Day 564 - Rocamadour to Carcassonne – 17 Sep 11

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Day 564 - Rocamadour to Carcassonne – 17 Sep 11
For piccies see

Hi Clo,

Having packed up for the ‘off’ from Le Cormier for the following morning, we were particularly looking for to our last evening meal of crispy roasted Chicken (cooked in the Remoska) and a treat of oven-chips, which dad had bought especially knowing that we could keep them frozen in the campsite’s large freezer. The chicken didn’t seem to be cooking quite as crispy as I had thought, and when dad brought in the chips he realised they were for deep frying and NOT oven. That was our first mistake….. After 1.5 hours the chicken still seemed a little tough and even slightly ‘hairy’ looking, and when I checked the instructions and did a quick translation we realised we had a ‘boiler’ on our hands that needed to simmer for at least 2 hours! What a disaster – lesson - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!

However, to continue, we made it safely to our present campsite – the Adults Only (I can assure you strictly no funny business) Chateaux La Comte at Carlucet in the Dordogne area. Once again a pretty straight forward journey mostly along motorways which was partly ‘peage’. We stopped a couple of times along the way for sarnies and a rest, but from the last one we made a hasty departure. There we were nicely parked up and sitting quietly in the lorry park minding our own business when a van, hauling a double-axle caravan, pulled up beside us and 8 members of a gypsy family spilled out of both vehicles. We didn’t quite like the way they were giving us the eye and walking around the wag and Smartie, so we scarpered PDQ before anything untoward could happen! As dad says, you just have to be aware and alert at all times.

Present campsite has 110 pitches, nice restaurant and verandah overlooking the pool. All pitches are nicely spaced and some within a terraced wooded area. It is the end of their season so things are fairly quiet and we could choose our pitch. The only downside is that the toilet block is a fair old walk away – 1 km!, but there again it gives us a bit more exercise! We have enjoyed time around the pool and have had a sunbathe with no kiddies wrecking the peace and quiet – hurrah, and I even managed to have a good swim, and it’s been nice to stroll along to the bar in the evening for a glass of vino.

We are only here until Monday, so there will be minimum touring going on. Yesterday we drove to Rocamadour, which is a very impressive 12th to 14th century religious settlement perched on a 150m high cliff face above the River Alzou. I think the views on our approach were some of the most breath-taking. Seemingly it is one of the most visited sites in France, and it shows you what we know, as neither of us had heard of it before. Anyway, taking advice from campers we had met up with, we motored to the top, and took the funicular to the mid-level and strolled along cobbled alleyways connected to shrines and chapels. We ascended the Grand Staircase, (Grand Escalier) which was once climbed by pilgrims on their knees, stopping to pray on each step, to the plateau above. Unfortunately, as with all these popular monuments it is littered with the usual plethora of souvenir shops, but it still doesn’t detract from the usual comment of ‘how the hell did they build it!’ Got lost on the way home as Bill forgot to enter the site co-ordinates on Garmin No 1 before we left. Saw some nice French countryside!

Afternoon was spent by the pool relaxing in the sun, but we were alerted to possible heavy rains for tomorrow so have decided that we shall move on quicker than anticipated for the warmer climes of Carcassonne. This site has been OK but it has an ‘end of season tiredness about it’. Not sure if we’d return next year? On second thoughts, no we definitely won't be going back. We tried 3 times to pay our bill but the owner was so tied up in his daughter’s wedding preparations that he couldn’t be bothered to see us. He charges €10 for an ‘Admin Fee’ and couldn’t get our booking sorted in the correct name! €10! What for? For noting an incorrect name in a desk diary and sending a reply to my booking e-mail. Bloody nerve!
He has an air of superiority which is disconcerting and at times just downright rude. He fits into the bracket that we see a lot of in tourist areas – ‘I want your money but not you!’ I’m not really bothered about his wedding arrangements – I’m a paying customer and I deserve the proper and polite customer relations found in reputable establishments. We were warned about this chap at Le Puits by 2 other camping couples who had received the same treatment. No wonder the bar was empty each night with him sitting in the corner with his family group eating a belated dinner. Any attempt at polite conversation was met with disinterest. If you don’t want to deal with campers then get out of the trade!

Anyway, we set off to Carcassonne and were pleased to see the Pyrenees appearing out of the heat haze. The sun came out south of Limoges and it's been 8/8ths blue ever since. The Fortress is the first thing you see at you approach the city and lies about 1km from the campsite. Friendly welcome from the restaurant chef – reception closed 12-1400 – and we have a large pitch with shade, which we need as it's v hot.

Had a nice cassoulet for lunch and after I reversed the wires in the electricity plug, a walk up to the Fortress. Took 20 minutes and the outside is extremely impressive. Inside it's another set of tourist shops and restaurants. We’ll go back for a walk along the ramparts, all 1.7 kms of them punctuated with 52 towers, but it's disappointing to find such an example of a tourist trap.

Drove into the town and checked out the boat trips on the Canal Du Midi for tomorrow. Again, the city is designed for tourism but has a little bit of character and is worth a visit.

Took an evening stroll to capture the old city illuminated, and as you can see, is looks truly spectacular. Eat your heart out Walt!

Our short trip along the canal due Midi was very relaxing, smoothly travelling through the arch of plane trees and through two locks. We did pass the old city, but quite in the distance, and everyone was off their seats snapping away. I must admit that our view from just outside the campsite is far superior and a lot closer. Quite amusing to watch the new holidaymakers in rented boats negotiating the first lock. I wouldn’t do it without an experienced canal sailor!
Checked the internet and discovered that Paul and Jacqueline from Cabopino were coming to Carcassonne and Shirl went off for a tour of the camp and they were checking in! Quelle surprise!

We had a good chat at the pool and supper at our place as they had driven 6 hours to get here. Next day was spent touring the fortress and walking the ramparts. Nice lunch and a quiet afternoon at the pool. Weather still excellent. They gave us a couple of good sites to stay at and we have modified our plan on the way back from Le Lavandou. Great to see them.

Quiet day today getting van admin done for the week on the beach with the ‘hospitality terrorists’. Looking forward to seeing Pat and Maria. Hopefully, Paul and Jackie can join us. They are back in Blighty by the end of Sep so time is tight-ish.

Arles tomorrow for a night-stop and then the beach. Look forward to your visit to Cabopino in November.

All for now


M and D

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