It's a long. long while since either of us has been on a bus trip. To be honest, I can't remember the last one so we signed up for an "Adventure in Castelnaudary" organized by Léran's Association de Culture et Patrimoine.
We all met up outside the old mairie and we were on the road a bit after 8:30 a.m. Doesn't the village church look handsome in the golden morning light?
I don't know what I'd been expecting, maybe a school bus, or something out of the 1950s but what picked us up was an elegant white motorcoach. Off we sped towards Castelnaudary like kids on a Sunday School treat. Because we were sitting higher than usual--certainly higher than a Renault Clio--meant we could see over hedges and actually glimpse the river in Mirepoix.
The next shot is of us on the boat that cruised us along the Midi Canal for a couple of hours. First, we tootled around the grand bassin: like a large lake and, on this crystalline blue-skied day, looking its absolute postcard best.
A floating bouchon (traffic jam) in August, this time of year the Midi Canal is remarkably tranquil. A few boats were tied up, another followed us into a lock, but mostly, apart from flotillas of ducks, we had this wide bottle-green ribbon to ourselves.
The coach picked us up again as we disembarked and drove us a little way into the countryside to a restaurant we would never have found otherwise.
We started of with a kir, then ploughed into a salade de gesiers, followed by, of course, cassoulet--an especially good version. Red wine, ice cream, coffee and back on the bus for a visit to a pottery.
More than a few us nodded off as we were driven home.