Monday, August 2, 2010
Day eight - Castelnaudary
Today we decided to do a shorter trip and set off for Castelnaudary, which is closer to Toulouse and on the Canal Midi. We parked, got out of the car and heard the banging of the drums and not so musical singing from the Moldavian dance troupe, which has been chasing us around the Languedoc. They were performing in the square up the street. After a quick trip to the pharmacy we came back by the same route to hear the bongos of the Ugandan dance troupe. Actually, I thought they were pretty good.
We walked down to a much quieter Canal du Midi and had lunch, which consisted of a salad. The Canal is so beautiful with the canopy of plane trees everywhere. There were a few people having lunch on the boats with the requisite wine as we passed by.
Then it was off to Montolieu, a small town that is all bookshops. There is every kind of book in the shops in the town and Seamus managed to buy two TinTin books, which he didn’t have. Some of the collector TinTin books were several hundred euros. It was really nice to see a vibrant little town with lots of visitors. Many of the places we have been or pass through have the shutters closed and very few people about. The shutters don’t seem to open in the cooler evenings, which makes me think that people are on holidays or the places are abandoned as the inhabitants have moved into the towns.
Tonight we finally ate at the Chateau in their beautiful dining room. It was a set course meal with lots and lots of choice. We both started out with peach kir…very nice. The next course for Seamus was fruit de mer au gratin. I had crayfish, which were very scuttery to eat with not much eating. Actually, they reminded me of the Marseilles bouillabaisse of a few years ago so I won’t be trying them again. Seamus’main course was roast suckling pig with roast potatoes, garlic and olives. It was melt in your mouth good. I had some after eating my roast pigeon that tasted like a mild duck but there wasn’t much eating on it even though I really liked it. Our next course was four kinds of chevre served with honey that you drip on the cheese. There were two kinds of plain chevre, chevre covered in shallots and another covered with peppercorns. And now to dessert. Seamus had tarte tatin and I had profiteroles. Our server asked if we would like an aperitif. Of course thoughts of zucca filled our heads. Unfortunately it was rum with a cherry. I didn’t drink all of mine. Throughout the evening it was interesting to watch the chefs prepare the meals, especially the pigeon, meat and duck in the open fireplace. At last all we had to do was stagger upstairs to our room. Tomorrow we leave the Chateau for new adventures further north towards Montpellier.