastours to see the 4 ruined castles on a hill. The drive was about a half an hour, and we parked above a river. We piled out and looked around.

To climb up the trail to see all four, we needed to go into a building and buy a ticket to go up. We did so, and a nice dog followed us, so we pet it. Then we went inside and up the stairs and out the building, right on the trail. We hiked along, looking at the nice views of the hills and flowers. The first castle took a while to get to, and when we did we looked around. This one had one big tower with only a bottom floor, but I suspect it used to have more. We explored a bit, including stairs that were cut off and led to nowhere. Then we walked to the next one. This one was very flat with no towers, with not very much to look at. It looked like it used to have many separate rooms. Then we trekked on to the next castle. This one was very interactive, with 3 floors. You went up a modern wooden staircase to the inside on the second floor. We took the wooden spiral staircase up to the next floor. It was covered up here, and with a few very thin windows, for shooting out of. Then we went down two floors to the bottom, so find it was just a dead end. Then we went BACK up the stairs BACK down the wooden ones, and ON to the last castle. This one was my favorite, with a boring bottom floor and very dark spiral staircase leading to the top floor. This part was supposed to be covered, but a 1/4 of it caved in, showing you the rest of the castles and the trail you hiked on. I drank some water, and then we walked back through to the building. My mom and brother had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at some. Except, my Mom went in the men’s and and my brother did the opposite (OOPS). By that time we were ready to get back in the car to drive to a new spot, so we did just that.

Our next place to visit was the town of Minerve, which was special because it was built right on a cliff overlooking where two great rivers meet. After a drive we were parked, but had to grab our umbrellas when we got out. I walked up to the cliffside, and looked out. It looked just like it was described to me, very neat. I watched for a while, and then walked out across the bridge into town. It was 2:00, and everybody was starving, so we tried to find a place to eat. After a few denials at a place with a 40 Euro set menu and a place that only sold drinks and deserts, we finally found a quiet little place with good prices. I got a cheese pizza with a Fanta, and my brother got a crepe with Floo water. I didn’t know what it was until he tried it, but turned out to be a slightly carbonated lemon-juniper flavored water. He didn’t find a taste for it, but drank it anyway. I had a little trouble eating mine, because it was a very wet and slippery kind, yet it was worth it because of the taste. Very good! Afterwards, we walked back outside and across the bridge in the rain, and then piled in the dry car and drove home. At home, I read and typed until it was time for dinner. Tonight we were going to eat in Homps, a town not too far away, where we had a reservation for a place at a restaurant on the Midi canal. Once we were in the town, it took a bit to find the place, but eventually we did. It was also a hotel, so we walked past the desk and into the diner.

A waiter showed us our seats, and we sat in them. It was a bit fancier here, so I got the menu that included a salad, a main course, and ice cream. First came the salad. It had a good dressing, but I didn’t like the leaves. I ate it anyway, and then waited for the next course. I got a hamburger steak with a little noodles next. The noodles were very good and creamy, and the hamburger turned out to be a raw steak. I had some trouble chewing it, and had to stop when my jaw started to ache. After that came the best part, desert. I got lemon sherbet and chocolate ice cream. It was very, Very, VERY delicious this time, one of the best. But then we departed, but weren’t going home just yet. My mom wanted to see Carcassonne lit up at night, so we went there. It was about a half an hour in the dark to get there, and just as long to get back. But when we were there, we parked and went to a little bridge facing the backside of the castle. It was very huge and beautiful with the light, and was worth the drive. Then we returned home, and it was even later, 11:30, so I had no trouble falling asleep. We are going to the Chateau Figeac tomorrow! I can’t wait!