Carcassonne. Wed. 26th September 2018. Most of the authors have left by now, and I enjoy a leisurely morning writing my diary while Carrie-Ann works on the edits of her new book. The hours speed by and it is time to meet Steph and Laurence for our final lunch under the shadow of the Fountain of Neptune. Miriam and Katy complete our table of six – the final remnant.
I am hungry and my chosen dish, smoked salmon ravioli looks meagre, but it satisfies me adequately, followed by a delicious apple tart and cream. I am proud I’ve resisted the rich profiteroles on the menu. We say our goodbyes.
It has been a memorable few days. I’ve got to know my publishers much better as people this time. The experience has been warm and friendly as well as fruitful and satisfying.
Carrie-Ann and I amble down the narrow streets towards the Aude river and spend an hour or so admiring some huge impressive works in the Museum of Fine Art. My favourite is a small depiction of a traveller; it could be St. Peter with rheumy eyes and thick-veined hands. A masterpiece.
We tarry for ten minutes in the Chapel of Notre Dame de la Sante, thankfully devoid of tourists. We savour the tranquillity of the place with its ribbed vaulted ceiling. It marks the start of the Pyrenean foothills path leading towards St. Jean Pied de Port, on the way to Santiago de Compostella.
We find a path along the river to the footbridge across to the medieval city and rest at a wooden trestle table before retracing our steps, sidestepping a potential dog fight between three animals and their owners, shouting French obscenities at each other.
We wander along now familiar streets back to the Rue Arago, stopping awhile to listen to a deafening recital of organ music in the impressive interior of St. Michael Cathedral with its enormous stained-glass window. The instant we enter the door to enjoy the lovely stained glass window and rest awhile in the peace of contemplation, we are surrounded by the deafening sound of an organ. Somebody must be practising. Once my ears become attuned to the din, which pervades my very being, I surrender to the sounds. We don’t wait to the end, and outside is blessedly peaceful.
I don’t feel like going out again for supper, but Carrie-Ann is a night owl, and has taken the key to the casa. She’s been out a couple of hours now. I’ve devoured the chocolate left by our landlady, eaten a banana and had two cups of jasmine tea.