Hopped on the train to Carcassonne, only to find it was hoofing it down all day. We left our mountain hideout, which seems to have it’s own micro climate and ventured into the nearby city. The train from Quillan is only one Euro each way, but be sure to check the timetable as it alternates between trains and buses. We were just glad when the train turned up. The station was closed and shuttered up, the tracks were covered in overgrown grass and wild flowers, it looked very much abandoned. We heard the alarm for the nearby level crossing so this gave us hope, then quite a modern little train came scuttling along the tracks and pulled up outside. Suddenly a wave of locals started to appear to board the train, as if the town had woken up and they had all crawled out from underneath their stones. We’ve found that a lot so far, especially during the two hours that France goes to sleep in the afternoon, but even on a Saturday, you can walk through towns at certain times and it will be dead, not a soul alive except a few cats hanging out in doorways, all you can hear is the noise from TV’s coming from the windows above. Everyone seems to shut themselves away from the world for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
We boarded the train, it was very modern and comfortable, and enjoyed the scenery as we passed vineyards, sections of the canal du midi and the odd quaint little town. This all started to change as we reached Limoux. The surrounding areas started to look more cluttered and run down, passing a few hideous concrete blocks of flats, you could tell we were approaching a city. This is where a strange young chap, in purple hippy trousers and with what looked like a stick on beard, got on the train. Walking down the isle still singing and playing one of those tiny guitars, sure as damn it he came and sat directly opposite me. These chairs were not really laid out very well, and if you both had knees you would find it uncomfortable, unless you were quite friendly with each other. He was a nice chap, he shared all sorts of smells with us on the remainder of the train ride.
We arrived in Carcassonne to find torrential rain. We tried to venture out of the station during a brief period of mild down pour, only to find the polished granite floor that was scattered throughout Carcassonne is lethal in flip flops when it’s wet, and the weather was not going to let up. We decided to get on the next train returning to Quillan and cut our losses. No smelly hippies this time, but there were some loud Americans.
We never made it to the Medieval town, which is around a 20 minute walk from the station, so we will have to try again another day.