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We arrived at the hotel today in the small village of Caunes-Minervois and there isn’t any wifi or 3G available here so I am writing this as a draft and I will post it at the next McDonald’s I come across, lol. The baby girl was concerned for me because without wifi, my writing needs aren’t being met. We walked around after we put our baggages in our rooms. It is Africa hot, we were lucky enough to stumble upon the Abbey of Caunes-Minervois, a historic site of the religious order of the Benedictine monks who also sheltered the Cathars, a religious sect that was persecuted in the early centuries by the Roman Catholics. The inner sanctum deep within the Abbey was very cool, a welcome respite from the sheltering heat. The oldest part of the Abby was underground and hence part of the foundation, it was built in the ninety century for the Carolingienne royalty, the first royal family of France. Afterwards we meandered back towards the hotel and had a drink at the cafe located at the town square dominated by a pretty fountain.

Right now my Tantine, the baby girl and I are resting in our huge room. Our chauffeur is next door in his own room, we are all waiting for 5 p.m before going off to Carcassonne. The intense heat needs to dissipate a little before we venture out to visit the fortified medieval city. We are planning to have dinner there and I am hoping that my fellow travel companions allow me to buy them dinner, they have been very stubborn up until now. I tried to pay for gas, it was no. I offered to pay for the hotel, it was no. I even tried to pay for the entrance to the Abbey and my Tantine almost turned violent, that’s an exaggeration, but she wasn’t having it.

I’m happy with the hotel even without the wifi. I’ll figure something out. The ride down from Bordeaux was nice, everywhere I looked out the window, there were the fields of sunflowers that I am so in love with, these fields of yellow went on for miles. Our chauffeur found us the ideal picnic stop right off the road and underneath a stand of large trees. Tantine did a superlative job of preparing our picnic, she had a plastic container filled with a large pat of butter, three slices of fresh ham, a small container of pâté for our chauffeur and cheese. She purchased three small baguettes so that we had all the necessary ingredients to make our sandwiches. The baby girl and I had our favorite, ham and butter on baguettes and Tantine and her son had pâté sandwiches. We had fruit for dessert and Tantine had packed us four bottles of water each with our names on stickers so we wouldn’t mix them up. I love my Tantine, she makes picnicking an art form. Eating my favorite sandwich on the side of the road with a nice wind amidst a beautiful countryside, life doesn’t get any better than this.