Castelnaudary and it’s pull

Another couple of interesting days on my walkabout in the pyrenees.

Wednesday – It has been an interesting day today, woke up to a sky full of clouds here in the mountains so decided to go higher up into the mountains above the cloud cover.

I found a beautiful lake nestled between mountain tops and the water was so clear that you could see the bottom of the lake and the fishes swimming in it. It seems that April is a good time to be here if you want peace and quiet as there was no one else around apart from the many birds that live in this area. Today seemed to be a day of Jays with their lovely coloured feathers and they seemed to be following me as I wandered through the trees.

I sat here quietly while listening to the birds and the wind gently blowing through the trees. My meditation today was less intense as I suppose I had a lot of information yesterday as I journeyed on top of Montsegur.

Later on I travelled higher up into the mountains and soon was above the cloud line and the sun was shining brightly with clear blue skies above and cloud below in the valleys. Not quite on top of the world here but close to it with clear air and very calm energies and a few snow covered peaks above me.

Thursday – Today I decided to take a drive to see the castles at LasTours and to then return via Castelnaudary which I have been drawn to for a very long time.

The drive to Lastours was through beautiful open countryside farms and small villages along the way. As I neared Carcassonne the traffic got busier and the stillness of the countryside was interrupted with factories and shopping malls but only for a short while as i skirted the city and headed north to Lastours. Back out into the countryside now and along winding roads through a small valley with hills rising on each side.

As you enter the village of Lastours you can see one of the castle towers high up on the rocky hilltop and it is very reminiscent of medieval France and you can easily imagine knights on horseback and villagers working in the area and carrying provisions up to the castles. I spent a few hours walking around the four castles and relaxing in the sunshine. No meditation today just a tourist soaking up the views. Not so much of a calling to be here but a very enjoyable wander around a beautiful place.

After a quick sandwich I drove along the wide open valley towards Castelnaudary and soon came towards the Canal du Midi, which is a large canal that passes right across France and down to the coast in the South. There were quite a few boats and barges on the canal and lots of cyclists riding in groups, a bit like the peleton in the Tour de France.

I entered the city of Castelnaudary and parked in the main square. There were a few soldiers from the Legion Etrangere (French Foreign Legion) in their best uniforms and white kepis walking around the town and sitting outside cafes. They must have had a pass out for the day from the training base that is in Castelnaudary.

I walked down to the canal basin in the town and stood on one of the bridges wondering why I did not feel overly excited as I have had a calling to go to Castelnaudary since I was a teenager and it seemed just like another lovely French town. I walked around the streets of the town for a while and was still not getting anything so decided to drive back to Foix, still wondering why I had needed to come here.

As I left the town heading on the road South towards Mirepoix I headed up into some small hills and I soon realised why I needed to come here. This countryside was the countryside of my youth in another time. I instantly felt at home and had a lot of dejavu. It was like I knew where I was going and knew the small villages and farms that I passed. I had walked this way on my wanderings down into the pyrenees mountains many, many years ago. I recalled who I was and even have a picture of me drawn by a very good spirit artist last year. It is wonderful how things come back together when they are meant to. I was even thinking in French and the village names all felt so familiar. The land didn’t seem so different apart from the wider tarmac roads and the fields were larger and ploughed with modern machinery.

I drove into Mirepoix which still had a lot of old buildings in the center near the church but was now a tourist hub with trinket shops and cafes. Back when I walked through this way I felt that it was not a place that I stopped off at as it would have been too busy then with traders and townsfolk selling their wares and local produce. I was a wanderer and stayed mainly in the countryside along smaller paths, sleeping in the woods and not overly sociable as in I would not seek people out but would talk with those that I met.

Well another interesting day in this part of France and now I know why I had a calling to visit Castelnaudary, not to be in the town but to travel through the countryside that I now remember so well. I suppose it is true in all parts of life, it is not necessarily what we think we are drawn to do but the journey that we travel while doing it.

I shall see where the next few days take me!

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