Sunday, 13 July 2008

13/07/08: Gypsies

Today has been a slow day. We got up early again (not six o'clock, mind you, but I still could have slept for another few hours. The shutters on the windows were wide open and the room was painted white. It was near impossible to see for a while. As usual, my parents were already up and about and making no effort to let me sleep. I eventually got up after I regained my sight and they went downstairs for breakfast. I had a shower, got dressed and joined them. We sat in the garden and had a typical French breakfast. After breakfast we packed our things (or at least gathered them together) and packed the car. Said goodbye to Angela and headed on our way. Before we went I took another picture of the view from our window in all its glory now that the sun was out and there wasn't a rain cloud in sight. The mountain that has magically appeared after yesterday's fog is - according to the statistics on Google Earth found by Dad - twice the height of Ben Nevis!

The rest of the day has consisted of slowing driving through France ("taking the scenic route") and stopping every now and then for a drink. We passed through a number of quaint towns and mostly drove up, down, through and around the mountains that make up the Pyrenees. Here are some pictures I took over the course of the day:

I didn't take many photos today - half as many as yesterday - and the ones I did take weren't that great. There were plenty of awesome photo opportunities, but I missed them. It's just been one of those days.

We arrived in Couzia at half three and had yet another drink in the local bar. It was empty apart from two men sat inside watching the Tour De France. The weather is an improvement on yesterday. It's much brigher and there's been no rain, but it's still cool. Hottest temperature that I noticed was 22 degrees, as opposed to yesterday's 30.

After our drink we went to find our apartment. It is called Mode D'artiste and it is a town house which has been turned into three apartments. Our is on the second floor.

There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one with a bath and a sink, the other with just a toilet) and a main room which is half kitchen and half living room. There is a computer as I said, but it's pretty old so we justt took out the broadband connection and stuck it in the laptop. Once we arrived, we unloaded the car and I set up the laptop to finish yesterday's blog after my unfortunate power outtage from the night before. This is when the fun started. Here is the latest story of about my mum. I have one from every holiday. This is this year's.

Mum started to rummage through all the bags and said that she couldn't find her glasses. I joined the search and we couldn't find them. They weren't in her handbag or in the car, the only possible places they could have been. She thought that she'd maybe left them at the restaurant where we had lunch. Neither mum or dad were confident enough to speak French on the phone so they asked the guy who owns the building if he could do it for them. He kindly obligued. The restaurant said they had found no glasses, and then she had another thought. When we stopped the car and pulled up to the river side where the canoists were (as seen in a few of the pictures above), she thought she heard something fall out of the car but didn't bother to check.

"It's just the car! It's one of those cars where, when you open the doors, things fall out!"

I couldn't find the logic in that one either. Mum and Dad made the decision to drive back there. Without taking the "scenic route" that we did, it was only 12km away from here. They sped off and I carried on with the photo editing and blogging. An hour later they returned and Mum was in hysterics. Not anxious/upset hysterics, though, I mean hysterical laughing. I asked if she'd found them. She said (between her laughter), "Yes ... at a price!". Dad came up the stairs and he was not amused.

"What happened?"
"He was kidnapped by gypsies!!"
"Hahaa, what?"
"When we went back to get my glasses, there was this huge gypsy camp in the car park! We started looking around and there was no sign of the glasses, so Dad asked this gypsy couple if they'd seen any. They said they had and gave them to Dad, but wouldn't let him go until he'd given them some money!"

So the glasses literally came at a price. Twenty euros to be exact! We then properly unpacked the cases and had dinner. After dinner I started this blog. The parents then went out for a walk while it's dark. Mum's the only one who's full of the energy to do it - Dad was asleep before she forcibly roused him. They weren't out for long though as it started to rain. Again, you can't tell it's raining in the photo, but this is the view from the living room at about eleven o'clock.

It's gonna be a lively day tomorrow - it's Bastille Day. We plan to go to Carcassone to see the massive firework display. Apparently, there are 700,000 people on an exodus to Carcassone to see these fireworks. It's gonna be a hectic night, but should be brilliant.


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