Our parking place for the night turns out to be quiet and dark after all. Even though we are right next to a road, there was no traffic at all during the night. And no lights near either, so from those perspectives we had a good night. The fact that it was very warm and that the bus leaned over slightly made the experience less comfortable. So we are awake and up rather early, which allows us to clear away the bed before heading out.

We find a sunny spot next to some wild water in Saint Juéry. We prepare our muesli and eat on the rocks, looking out over the rapids while the sun rises higher and higher in the sky. Stunning!

Albi

After breakfast, we seek out the city center of Albi and visit for one and a half hours. We start with coffee and hot chocolate on a sunny terrace and then wander into town. At first, we aren’t much impressed, but that changes when we visit a church and then the cathedral. We’ve never seen the likes of it, neither inside nor out.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia

The outside of the cathedral is a strange mixture of styles. The cathedral itself is built of bricks and is the largest of its kind in Europe. It’s rather bland and sturdy. Except for the entrance, which is beautifully decorated, almost frilly. The inside is magnificent. Floor to ceilings are painted with all sorts of forms, figures and tableaux. Incredible, the amount of work that must have gone into building and decorating it!

Finding someplace to cool off

It is almost noon when we leave Albi and continue on our way to Tostat. The temperature rises to 33 degrees and we want to cool off, so we are on the look out for a river or lake. We find a lake that looks very inviting, but discover as we approach that it is only for water skiing. A bit further, we discover another lake that is almost deserted. However, the water is very green, and we don’t want to risk falling ill from the algae. In the end, half an hour before reaching our destination, we opt for a supermarket.

All supermarkets have airconditioning, many of them being really cold. We visit one and buy some fruits for breakfast, plus a bottle of pastis. This is, after all, France.

Welcome to Tostat!

At 16:30h, we arrive at Tostat and are welcomed by Erica, the daughter of our hosts. For our hosts, Alison and Andy, have left a week earlier. Molly, the dog, is thrilled to meet us, as are we to meet her. She’s a small, 2 year old dog with lots of energy. We have a drink and chat with Erica before moving some of our stuff into the house. We have a lovely, relatively cool bedroom at the back of the house with a beautiful, spacious bathroom just around the corner. It has a rounded wall, which is surprising and different, and we like it.

Once installed in our room, we take a shower and head for the pool. Finally, we are able to cool off! Erica shows us how to work the water pumps in order to water the flower pots, and we go for a walk along the river Adour, which flows just behind the house. Molly can walk off leash and will come when called. She loves to romp around and explore, as most dogs do.

When we return, Erica prepares us a jummie dinner of pasta with a tomato sauce made from tomatoes from the neighbour at the other side of the street. For dessert, she had made shortbread earlier in the day, which is delicious.

Our first impression of the house, animals and surroundings is very positive. We’re here for almost 7 weeks and think we are going to have a wonderful time.

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