Posts Tagged ‘relaxing’

Over the past few weeks I have been watching the street decorations appear slowly. First the overhead lights on each of the streets around the square, then the sapin branch archways dotted along the streets, the construction of the patinoire (ice rink) in place carnot, the luge (toboggan slide) for the little children on the square near the train station and the fair on place gambetta. Yesterday was the opening ceremony, I’ve recently discovered that there was a traditional march and would have loved to have seen it but wasn’t informed about it so didn’t get to, which is a little sad. I did my own little march today though. Christmas fair on Square Gambetta

This morning, after I lay in bed for a while sleeping off the previous night’s Dutch Sinterklaas soirée, I got ready, cleaned my apartment and then headed out for a wander around Christmassy Carcassonne. As I entered the square I could smell, hear and see Christmas (and many children!). The queue for the patinoire was long and there were many many faces wooshing around the rink, I even spotted some of my students. I weaved in and out of all the people and huts selling various things and I headed towards Pont Vieux – Cité bound. I leisurely strolled up the hill to the beautiful castle, found a bench and alternated between reading my book and watching the world go by, it was a really nice relaxing afternoon! I strolled back down after about an hour and a half, weaved back in and out of the huts and people. Now I’m home, I’m relaxed and I’m about to eat a samosa I bought from one of the huts. It’s 2 weeks today until I return for Christmas, and whilst I absolutely cannot wait to be home I know I will miss this little town for the 2 weeks that I’m not occupying it.

The view from my book-reading bench.


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Lazing on Square Gambetta

Lazing on Square Gambetta

One thing that I will never ever get bored of here in Carcassonne is the slow-paced way of life. Walking through Place Carnot on any given day, at any given time and you are guaranteed to see tables of people sat in the sun drinking with family, friends, or even alone. Initially the thought of lazing around outside a café almost filled me with dread, I’m a rusher, as are most Brits. Try to think of a time when you saw a group of Brits sat outside a nice little café for more than an hour at a time chilling out, conversing, people watching and just generally enjoying the atmosphere; you can’t can you? It just doesn’t happen and I wasn’t sure it would really bode well.

However sat outside Picnic Café with a friend, a few drinks and several hours later I’m fully unwound, enjoying the sun and wondering why I ever needed to rush anywhere ever. The staff don’t badger you to buy more drinks or check you’re okay, they just let you get on with it.
Back in Britain I’d feel lacking if I spent a day sat on a patch of grass, there’d always be something niggling away at the back of my mind that I should be rushing to do or solve. Here almost everywhere closes over lunch so they have time to eat before they go back to work, even my bank! I’m not sure I can imagine the workers of Natwest closing the branch and going for a nice lunch together at a café. It’s more than likely going to be a lunchbox at a desk if anything at all! It really makes you think that there is so much time in the world but so much of it is spent doing menial tasks and most of it is lost under piles of paperwork and at office desks, not spent enjoying the world with the people that matter.

There’s so much to be done here in Carcassonne but there’s no rush to do it and that, I think, is what’s going to make it hard to get used to when I go back to England.

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