From Ashford to Athens
Encore en Foix
|Alpine adventure (Days 1-4)
Viennese whirl (Days 5-9)
Slovenian theatre (Days 10-12)
Bombing it through Belgrade (Day 13)
Litohoro lazing (Days 14-16)
Olympic ideas (Days 17-19)
We are sailing (Days 20-21)
Assisi amblings (Days 22-23)
Breton brouhaha (Days 24-26)
Encore en Foix (Days 27-28)
Barcelona and back (Days 29-31)
The sun hadn't yet risen again at 6:15am when we got up and pitched camp.
Dawn broke as we plodded through the deserted port, the first step on a journey which would take us the length of France in the next 12 hours.
Paris proved the most hectic of our changes: we had just 10 minutes to walk (run) down the length of platform 5 and up the length of platform 6. Soon though, the TGV was sending us at breakneck speed towards Bordeaux, Toulouse and the South.
An hour on a rather less comfortable local train brought us to Foix, the place we'd all agreed upon two days earlier. As the train rolled off towards the Pyrenees, I was left with a familiar feeling. It's the feeling TV programmes try to show when a car/bus/train drives off, leaving the hero on the pavement, surrounded by their luggage. You're on your own, mate.
The feeling can usually be assuaged by shelter and food, and a half hour routemarch along the N20 brought us to the Camping Du Lac and Danelli Pizza.
We pitched the tent during a break in the insistent rain; and hurriedly got inside as a major storm broke. Rain was hurled against the tent with astonishing force but (thank God for man-made fibres) we stayed warm and dry.
Why does it always rain on me? Apparently this is the worst weather Foix has seen for some years: that's little consolation when we're only here for three days.
The long walk into Foix town is enlivened by the 'Encore en Foix' game. Each time you pass the 'Foix' sign you say 'Encore en Foix'. Oh, the punnery.
Foix is presided over by its fairy-tale style castle on a steep mound which rises out of the valley.
Since today was a Jour de Patrimonie I got in for free (this only happens twice a year apparently!) There were great views of the town and the Pyrenees in the distance, as well as a touchy-feely-smelly interactive museum.
On a bench halfway up the castle mound I had an entertaining chat with a woman from South Wales on the mutual topics of the weather, Andorra, passport stamps, the Gower peninsula and the weather.
In the afternoon I wandered around the largely deserted town (it was Sunday), buying the odd Orangina and pain au chocolat to sustain me through the day.
Back at the campsite I demolished Richard 7-0 at table-tennis and almost demolished Andy 7-0 (well OK, he won 4-2).
Tomorrow may bring a new country or two.