Bye bye Pyrenees – Encamp – Carcassonne

That’s it, Pyrenees done, from now on we’re on our way back to England through France. It feels like we’ve only just touched the surface and we would’ve liked to stay a bit longer in some areas to explore a bit more. But two weeks is just such a short time.

After yesterday’s thunderstorm we had a few more during the early morning hours and woke up around 7am to alternating heavy rain and light rain. This didn’t look like it was going anywhere anytime soon. Bugger.

Had breakfast eyeing the sky, packed up, checked out and waited outside hoping for the rain to ease off a little bit. Eventually it did a little, so we took a punt at 9:30 am and hurried off before the next wave of heavy rain hit. All kitted up we braved the rain, riding out of Andorra filling up the last time for incredible 1,14 Euros a litre.

It was wet yes, but somehow we didn’t get any heavy rain. Took the tunnel intentionally this time, only to come out in thick cloud at the other end. Had to drop down quite a bit to get out of the clouds. Passed Tarascon again and then went into unknown territory. The rain had mostly stopped, but roads were still wet. So we avoided the twisties and chose long sweeping corners instead.

Cloud was hanging quite dramatically around the tops of the green mountains, but eventually we left the last hills behind us and once more entered undulating French scenery with woodland, yellow and green fields and small villages. Brief coffee break around lunch time, then the second half of the ride into Carcassonne, just over 3 hours in total, we arrived just before 2pm. The last bit was really quite enjoyable with beautiful views over the vast flatt-ish plain the city is situated in.

Hotel was nicely situated close to the citadel and we could check in an hour early after parking our bikes in the hotel’s garage. Super nice welcome and although the building looked a bit outdated from the outside, the inside was really nice and our room super clean and tidy. And we had air con!!! Yeah. Lugging our stuff up had gotten us quite sweaty once more.

View from the hotel terrasse
Near the hotel, pretty cool old area

Showers and then off into the citadel for a wander. Obviously this was what Carcassonne is famous for and indeed it was very impressive. This thing was ginormous!

Inside its walls were countless narrow alleys with shops, restaurants, cafes in old medieval buildings. It was busy, but we really enjoyed wandering around taking it all in.

Quick stop at the hotel, I needed to change into shorts, it was just way hotter than expected. Then we headed into the city centre to hunt once more for Mojitos, hoping to have a better chance here, than back in Andorra.

Ended up in the pedestrian shopping area having beers instead on a square lined with restaurants and cafes. All they offered was fruit juice, ice cream and beer. Well, okay then, beers it was.

Quite nice for a shopping area

Google helped us find a bar that hopefully had some Mojitos for us. Walked there for 7pm when they opened and it turned out to be a pretty cool tapas bar and yes, they had Mojitos! An pretty good ones, too! Ah, good times. Food was excellent as well. What a nice find. Thanks Google.

Plugg’d bar

Just chilled at the hotel, resting before a long day ahead of us tomorrow riding all the way to Bergerac.

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