First Day in France
Moving South
Vienne and Vinsorbes
Dutch Campground
First Days in Italy
Montelcino Antonio
First Days-South Italy
First Days-Giovinazzo
Living in Giovinazzo
Picking Olives
Outings and School
Rosa's show
Hols & New Yr
Back to School
Croatia-Plitvika, Krk, Cres
St. Pierre
Camping on the Med
Eli's Diary
Rosa's Diary


14-  April - Camping Carcasonne

Morris dancers!

Shop selling sculpture from found objects

Salvador Dali museum

Suzie's parents arrive

Second visit to the castle

Picnic by the locks

Frog pond

Passover seder plate

Haggadah made by the kids

Visit to paper mill




15th April Friday

We get up to a still and misty morning. It rained all last night. The kids and I go and have a look at the little lake in the site. Eli gets out his fishing rod and has a short stint fishing. He hasn't a lot of patience for it so does catch our lunch. I have been receiving texts from my mum and dad about coming and I text dad the phone no. of the phone box in the site so he can call me. He is pretty sure they will come but has to wait on info so we decide to stay in the area but check out another site, hopefully less expensive. We want to shop too. I have been keen to get to a Decathlon for a while.  Dad tells us the city is a Kights Templar fortress and well worth a look too. We pack up and the kids have a play by the lake and then we invade the nearest store. The kids love these consumer experiences especially when Finn is able to ride a bike round the whole store while we are shopping, and the rest have so much to see. We are all drawn to a display of a pop up tent larger than our small sun one and get a demo. It is up in seconds and down in similar fashion. We decide to have a think about it while going round the rest. I get myself some new boots and we get sandals for those that need them. Everyone has been outgrowing or wearing out footwear. We have fun with a few other little knick knacks and replace my sleeping bag. Then decide to go for the popup tent. We pile back in the van and the new tent goes easily in the back.

We drive to the Cite and are impressed with the view of the castle as we approach. All turrets and towers  very Arthurian looking. We spend the afternoon walking about and the boys are delighted with all the shop window displays of knights and stuff like that. They even meet a few suits of armor about the place. We chat to one store keeper who tells us that there are massive strikes all across France and that his radio is only playing music as a result. We finish with a run around the battlements with the kids shooting arrows and defending it against their enemies. Sammy says it is a great day. We set off again out the same road past the campsite from last night turning off to Monclar. We have a tour of the small village down tiny roads just wide enough for the van before going back to a site we passed on the way. It is a bit cheaper and has nice loo's and showers. We pop up the tent in a flash and are able to off load all the car seats and clothes backpacks to free van space fast.  After diner is starting to rain so we make it inside for our shabbat movie in the van. Eli and Rosa have elected to sleep in the new tent so  Mike gets them settled and then Mike and I stay up after the kids for a grown up one (the Last Samuri- we thought it was ok but a bit too Hollywood treatment of the subject.)

16th April Saturday

It isn't raining when we wake but we don't rush to get out of the van as the wind is very cold here at the top of a hill. Eventually I get the boys all in one suits on so they can go out and have breakfast with Mike but they don't last too long. Eli and Rosa enjoy a long morning to themselves in the new tent playing and chatting but eventually they emerge too. It has warmed up a bit but is still blustery and showery. We decide after a good while to move to another site lower down and nearer a town as it is awkward for shopping etc. We don't leave until after 3pm and when we get to Carcasonne I go into a Geant supermarket to stock up again. It takes me quite a while as it is huge and is a bit of an information overload and it is busy too. We head off in search of a site from a book we have and get a bit lost first but a nice man tells us how to get back on route. The sky has darkened and by the time we find the site it is raining. We check in and are pleased with the price. Also there is has a common room with table tennis, puzzles etc so I can let the kids keep the kids amused while Mike gets the big tent up. We have to leave at 7.30pm when the shut up. Mike is just about there but hasn't been able to start diner. It is witching hour and as I heat up some soup the rain gets heavier and tempers fray. We get it into us and into bed as fast as possible. 

