Sunday, April 01, 2007

Of little pleasures

A special on train fares resulted in us impulse-buying tickets to Toulouse last week. We spent 4 days driving around between Toulouse and Carcassonne in great sunny weather.

The main aim of the trip was Carcassonne, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site! The main aim of the trip was Carcassonne, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site! I’m going through a slight (ok, major!) medieval-fortified-cobble-stoned-little-town-or-city obsession at the moment.

First stop was Albi, birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, home to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum and obviously a popular stop on the itinerary of every Italian tourist this side of the Equator (for some reason there were hordes of Italian tourists there!). Albi was also embroiled (a long long time ago) in the nasty business of a crusade against the Cathars resulting in a bloody history for a relatively peaceful and picturesque town.

As for Toulouse-Lautrec, what can I say? The guy liked to hang out in Parisian brothels. (Check out his work here)

Here’s an interesting Toulouse-Lautrec fact for you – his parents were first cousins! Urghghhhh – not a nice thought.

We stayed in a lovely little hotel manned by a paranoid owner with the memory of a goldfish. He first of all didn’t have our reservations, even though we emailed a confirmation, and then forgot that he asked for a confirmation by email when we called to reserve. He then proceeded to tell us that their Internet connection had been on the blink since who-knows-when and he couldn’t check the hotel’s emails…so why did he ask for a confirmation by email in the first place?

Anyway, some pretty pictures…
This is where Toulouse-Lautrec used to live.

The other side of Albi - pretty huh? (I had to cut out the tall housing commission type buildings that were on the right of this scene.)

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