The villages along the trail are quite interesting as well. I hit Lodeve right at the one night when they had a big music festival going on. As soon I realised that I gave up all hopes of a nice Nero day in a gite: of course everything was fully booked and I met a desperate pilgrim who couldn't find any accommodation. Thank God for my tent! Whereas she had to take a long expensive ride to an even more expensive hotel I just hiked on and pitched my tent in the next forest.
|Camping in an orchard|
Camping has become rather difficult and rather uncomfortable. The ground is rock hard with stones everywhere. And of course all the vegetation is only out there to stick needles into you. On my last night I encountered even more adversaries: I had left my underpants outside the tent to dry them. In the morning I just grabbed them and just wanted to put them on - when about 20 huge ants fell out and scurried away all over my tent and inside my sleeping bag. After that incident I was awake.
Lamalou Les Bains was a lovely spa town with gorgeous old villas - and plenty of reconvalescents. Every other person on the street was missing a limb or had terrible burns. I was most happy about the Lidl supermarket and bought way to much chocolate that only melts in the sun.
I couldn't wait to get to Carcassonne where I had two resupply packages. But would they really be there? I had never used poste restante in France before and it had been rather difficult to find out if and how it works. Therefore I was rather nervous when I entered the main post office and asked for my poste restante. The clerk took my passport and disappeared - only to reappear without any package. No mail under my name. My heart plummeted. Luckily I asked him specifically for parcels now. That seemed to be a different matter and he disappeared a second time - and reappeared with one parcel. That was at least a start. I told him that there should be two parcels and he disappeared a third time - and reappeared with my second parcel. Now I was a happy hiker again, especially since I was also able to buy maps for the next section in the bookstore nearby.
Carcassonne is a really beautiful mediaeval city, but I was hot and tired. I decided to spend a rest day mostly lying on my bed and thoroughly enjoyed it. I even found a bottle of wine on the hostel's few food shelf. I have to make a mental note to take more rest days! I still managed to mail stuff away, do my resupply and replace broken gear. Tomorrow I will head out again and I will probably be levitating along the trail in my new shoes...