This morning we woke up to heavy rain, and boy did it rain! We had a great breakfast in the hotel, and they very kindly said they'd keep a bag for us for the week we are walking!! How nice is that!!
So we packed all the gifts and souvenirs - the 2 paintings!! and the calligraphy!! And the coat!! into the bag we bought in Istanbul and left it in their luggage room. We packed up everything and went and sat down in their spare lounge, near the pool, and looked glumly at the rain, all the while charging our e-devices ;-) I had a coat with a hood but its not really waterproof, and Jim doesn't have one at all, and we had no umbrella, and it was a Sunday....
We stayed in the hotel until about 12.30, then the rain seemed to ease so we ventured out looking for lunch.
This is the square where the fantastic show was the previous night
and you can see that not only is it wet - there's no people!! Everyone was indoors, and most of the shops were shut, so a sad looking town indeed!
We did lunch at a very nice bistro on the main street, and I had the fantastic french fries with a steak, and J had a vegetarian pasta. Nice and warming!
Then we got our bags from the hotel and hot footed it to the train station to meet up with our guide and the rest of the team.
We did eventually manage to find everyone - Julien our guide and Angela, one of our walking teammates, and J and I - just a small group. Janet, our other team member, was currently lost in France on a train, expected into Foix around 11pm. Julien had a van so we hoiked our bags into that and set off for Foix, about 2 hours away.
We drove through the rain and past the Midi Canal, scene of our glorious holiday in 2008, and though we never came to Toulouse on it, Rick Stein did!! At that time, we had picked up the canal lower down, at Castelnaudary, so had not visited the waterside here.
We eventually came into Foix. Here it is on google maps so you can locate the area. Yes, that is the Mediterranean off to the right.
This is the area we walked in, and every couple of days we went closer to the Med. Also you can see how close the Spanish border is - the Cathars and the other recidivists of the time were initially supported by the kingdom of Aragon - the border was much further into France at that time. After the castles fell, many were re-inforced by the French king and set as border watch posts. More on that later.
Arriving in Foix, we checked into our hotel. Julien then suggested a walk around the town to look at it. Foix is built along a river, L'Ariège.
We went back to the hotel and unpacked, and had a brief rest before dinner. Dinner was nice, not exceptional, but pleasant service. There was a very nice vegetarian buffet as hors d'oeuvres. After dinner we went to bed, with the river running outside our bedroom window.