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Saturday, 17 October 2009

Come on with me cruising down the street, who knows what you’ll see who you might meet

Gruissan, south of Narbonne is a pleasant coastal town and in the windy weather we’ve had, strangely reminiscent of Scotland, with its ruined castle, lagoons and craggy hills. The walking on these limestone hills is more spectacular than their size might suggest and the views over vine yards and the Mediterranean are marvellous. The photo is in a shelter for hunters, but welcomed by two non-hunters on a breezy day.

We took the bus into Narbonne for the afternoon and strolled around the narrow streets and along the tree-lined canal that runs through the centre of the town. We saw more people in obvious poverty here than anywhere else in France; an elderly woman in black asking every passer-by, ‘Avez vous une cigarette?’, a group of men in one of the squares drinking beer, other men on their own, sitting on the ground with their dog huddled next to them and a busker; not a music school student busker, earning some extra cash for his gap year, this was a busker playing a couple of tunes on a cheap recorder. This active street life reminded us of people you see in Preston and we felt at home in Narbonne.

The weather has changed dramatically in the last week and for our day out in Carcassonne we had to put away the shorts and dig out our long trousers, as the strong wind took the warmth out of the sun. It is impossible not to have high expectations of Carcassonne and the scale and splendour of the place is impressive, which even in October is full of tourists.

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