Apr 12, 2014
We decided to see the Viaduc du Viaur today but stopped at Albi on our way towards Rodez.
Markets are everywhere on Saturdays and we have finally realised that they are designed for people to buy things. There was quite a while when we thought they were just there for tourists to gawk at and have a coffee somewhere close by. There are four markets in Albi on Saturdays and we decided to go to the covered market not far from the Cathedral. The building is most interesting and it is a beautiful market and maybe just this one was designed for tourists although we did buy a number of provisions because France will close tomorrow and Monday as usual!
The weather has changed and it seems to be heading towards springtime. With this change of weather it has been possible to see the sun for most of the day. This has caused me a lot of confusion. When I look at the sun my brain goes onto autopilot and assumes that West is on the left side and East is on the right side. This is the way God intended things as far as my brain is concerned. So imagine my surprise when the sun appears to rise in the West and set in the East. I have yet to train my brain that in the Northern Hemisphere the sun is in the South and as soon as I get to that stage of realisation the world order will be restored. In the meantime, coupled with Jenny's early stages in the art of map reading, it is playing havoc with our navigation.
When the markets close at midday the restaurants open so there is a short period of time when it is neither possible to buy things nor eat. This period is usually taken up by trying to decide which restaurant to select. As usual Jenny found a typically French restaurant which looked suitable for a light '10€ formule'. It was OK except for the fact that the proprietor was English. The lunch was really good but it was interrupted by a period of fifteen minutes of Jenny's uncontrollable laughter. Sometimes in the morning I skim through The Age so that I can see what heinous things the current government is doing. This morning I noticed an article that mentioned some people in America were growing vaginas. Now this is a serious matter for those who don't already have one but I happened to mention this to Jenny and she conjured up an image of fields of vaginas in the Mid West of America being harvested no doubt in the springtime. For reasons that escape me Jenny burst into laughter. This was aggravated when I mentioned that it was possible to print body parts. Jenny then conjured up images of people with pictures of limbs where the real ones were missing and this just prolonged the laughing fit. After fifteen minutes Jenny felt it necessary to visit the 'toilette' as a precautionary measure.
Fortunately we left the restaurant without incident and traveled onto the 'Viaduc du Viaur'. This is a bridge that was built by the French in 1902 and spans the Viaur valley. At the time it was the highest bridge in France but it has now been overtaken by a couple of others. According to my research this viaduct was a significant feat of engineering partly because it had to span a wide valley but also because the design was revolutionary. Instead of the typical arch construction the bridge is made up of two separate segments which are cantilevered and they meet in the middle where there is some sort of hinge. It is certainly spectacular and currently there is a lot of work being done to repair or restore the bridge. A little further from the bridge there is a new viaduct used for road traffic whilst the old bridge is a railway bridge and I am not sure whether or not it is still functioning. It is well worth a trip especially for anyone with an interest in engineering.
On the return to Mazamet we stopped by a small village called Vieux which is not far from Gaillac, a wine producing region. Jenny is always keen to visit places where we can buy ceramics and we stumbled across the Poterie Bel Air and the ceramicist, Florence Racine, who produces some beautiful objects. We would have liked to buy many more than we did but it's always going to be difficult to get them back to Australia. They are now on display in the living room in Mazamet.