Sunday September 20
After saying adieu to Sarlat, we left for Arles. At the lunch stop, Nick and I shared a salad, quiche and crème caramel. After crossing two parking lots and a highway to reach the ATM in the gas station, we discovered that the machine wouldn’t take the credit card we had been using all along. It’s a necessity to take more than one card!
We were back on the bus to medieval Carcassone, a town that was under siege by Charlemagne for years in the 8th century. It was, and still is, a walled city. After crossing the drawbridge we could walk completely around the city. After walking around to the right with our group, we decided to walk around to the left following the directions in Rick’s France book.
One of the town’s specialty meals in cassoulet, which we had been served by Nick’s mom’s French friend Maybelle many years earlier. I’ve never made it because it has eighteen ingredients starting with a duck (here they are: dried white beans, water, beef broth, tomato paste, onions, garlic, celery, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, parsley, peppercorns, tomatoes, the duck, olive oil, sausage, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Another recipe calls for all of the above plus ham hocks, pork shoulder, pork skin, duck fat, carrots, pancetta, prosciutto, and chicken broth.) Our dinner consisted of cassoulet with a vegetable salad and a choice of chocolate or mango mousse. We enjoyed the conversations with our co-travelers as much as we did the fabulous meal.
That night Nick e-mailed Jose-Maria to tell him of our adventure on and in the Dordogne River, and to find out about any progress regarding the refund we were due from the restaurant. They were still working on solving the problem.