24 Mar, 2011, Mallemort
In our 2nd gite, but what a day! Up at 715 to start cleaning; the proprietor of our 1st gite at La Traverse had said he would come at 1000 (although he didn’t seem too happy about it). We managed to finish packing & clean the place (better than we found it) by 945. Took pictures of interior. Owner came at 956, ‘chatted’ for a minute, checked elec meter (supplementary charge 23,80) & wished us bon voyage (or words to that effect).
Hit the road at 1003, trying to find gite in Mallemort by 1700. Stopped for 10 min at rest stop to buy sandwiches (quite good, ham/butter on french bread), chips & little cakes. This was where road crossed a canal, and the rest stop (very new/modern) served boats as well as cars, between Toulouse & Carcassone.
Nearing Carcassone ~1330, I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to drive so far to see the medieval city, when suddenly it was visible from the road. Large walled town on a hill, surrounded by newer town lower down. We will definitely spend a day to see it.
The rest of the drive was routine. Mostly fast, but occasional construction; tools pretty easy to handle, except one 86F surprised us. One more stop for gas near Arles. Girl came out to pump it & asked how much. I wasn’t ready & flubbed my response; she asked “Full?” and I said “Yes”. She asked “Are you British?”, “No, American”. “Oh, where are you from?”, “Washington, D.C.”, “Oh, I lived in Washington for a year. I’ve been back in France for five months.” So we asked her advice on the time to reach Mallemort & best route. She estimated 1 hour (it was ~1540). What a coincidence! So many service stations, it must have been a very low probability to meet an E-speaker, & one who had lived so near us a few months ago. Thus reassured we found our way to Mallemort. Our directions were to get into the village & follow signs to gym/swimming, then past 3rd house before the canal. As we entered the town, the road was blocked because a festival/parade was going on! Unable to find the required sign, we carried on through the town, skirting the closed area, and came almost at once to the gym/swimming sign. A few hundred meters further on was the Gite de France logo & the house pictured in the book. The owner lives next door, with fields behind & orchard on the other side. Close to the road, but screened by tall shrubs & pine-trees. The house is very nice, 2 BR, K, LR (2 din tables) Shower & WC. A nice walled terrace.
Beds appear a little different, but it would take a lot to keep us awake at this point. Forgot to say, we arrived at the gite at 1647. Although I didn’t notice while driving, I was trembling while unpacking, until after S had prepared supper (duck casserole, beans, noodles, applesauce, bread, jam). Now to bed.
24 Mar, 2011, Mallemort
When cleaning the gite at La Traverse, we went all out to leave a good impression. We even scrubbed old mold off the plastic shower curtain, and hung it over the clothesline. While we waited for the proprietor, we took a lot of pictures to help us remember the gite by. It really was a nice place to vacation. Our whole trip plan was validated by that week in La Traverse.
That view of Carcassone was enticing, but we still didn’t manage to get back to see it.
This was our most tiring day so far, one of the worst long drives of the trip. I didn’t realize how fatigued I was getting until we got to the gite, thank goodness! Our original plan to share the driving would have been better, but in the event we got by, though a few days were pretty rough.
By now, I don’t remember what was different about the beds in the Mallemort gite. I do remember that this one was advertised with a washer, but only had a little plastic toy-like washer in the master BR closet. We washed by hand in sink. (1991-06-12)
Dad went in to Cenac next day. You could see Domme from our road! We swept our gite and cleaned it. Man came – we left drove all day and got to 2nd gite. They had a parade to welcome us! This is what it looked like:
< get picture? >
I liked it!