17th April Sunday

Thankfully after a nights heavy rain the morning is sunny with scattered clouds although still a bit windy, it is warm.  Mike cooks up pancakes and the takes the guys to the playground while I do a sort of the tent and van which is great.  At last I can get through our stuff find things and get a wash on and easlily dried in the wind. Then I have a sit down in the sun and watch the boys while Eli does some diary and Rosa does art. The site is much more sheltered and has hedges between the pitches so we get really hot in the sun. We have some lunch and spend a quiet afternoon chatting about plans again. It is surprising how soon that we will be heading home now.

It looks like Mum and Dad are definitely coming tomorrow for a week and will stay in a chalet on site. After they leave we think we will just do one more farm ( the one further north that has said yes. The others near here haven't replied.  Then we have a few visits to make and then home.

We have diner and I take Rosa and the small boys for a walk in the evening sun. Its a lovely day very relaxing. I read them bed-time stories and am glad not to be moving for a while.

18th April Monday

Morning its up and shower and bath time for all in honour of Grandparents. Overcast and dull all morning. They get here around 2pm and bring the sun so we are able to picnic outside their chalet. Finn is delighted to be let into a "mobile" he kind of thinks our home in Ireland is a mobile as it is the last one he remembers. We have a nice catch up all afternoon and mum, Rosa and I run out for some supplies. We have diner and put the kids is the spare bedroom watching a dvd while we chat but its an early night as they were up at the crack of dawn for their flight.

19th April Tuesday

Blue skies. Eli and Rosa slept over with Granm and Grandad and Sammy goes up and joins them for breakfast as he spotted the chocolate cereal last night! After we get the van sorted we all go back to the big castle/city at Carcasonne with Finn and Sammy in their knight stuff to attack the ramparts. Finn is photographed 3 times, before we even get into the city, by tourists. Grandad takes the kids with Mike into the castle museum and mum and I wonder around the shops until they come out and we picnic. We head back to camp us via and internet cafe them via another big supermarket. We have a barbaque for diner but the wind is back.

20th April Wednesday

Heavy rain again over night and still showering this morning. We have a slow morning and I get the time to do a bit of sorting. Mum and Dad took Eli and Rosa to Decathlon and Limoux where they visited a fun pet shop. Mike and I had lunch here with the boys and when the gang arrived back pretty late we all just hung out until diner and a movie. Finn was a bit off colour.

21st April Thursday

Luckily Finn feels better so I am able to go on a planned expedition to Spain with mum to see the Salvador Dali museum Figueres. It is really hot. When we get there there is a big market to look around so we do that and then have lunch before going into the museum. It is an assault on logic and very entertaining and funny too I have a great time. Mum goes out before me but I notice rain and go out not long after and we head home. It only takes two hours and the men have had a good day on the canal with the kids and have dinner ready.

22nd April Friday

Mum and Mike go to the Market with Sammy. Dad and I stay and get some laundry done. We pack a picnic and all go back to the canal for another look at the locks, frogs and boats. Eli does some fishing with his new flies but no luck.

We split up later Granma goes shopping with Rosa and Dad and Finn and I walk back to the campsite and Mike followed after. We dinner later when all back but no movie.

23rd April Sat

It is a cold morning and the little guys and I stay at the mobile and the others go to Market and Internet cafe. I have lunch and when the others get back and have theirs I compute for a while and then go with dad to get meat. Mike and I cook a passover meal have a nice and quite fast seder using a visual story Eli and Rosa made all afternoon.

24th April Sunday

Its a mizzly rainy morning and we all fancy getting off site so pack a picnic and go to an old fashioned  paper mill. It is in a nice woods and we have our picnic by a the mill river. It is misty but not too wet. We go in and get the tour of how they used the mill to make paper and how they have continued the craft. Rosa is very interested in it all and remembers it all to write on a card for Rebecca and Caiomhe when we go back to the site. We have diner and chat sad it is our last night with Mum and Dad.

