Apr 9, 2014
After our few days in Oxford we had a day of rest and relaxation before resuming the our task of site seeing in the Midi Pyrenees.
There is so much to see that it's hard to determine our priorities since they depend on the a number of other things that affect the day. For example there is no point going to the beach when the temperature is forecast to be a maximum of 4ºC. As a result we tend to make our plans over breakfast in the morning. We have not bothered with the complex task of long term planning and we are therefore, not disappointed should we fail to meet any of our plans. The primary issues we need to consider are the weather and what we are going to eat
A CAPPUCCINO IN CASTRES
We ordered a cappuccino in Castres and what arrived was something quite extraordinary. I have never seen anything quite like it before and I hope I never experience a cappuccino like this again. It was revolting.
Food poses only a minor difficulty since we only need to remember to purchase enough provisions to see us through more than one day on Saturday since France is shut on Sunday and Monday. With respect to the weather we seem unable to foresee the impact of the French climate on our future plans more than one or, at the most, two days ahead. The weather app that we use on the iPad seems only able to provide us with an accurate forecast under the heading 'Now'. The forecast under any other heading like, 'Tomorrow', can only be taken with a grain of salt. We therefore revert to the old adage of 'red skies at night, etc. etc'. So the weather app for today indicated it would be overcast for the majority of the day but our method of sticking our head out of the bedroom window as soon as we arise failed to find a single cloud in the sky and none on the horizon.
As a result we decided to have a day out in Castres, Lautrec and Burlats. Castres is an attractive town and is made all the more appealing to me, at least, since they are represented in the top fourteen rugby union teams in France. They currently lie in fourth place behind Clermont, Toulon and one other team whose name escapes me. However they have played one more match and need to win the final two matches against Montpelier and Bayonne to remain in the top six. We stopped for lunch in Castres in the main square and with the sun beating down it was just wonderful. A glass of white wine, or two, a salad, 'tarte au citron' and a coffee makes for a very pleasant lunch.
Next stop was Lautrec, just a short distance from Castres. Lautrec is on top of a hill with 360º views of the surrounding countryside. The old town has some interesting streets and at the very top of the hill is an old windmill which is no longer functional. A walk up to the windmill is challenging but worthwhile for the spectacular views. On the way down we came across a group of Japanese tourists with cameras coming out of every orifice. The group leader asked us if is was worthwhile going to the top but they decided against it since their schedule didn't allow enough time. That's one problem that we don't have to think about. There is a small art gallery in the old town, populated in the main by local artists and there is an exhibition of their work in September, 2014. Unfortunately we will be back in Australia by then.
On our return to Mazamet we stopped by Burlats to make a booking at Le Castel de Burlats for dinner on my birthday when we plan to take some friends from Mazamet with us. The village is worth seeing and especially the old castle which is now a ruin.