Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse

After a fantastic nights sleep where I at one stage actually got too hot we left the B&B and set up camp in 'Camping de la Cite' which is a pretty awesome campsite. Even though the wind is still blowing stongly, our campsite is so sheltered that it is hard to tell that there is even a wind at all. It was definitely much nicer to set up camp when it isn't raining and given the price of the B&B's we might actually do this more often.

The Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse was about 75km away from Carcasonne but that is about a 2 hour drive there and another 2 hours back; the kilometres don't come easily like they do in South Africa. The drive there was very picturesque as we wound our way up into mountainous terrain from the relatively flat areas around Carcasonne; loads of vines and what looks like natural bush. It reminded me a lot of Graskop.

The Cathars were a sect which was declared to be heretics and a crusade was mounted to wipe them out which was duly accomplished but it took 20 years to do so and one of the reasons was that they had dozens of castles like the one we visited today. Personally, if it was me trying to attack these castles; the Cathars would be alive and well today!

You can just see the castle built onto the top of the cliff and the cliff on the other side of the hill is almost as bad. The castle is actually a set of two independent castles, each with their own keep and even now with it half demolished, it is an impressive building.

This was only one of a string of Cathar castles which were rebuilt by the kings of France into border forts and each castle was able to see the two neighbouring ones. In the photo below one can just pick out the one neighbour.

It is hard to capture the height and steepness of the castle but hopefully this gives some inkling of just how steep it actually was.

After visiting the castle we sat and had lunch in the parking lot and watched a couple with their two children, one very young, going up. We were discussing what a mission it must be to drag unwilling two year olds up and around a castle when they all arrived back after only 5 minutes, the wife clearly out of sorts with the youngest. They got in the car and drove off but we saw them about 15 minutes later driving back up to the castle sans youngsters. No idea what they might have done with them!

Heading back to Carcasonne we have decided to stay an extra day here so tomorrow will be a real easy holiday. We thought of everyone back home voting and we're quite sorry we didn't get to cast a vote and we can't wait for the results to come out. I'm desperately hoping for Cope and the DA to make a big impression on the ANC's majority.

On the way back to the campsite we passed through many picturesque towns, this is just one of them!

Getting back to Carcasonne, this is the view from just outside our campsite; tough life hey!

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