Day 9: Carcassonne castle and crushed crustaceans
by Jennifer Hsiao
After a late night, we were all glad to be able to sleep in on our one free day. After waking up slowly, we sat around the dining table eating a leisurely breakfast. Gianmarco made many eggs for all of us to enjoy. After some discussion, we decided to visit the UNESCO heritage city of Carcassonne before continuing to the Mediterranean coast. We headed out around 1:45 PM and reached the fortified medieval city and went up inside the walls for a nice outdoor lunch. Some of us wandered off to look at some of the small shops that lined the cobbled streets.
After lunch, we got back in our cars and headed to the coastal town of Gruissan. Encountering the Mediterranean Sea was very refreshing after having spent time walking around in the hot sun. Chris, Gianmarco, and Noel played a vigorous game of tag in the water, and then we took a walk along the beach. David, Gianmarco, Laura, and Noel were inspired by a fellow beachgoer to practice their handstands; they then decided to do a cartwheel race down the beach. We admired some of the sand castles that we found along the beach. Later on, we found a perfect place for us to enjoy “tub time” on the beach. We all sat around on a ledge of sand and stuck our feet in water and therapeutic wet sand while Laura made a sandman.
When we had had our fill of the sand and sea, we decided to eat at the beach restaurant by the sea. Some of us had rillettes de mulet (a crushed crustaecean), Caesar salad, chicken wok, pizza, and cabou (a gorgeous white fish). We admired the way the sky melded with the Mediterranean as the sun was setting. Unfortunately, towards the end of the night, we started getting attacked by some vicious bugs at the restaurant so we decided to go home. Still, it was a perfect respite to our busy week of organ visits, and we went to bed looking forward to a masterclass Tuesday morning in Toulouse.