Paris to Albi

Our day of travel on Friday went well on the two booked stages, but not so well at the end. We caught a taxi from our hotel to the train station as our local Metro stops do not have lifts or escalators for going down and I was worried about injuring ourselves. We were in plenty of time for our train and boarded without difficulty.

This was all that we saw at Bordeaux. Later, when the train was due this platform was packed with people. There was a 15 minute delay.

The first train was very modern and the second not so much. The older train seats were well padded and more comfortable than the modern seats. We had plenty of space and napped a bit.

In Toulouse we hit a snag. Due to strikes trains weren’t running to Albi because of strikes. We waited 1.5 hours for a train, were told about a bus substitute too late to actually catch it, then missed a train as we were were walking back to the station. Our AirBnB hosts in Albi suggested we go on the Metro to an outlying suburb and catch an Uber, but we were tired and wanted to wait for the train, since they were finally up and running. Our hosts were picking us up from the station and had to do so much later than originally planned, which meant they were late for their social event for the evening.

The afternoon was warm and sunny and a bit humid, making the frustrations of the afternoon more challenging.

We realise that where we are staying is rather out of town, with a poor bus service. Our hosts gave us a lift to town yesterday morning and we caught the last bus home, with a 1 km walk at the end. We bought some food for an evening meal, plus a bit of food for today as the buses are even less frequent on Sundays and we have decided to have a rest day today. So we were carrying shopping for that last kilometre.

We like the house here, a traditional French house with shutters and nice outdoor areas. Our hosts have only been here a short while and the house needs a lot of work. The cost for staying here is quite low and we have everything we need, but it’s very much living in other people’s space. They had friends over last night, and they were sitting outside, Stephen continued to sit in the lounge, but I felt in the way and went to the bedroom where it is hot and stuffy. They gave us a fan for our room, which makes a difference as the only air conditioning is in the lounge room and our hosts don’t seem to use it, though they said we could.

We had a thunderstorm yesterday morning, which cleared the air for a while. It has rained again this morning.

Our day of sightseeing in the town was enjoyable, despite the heat. The morning was pleasant and we went to the famous cathedral and alto the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum of Art in a wonderful old building next door.

We had a meal at a restaurant with a set menu of three courses. We sat in the shade on a terrace and when there was a breeze it was very pleasant. The food was very good, of course and if you thought of euros as equivalent to dollars, it was quite a good price at $16.50 each. some photos from our lunch.

Stephen napping on the train.

Both the cathedral and bishops house next door look well fortified. They were built after the defeat of the Cathars, an alternative Christian sect that was persecuted in France. The buildings are in brick because there was no suitable local stone available.

A granita in the afternoon was very cooling.

There were quite a lot of tourists, but not too bad as Albi is not a top tourist site. Well worth a visit though.

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