Saturday, December 8, 2012
The morning sun just peeping over the mountains. The first bus load of eager Chinese tourists arrives in the car park. They're followed by a Nissan 4x4 containing four young ' folkloric ' men dressed in armour . By the time the young men have strapped on their swords and picked up their shields the car park has welcomed two coaches of Spanish school children and at least forty cars . Even in bleak mid-winter Carcassonne is what you might term a tourist magnet.
The young men process with their swords, drum and banner into the town. They're followed by the coachload of bemused Chinese . By the time they reach the top of the hill the , by now , animated Chinese have an air of great expectation. Outside the church the procession stops and the young men beging hitting each other with swords. The tourists are suitably impressed. Two mock decapitations and it's not even seven thirty. Five Euro notes are collected in a tambourine. The young men head off for an espresso and a breakfast croissant.
The hotel a huge exuberant affair. Built in Victorian times when huge exuberant affairs were all the fashion and heating oil cost a cent a gallon. Over dinner Angus notices that his legs below the knees are permanently frozen while everything above the knees is in the tropics. Draughts ! No wonder they don't build them like this anymore.