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:: Tuesday, 26 September 2006 ::


A big drive from Spain, just south of Barcelona, to France, just North East of Toulouse. Major highway action, except for the bit out of Tarragona where I went past a totally oddball bar in the middle of a blasted nowhere zone, called, get this, "Bar Betty Boop" with BB all done in huge neon. Going too fast and with traffic both ways so no shots taken cos the dang joint just appeared outta nowhere and I was hardly expecting a Betty Boop bar on my trip.

First stop out the hotel was to the
Dali Museumin Figueres right up in Northern Spain and it was wonderful. I am a huge fan of Dali's paintings and drawings. Not the rubbish sculpture and wankery.

Isn't this wonderful? The man was a genius.

Anyhoo, after the art stop was drive drive time and the drive up into France on the east bit of the joining borders is really delightful, the highways winding around alot, good real good quality tarmac and happy French folks taking tolls on the other side.

And when you get into France, you get to see these
fabulous free Michelin Man air stops at each toll
so you can top up your tyres if you wish. Neato. No needo for the MX5, but, which is running on Yokohamas and they seem to be holding up quite well, thanks all the same Frenchie.

The oddball thing of the day, appart from Betty Boop, was having the iPod, which lives on shuffle function, suddenly come round to a song I did not even know I owned. "Jungle Love" is one the dumbest songest ever recorded and it was made known to me via "Everybody Loves Raymond" because Ray's brother, whatsisname, played by that tall guy, really loves the song and cannot resist dancing like a spazz to it. Made me laff up a storm when I saw that episode and alls I have ever known about the song was the lyric "Jungle Love, it's driving mad it's making me craazy". Turns out it is a Steve Miller song, and it's so dumb it's deeply deeply catchy.

Arrived into Albi about 5 in the p.m and it is without doubt my favorite spot of the trip so far, a gorgeous university town on The Tarn river, beautifully kept and intimate while still feeling spacious and happening.

And why Albi? Because it is the home town of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and I adore his horse paintings plus I have always secretly wanted to go to a French hotel and say, in a Peter-Sellers-Revenge-of-the-Pink-Panther accent, "I want a rreum". [Cannae find a pic on the innernut of Sellers in his Toulouse-Lautrec get up. Dang. A fave movie scene for me.]

So, Albi Cathedral is simply wonderful. Turns out Albigensians derives from the town, meaning Cathars, meaning folks who thought they were ver so much closer to God than the Roman Catholic folks.


Needless to say, Rome won.

But Albi Cathedral is a sensation and winner all its own.
Its exterior
is all red brick and kind of impenetrable looking, but
its interior is such a surprising jewel,
every surface painted, and so many chapels. It is an absolute wonder and worth visiting. I made it, in the rain, to the last of mass, so it was filled with people and priests and beautiful music. Fabulous. Photos cannae do it justice, and certainly not my shaky stuff.

Here is a bit of the organ and the column beside it all painted
with folks in hell and those above. So detailed. Incroyable.

So, hotel fabulouse, right on the water, terrific restaurant, much cheese enjoyed. I am loving the Languedoc. Tomorrow awaits, though, the biggest big day of the whole trip. The point, actually.

Out til then.
:: WB 9:50 am [link+] ::

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