We had a late morning getting out of the flat, and Prades. Bubby and daddy had to scout out les Moules )(mussels) for later and salami and cheese for les baguettes. We finally set off for the two Cathar castles/strongholds nearest us. They are Queribus and Peyrerpertous. All Cathar castles are perched on impossible tips of rocky mountain ledges, to keep Rome from interfering in their rather austere beliefs (they refused to bow to the cross, for starters). And when caught out by the the Inquisition, they chose to die by fire, to the last, rather than renounce their beliefs. You have to have some admiration for that. Well, anyway, a fog of all fogs poured over the mountains and down through every crevasse, enshrouding Queribus in an impervious blanket of weather. As we lunched in the parking lot, we had visions of small children hurtling to their deaths over the slippery ledges in huuricane force winds..and drove sadly away down the freshly graveled, hairpin'd, one lane, 15 degree inclined road toward Peyrerpertous. in hopes of better luck.
More fog, but let's go. We hiked up and up steep slippery, marble steps and rock with only a ha ha ha rope attached to the cliffside for comfort. We did, howeer, find the mod cons, a toilette or rather a medieval hole by which you may accomplish two things relief and shitting on your enemy..quite convenient (again, sorry to Kathryn Olden for the language). Monsieur le Bubby checked it out for pooping possibilities. Very spectacular in and of itself. No one was getting up there. But the view was completely obscured..the fog however was pretty romantic. These two castles are set in a wonderful valley..similar to the one containing the site of Tautavel (to which Mama made the crew return later in the afternoon). It is as if you landed in some combination of the california desert mixed with a little Santa Fe and then crazy white rock jutting out from the impossibly steep hillsides. I want to live there forever. Steve Dixon you would appreciate. The whole of the valley and steep steep hillsides are covered with vines: Corbieres, Tautalvel, Maury, Peyrerpertous., Cucugnand, Latour de France and on and on.
Back in time for a dinner of Moules and sardines with octopus salad on crusty salt n peppa baguette.
Our house here is really the classic french flat. You enter up two stairs directly off the street into a foyer. The stairs take you to the first floor which has the kitchen and living room with stairs leading up to the second floor.. This floor has one twin bedroom, a toilette, a separate room for a shower/bath and then a second bedroom. The another set of stairs lead yet upward toward a third bedroom, a laundry room and the outdoor rooftop patio, where we endeavor to eat dinner whenever we can. Tonite it was a lead in with toasted baguette with olive oil/salt and pepper with a red pepper covered goat cheese. Then calamari and artichokes with lemon butter. Dinner is then two types of fish toppped with shrimpsteamed with red, orange and green peppers, garlic, red onion, Pastis, white wine and butter; oven fries and fresh spinach salad with egg. Oh, baguette and Tautavel wine. My god, we eat so much but we don't care.
There is a little boulangerie/Patisserie to which we send Ruby and Henry every morning to buy pain auy chocolate and pour daily two bagueetes which we slice lengthwise and stuff with salami, butter, camembert and sometimes fig jam, if Mama's making them. The town is so small that the two older ones have a lot of autonomy and we can send them out on errands for heavy crème, toothbrushes, bread and Rubes uses them as fodder for photography, so it works out for everyone.
Modd came back from the market wit some hip dark glasses and Doctor Doolittle with Eddie Murphy (2 E), thankfully, it wont play in les Etats Unis...joy...
A Note: apparently we didn't wear out our welcome too badly at the gite for we will be returning there either tomorrow (Friday) or the next day for our last days in France. We missed it too much. So this also means we ll have wifi (those older kids just might live)