14 April

As usual we spend a good while packing back up.  With no positive responses from WWOOF hosts so far we will head along the foothills of the Pyranees, where several of them are located, and where we may get a visit from Suzie's parents.

We drive for a while in the rain, but having learned not to push it we stop at the first campground not far from Carcasonne, and despite the higher cost than our last one, we check in.  Setting up is less stressful because the kids aren't too tired yet, so it was a good choice.  The site is by a lake so we hope Eli can provide us with a fish lunch tomorrow.

A great chorus of frogs can be heard on the lake at night.

15 April

There's rain on Newbie's roof most of the night.  Some unsuccessful fishing in the morning then we head off first for a shopping expedition at Decathlon, amongst other things we get a new 2 man tent that pops up in less than a second, to replace our small popup and older 2 man tent we use for storage when camping.  While we are shopping, the little guys get bikes from that section and cycle around in the shop following us; this doesn't seem to be a problem, so we let them at it.  Eli gets a bit of new fishing tackle, maybe he'll have better luck with this! 

With our slightly more stuffed Newbie we drive up to the old castle at Carcasonne to see if we can find a museum we have been told about that has lots of armour swords and other knight stuff.  The supposedly free parking is expensive for a camper so we find free on street parking not too far away and walk in. 

The castle looks like a real castle with ramparts turrets etc.  Sammy, Finn and I "storm" the castle, then we all walk around the touristy place and the kids are happy enough to see lots of "knight stuff" in the shops.  The museum we have been told about isn't there and from what one shopkeeper tells Suzie it may not suit the kids anyway. 

Our day is mostly through already so we need to find a place to camp.  We go out of the town in the direction of a small place called MontClare, and go along a small road where it would be comfortable to wildcamp but there's no appropriate place to stop.  We get into the village, as much as there is one, and drive through the twisty streets as they get narrower and we wonder if Newbie will fit through some of the gaps!  Nowhere likely to stop so we head back and find another campsite we had missed.  It's done in the Roman style, the outdoor wash area has statues and a fountain, and the pool (closed at the moment) is like the coleseum with pillars and spectator seats rising around it.  Eli and Rosa "set up" our new tent by throwing it into the air.  I make Shabbat dinner and serve it inside the camper as it's cold, then our usual children's movie before the big guys move out to the tent for the night.  Suzie and I stay up later to watch The Last Samurai, neither of us are very impressed.


Another move late in day setting up tent in rain at new camp.

17 Sunday April

Despite weather reports that it would be rainy again today, the strong winds blew the clouds during the morning and then died down to leave us a sunny afternoon.  I minded the kids at the playground while Suzie tidied and sorted our camp, then came back with Finn because Cal hurt her throat when a stick she was chasing took a bad bounce.  She was subdued the rest of the day, so we are keeping an eye on her.

Our things dried out for the most part, and the pitch next to ours had afternoon sun so we sunbathed there and I even had some time to talk with Suzie.

There are only a few people staying in this campground; they all greet us as they walk past and the owners are friendly too.  It is more our kind of campground than the more expensive 3 or 4 star types; here the facilities are good, it's clean and relaxed.  Their shop/cafe also has a ping pong table, some puzzles and board games and books and a table football game.  Nothing flashy electronic etc.

Rest of week

John and Jackie come visit and stay in a mobile home at our campground.  We take day trips back to the Castle in Carcasonne, to the canals to watch the boats in the locks (and found frogs), to a paper mill (excellent) and to a couple of markets.  It's a different week, less to do than usual, partly because the big 2 stay with their grandparents and also because we stay in one place for what seems like a long time.  I shop in the markets for bitter herbs and greens for our little Passover seder; Rosa and Eli illustrate a little Haggada and we tell the story to Sammy.


This site was last updated 05/10/05