Europe 2012: Day 39, Castelnau d’Aude

View of the village of Castelneu d’Aude, France. The village may be small, but the people are great!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We woke up at 9:30am.  It was sunny and breezy.

I downloaded my pictures from my camera onto the laptop.  I attempted to work on the blog but no luck – the internet connection was miserable.  My DH made himself some eggs because I am determined to get a blog posting out.   After an hour of internet frustration, I gave up and kicked myself for not spending the time with my DH instead.  I hate it when I allow technology to rob me of my time.

More about the house.   The bedroom is nice.  It is light and airy and the bed is comfortable.   Only complaint we have is that the floor slants significantly downward from the front of the house to the back.   The bathroom has the same problem.  I find that I need to hold on to things when I walk through these rooms because I never know when my foot will land.

The bedroom.  Not bad, but the sloping floor makes me dizzy! (La Petit Reve, Castelnau d’Aude, France)

The bath. Not bad, but the sloping floor makes me dizzy here too. (Le Petit Reve, Castelnau d’Aude, France)

At 11am,  Bridget came by and asked if we would like to go for a walk.   We said “Yes!”  The sun was out and the air was crisp.   She showed us a walking path through the vineyards and around the village – something my DH and I can do on our own.   We ended up at the cemetery – a quiet place of stone with a real, but small, Roman temple.   I didn’t bring my camera so I guess we will just need to go back.

After the walk, Bridget invited us to her house for coffee, it was just down the street from us.   From the outside, Bridget and Barry’s house looks like any other stone house on the street.   But the inside – neat, fresh, and modern!   The stone walls give the only indication that this building was previously used to house horses.  They have been working on this house for 12 years.  It has been split into a number of levels.   You enter the living room, walk up some stairs to the kitchen and straight out onto the terrace overlooking the street.  If you take the stairs down from the living room, you have a bath, two bedrooms, and storage.  Down a few more stairs and you have a game room and a garage.  My DH asked to switch houses!  They politely declined.

It was interesting talking to Barry and Bridget.   Both moved here from England – she is a retired school teacher, he decided to retire early.   Both loved their visits to France and decided that this was the best place to live.    They admit that this is this not the richest village in the area but they find it to be the friendliest (not all villages are welcoming to foreigners apparently).   Both speak enough French to get by and seemed to enjoy conversing with us.  “You don’t really get into too many deep conversations about life and current events here,” said Barry.   “It is nice to be able to converse in your native language.”

We talked about what life is like living in France.  They say that they really haven’t figured it out yet.  But they do find that working with any French government agency is inefficient and unpredictable.   I mentioned that I get the impression that most places of businesses are understaffed.   They agree, “You really don’t need to work here,” Barry told us.  “If you come from a small village where there is no work, you get a monthly allowance.   If you have children, your allowance is more.   If you decide to stay in the village, you get that allowance for life.”   Barry told us the story of a young 19-year old in the village when he first moved here.   He asked the young man “What do you do?”   The young man looked at him blankly like he did not understand the question.   Barry decide to be more clear and asked the man, “Do you have a job?”   The young man looked at him and said, “I have a motorbike, I have a girlfriend, I have food, I have the beach, I don’t have time for a job.”

Barry has lots of funny stories to tell about the locals, service people, and the government.  He is writing a book about it.

Around 3pm, Bridget put out a little lunch of bread, salad, cheese, veggies, and wine.  We talked more.

After a tour of the house, my DH and I left our hosts around 5pm.   We drove in to a town named Homps and had dinner at a local restaurant.   I had a salad with salmon.   My DH had a salad with ham and cheese and a couple of deep fried pork rolls.  The food was good but not exceptional.   We took a brief walk by the canal before going home.

Nope, we didn’t see any sites today.   I didn’t snap a single picture.    But it was a unique day for us – we had a conversation with people other than ourselves – what a welcome surprise!

Still not liking the house.

Quote of the day:   “I’m getting dizzy here!” – DH as he walked down the sloping floor in the bedroom.


One thought on “Europe 2012: Day 39, Castelnau d’Aude

  1. Maybe if you drank more red wine the floors won’t be sloping so much……hehehe. Place looks quaint even the kitchen/dining room area. That is strange….2 gas burners and 2 electric. I have never seen one like that.

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