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Lees in het Nederlands
The Journey @en
Sandra Lensink

December 24, 2015

Castle life Carcassonne

At exactly 11 o’clock on Tuesday morning we stood at the garage, fingers crossed. Yessss! The new gas cap has arrived and it fits. The costs are reasonable as well € 20. In a good mood, we go ‘en route’. At nightfall the carefully lit ‘la Cité de Carcassonne’ dooms up in front of us. Very happy with our sleeping arrangements, we stare at this imposing building, out the window from our seats in the camper. We dream off, towards the middle ages…

In the mist
Early the following morning, we put our heads out the bedroom window. The castle is largely covered in mist. The perfect ambiance for a mystical visit. When wandering between the enormous castle walls, I get an uncomfortable feeling. We question each other. How did this survive the times? How many gruesome battles took place here? Who were the Cathars? What role did the Catholic Church play? Our hunger for history has awakened. Later while drinking coffee we cannot fight the urge to Google. Long live modern days! Especially when we discover that the book about the Cathars by Bram van Moerland can also be bought as an e-book. I do not even think about it. Two more steps, and I am immerged in his text…

castle carcassonne

On running shoes
Intrigued by everything we have seen and read about the fortress, but also about the marathon de Carcassonne and the Grand Raid, I cannot wait to put my running shoes on again and to rediscover the town in this way. In the meantime the sky is blue. First a long trip along the banks of L’Aude. We get to the GR78 that runs to Compostella. Shall we walk on? No, we return in the direction of the old city walls. Unfortunately, the experience is different this time. This morning there was no tourist to be found and now it is full of them… Luckily I hear the sounds of a hand pan. Wow! The penetrating sounds resonate in all of the cells in my body and bring me back to the enchantment of the morning.

Jeroen trailrunning in carcassonne castle

Joie de Vivre
Even though there are many stylish restaurants, for dinner we gladly return to our own little home. However, the attraction of the castle remains very much alive. Around eight o’clock we enter for a third time. The streets have been abandoned again. The antique lights give off mysterious light beams. Big bats fly over the town. Our visit becomes somewhat ghostlike. During the day we spotted a cosy wine bar. It is our plan to chat further about what Catharism is and how it affects us, while enjoying a good glass of wine. Some of the texts of the Cathars that appeal to us are, amongst others (I quote from Bram’s book): ‘Rise and re-inner yourself. The spiritual resurrection is to remember yourself as a free person, who himself is capable to love. The word ‘gnosis’ is related to the English ‘to know’. The gnosis is an inner knowing. In every person a divine spark is hidden’. The wine bar however, is empty and has a cold atmosphere. We decide to walk on towards the new town. In the Irish pub we are welcomed with open arms by the bartender who suggests drinking the special Christmas beer… Castle beer! Time to relive the castle life in a Burgundian way… Cheers!