Southern sunshine & homeward bound.

We’ve had all sorts of weather on this trip, but it’s certainly  rained a lot more than usual, so we were chasing better weather and so headed south east to position ourselves to get to the aire at Marseillan Plage for a night over the next weekend as there were vide greniers in that direction.
From there we then went to revisit Carcassonne, with the beautiful old city full of cute turrets and tiny streets, and loads of tourists and school trips. It’s well worth a stop as it is very pretty, but the prices are inflated due to the tourism.

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For our last french weekend we were basing ourselves around Toulouse, so in the days leading up to it we followed the Canal du Midi inland to Toulouse, really picturesque with the trees and dappled sunshine on the water. We stayed for 3 nights on a campsite in the north of the city, only 15 minutes on the scooter into the centre.

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Toulouse is lovely,  with some great small shopping streets to loose yourself in, little boutique shops, as well as canals to wander by in the middle of the city.  We found the Japanese garden very beautiful, and had a lovely sunny afternoon to explore it.

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This was a huge metal dragon in a corner of the garden, also hidden from sight, but beautifully designed.  This pond (below) has massive koi carp in, Bruce would have loved to get a fishing rod in there!

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From here we made the move towards Barcelona, stopping on the way at the Spanish town of Vic. This town is slightly inland and about 80km from Barcelona, which was perfect for an overnight stop on their free motorhome aire (we have stayed there before in June,  when the hot air balloons woke us up on an early morning run!).
So Tuesday morning saw us up early, and arriving at the aire in Barcelona at just after 10am. For 20€ a night it provides the perfect place to park up, security 24/7,  and only 5 minute scooter ride into the centre of the city. We’d done some more research into places that we’d not seen yet, as we’ve been here so many times. But we  had a great time again – visiting the newly opened Ethnological Museum by Mont Juic, a couple of parks including a very atmospheric one with a great maze in it.

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On one evening, wandering through to the Gothic quarter, we found this wonderful bar set in the old convent, really brilliantly lit at night.

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We had previously been to a great (if a little scummy) flea market at Els Encants, which has now moved due to massive roadworks near the infamous Gherkin building. So this time we managed to see the new market, which was a massive improvement, a great modern building, fitting in well with the Gaudi influence –  crossed with some echoes of the Bilbao Guggenhiem.

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We had a slight disaster this time I the city,  as the wonderful kebab shop ever, that we only just found last trip here, has closed totally,  as the owner has moved to the UK. So we were gutted,  as we’d dreamt about having another one,or two! !
This trip we’ve celebrated Bruces birthday (21 again. ….!) and also 13 years since we first met online – the internet is a wonderful thing! So, to end this trip in style,  we decided to get tickets for the Youth Orchestra of Caracas who were playing at the awesome Palau in the city. This building is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen – stained glass everywhere you look, and a very modernista style to it. We had tickets up high but centre,  although once they were about to start,  Bruce managed to wangle a move, and we used one of the boxes, getting up close and personal with the orchestra,  who were wonderful. They played the advertised pieces which went down  well with the audience , although the ovation went on for quite a while and people started to leave. But to our surprise,  they did with more songs,  Latin American in style,  total change from the classical and truly stunning as they were so into it, taking it in turns to get up and really making it a show. It’s sad that people had left, but more fool them, as we got the full show. 

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After the evening we went back to the van, and then to find supper – in the form of a kebab with  difference  – kebab meat, mixed with rice, then topped with mozzarella cheese and gratinated.  I know this sounds strange,  but it was really tasty!

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The following morning I was, as usual, up bright and early, knowing we were going home….and somehow managed to wake Bruce up…. so we were on the way home at just gone 7am , while it was still actually dark!! Home about 2.30pm, it was great to get back home again – although it’s great to get away it’s also wonderful to return again!

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