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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Scenes of Toulouse

Back in February, my younger brother visited and we decided to spend the day in Carcassonne.  The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze, and the crowds all seemed to have stayed home that afternoon.  We were sharing the tiny, walled, medieval city with just a hundred or so other tourists.  The city sits up a bit on a hill, and while I was content to just wander along the streets and stare down the ramparts at the landscape far below, my husband and brother wanted to do some more aggressive exploring.  Rocky, craggy paths led steeply down and away from the main walled city, to the surrounding neighborhoods below.  While the rest of the streets and walls are fairly well-kept for the tourists, these craggy access-ways, no doubt part of some old system to haul supplies up to the city, were clearly not meant for the casual visitor to traverse. 

My husband and brother disappeared down one of these steep ravines, leaving me to wander along the narrow streets above.  Slightly annoyed already at being left alone without our supply of snacks when I was hungry, I just rolled my eyes when I heard them calling up at me to come join them further down the rocky hill.  But they persisted and I angrily huffed and slid my way down the rocks, sliding on small stones. 

Part way down, we found an outcropping of rock--just enough space to sit on and enjoy our lunch.  Although we were in a narrow, ravine-like alley, the sun was angled toward us.  We passed around the Camembert and salami from my brother's backpack, and tore off hunks of baguette.  It was quiet at this distance from the town and we had a gorgeous view of a little river below us.  Pretty soon, a few small green lizards appeared to stare at these curious visitors who had suddenly usurped their sunning spot.  We stayed quiet and restricted our movements, just to see how many of these little guys would creep out of the shadows.

Far, far above us, as we basked in the sun and air and enjoyed our simple lunch after being so hungry, we heard a voice cry, "Bon appétit!"  Craning my neck to see above me, I saw the head of an older man or woman, peering at us from over a high wall.

"Merci!" we shouted back.  

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