Europe 2012: Day 43 — Castelnau d’Aude

Our last day in Castelnau d’Aude is a windy one! (France)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Woke up at 8am.   It is sunny but there is a cool breeze coming down the alley.

Today is our last day in this house.   What the house could not deliver, the people of Castelnau d’Aude did.   This is a nice and friendly French Village – we are glad we came here.

My DH is tired of driving, so today we decide to do nothing special.   As he caught up on his email and feeds, I decided to go for a walk and take some last pictures of Castelnau d’Aude.  Here are some pictures:

Walking path through vineyards.

Lots and lots of vineyards!

The village square in Castelnau d’Aude, France.

Our rental car “The Silver Slipper” — it slips in and out of traffic on single lane country roads fairly well. As you can see, our parking space is nice even if the house is not. (Castlenau d’Aude, France)

As my DH napped, I downloaded pictures, organized them, and worked on my blog for as long as our internet connection would allow.   I monitored network activity as I worked and found that the connection would just die — like it had been out in the sun for too long!  Very frustrating!  I have not been able to post anything for five days!

Around 2pm, I made us lunch of carrots with white beans and a side of pasta.   It was amazingly good considering it was something I just made up with the ingredients I had!  Here is the recipe before I forget:

  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 4 medium-sized carrots (peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch coins)
  • 1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Salt and pepper

Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil.   When lightly browned, add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds (don’t let the garlic burn).  Add the carrots with a bit of water.  Cook until carrots are almost tender (add more water if necessary to ensure that the carrots and onions cook, not burn).   Add in the beans and cook until the beans are warm.  Add more water if necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a side of pasta (with butter and pepper).  

At 6pm, Bridget came around and we walked to the local vineyard for a wine tasting.   Unfortunately, the winemaker decided not to do a wine tasting today after all– he is working on his cave.  Bridget was embarrassed, but hey — I’ve been to plenty of wine-tastings in my time so I was good!   Fortunately, he was willing to sell me a couple of bottles of Bridget’s favorite wine.  We wanted to thank her and Barry for all their wonderful help and company during our stay here.

At 7pm, we were at Barry and Bridget’s for dinner.  Barry tells us that it was 110 degrees yesterday.  Wow!

Around 8pm, another British couple joined us for dinner.  Pete and Lin just arrived for their French holiday.    Pete and Lin bought the house down the road from Barry and Bridget four years ago.  Both are delightfully British in the manner and humor.  The wine was flowing freely and we all got along well!   Bridget made us Rice Stuffed Tomatoes, Red Peppers with Anchovies, a cheese platter, and melon for dessert.   Lin bought some delicious pork pate with green olives.  I contributed to the meal too, I brought some of my precious Chocolate Eggs from St. Malo to go with the wine and coffee.  Everything from the food and drink was great and the conversation was enjoyable, loud, and absolutely hilarious!

Pete and Lin are retired.   They are spending their days traveling the world and told us that we must, must, must, must take a cruise down the Nile in Egypt — “you absolutely must!” says Pete, “It is brilliant!”.   We told them about our 108-day trip and Pete said “That’s wonderful!   I find that most Americans I know don’t like to travel, so good for you!”  For most Europeans, travel is as essential as school and work.   We talked about American and British politics, the Catholic church (in the context of Ireland and Barry’s uncle), and family drama (my DH and I had plenty of that to share).  Bridget and Barry told us funny expat stories.  The evening was a roaring hoot!

Pete’s big claim to fame is that he is from Liverpool and went to the same school as Paul McCarthey and George Harrison.   He said “I look like Paul, don’t I.”   Actually, he did!   “But truth be told,” he said, “I  was better friends with Paul’s not-so-famous brother, Michael.”  By the end of the evening, the wine took effect and we all begin to sing “She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)”,  “All My Loving”,  and “(We All Live in a) Yellow Submarine”.

Yeah, really — we did!

Sorry that there are no pictures — not everyone wants to be on the web.

It was sad for us to say good-bye to Barry and Bridget.  They turned our stay in Castelnau d’Aude around for us after our initial disappointment of the house.   If it were not for them, we would have left the day after we arrived and we would have missed out on this wonderful village in the South of France!

Quote of the day:  “But you went to school with Paul McCartney for Pete’s-sake!” – Barry to Pete as Pete spilled wine on my DH’s only pair of shorts.


One thought on “Europe 2012: Day 43 — Castelnau d’Aude

  1. I can picture all of you sitting around the table having such a wonderful time with each other…made me smile 🙂

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