|Some of the city streets are covered with colorful umbrellas.|
The Tour is ending in Caracassonne today. It has a rest day there tomorrow (Monday) and then begins from there on Tuesday.
|The whole town has Tour de France fever|
We knew parking would be awful with all of the crowd from the tour, so planned to take the bus from Quillan to Carcassonne, about an hour at the whopping rate of 1 Euro each.
I received my reminder email from Airbnb a few days before the reservation, but I got nervous when I didn't here from the host, so I messaged him on Saturday morning before we left. Then I texted him on our French phone. Then, as we stood outside the apartment building, I called him. We never heard from him at all.
I stood there on the beautiful street, next to a church that rang like a doorbell every quarter hour, and wondered what we should do. We'd reserved and paid for the apartment, but if we couldn't get in, it didn't matter. We had our luggage with us and no place to stay.
I called Airbnb. After a few minutes of searching and trying to contact the host, they said it appeared that the host's account had been deactivated and he wasn't renting the apartment any more.
Could they have told us that before we arrived in Carcassonne suitcases in hand?
The Airbnb phone rep said he would send an email with other available beds for the night. He said they would be in the same area, but I knew with the Tour de France arriving the next day, very few places would be available. The email should arrive in about 20 minutes, he said.
As we started to walk away, the phone rang. It was the host. He said he could meet us there at 4:30. Problems solved!
Well, mostly. The apartment had no WiFi, which was a necessity for me since I needed to teach an online class on Sunday afternoon. I made some calls and texts but basically the owner said the WiFi wasn't going to be fixed before Monday at the earliest.
We decided to enjoy our time in Carcassonne by wandering throughout the city, having drinks in the cool evening air before we went to a French steakhouse for dinner, Le Table de Norbert.
|Jules wanted to make sure she got some bone marrow, os à moelle, with her steak.|
|The entrance had the steer horns for pushing or pulling.|
We went back to the apartment and played some cards, listening to the church bell ring every 15 minutes, and after midnight we decided to go to bed. Whenever I stay in a hotel or B&B, I pull the fitted sheet back to search for bedbugs. This time there were little dots, which I guess can be excrement of bed bugs, and a couple of shells. We only found it on our bed, not the other bed our guests were sleeping on.
|Bedbug husk found under the sheet. Yuck!|
We were ready to go at 8:30, suitcases packed. We couldn't figure out where to store our luggage, plus I had a class to teach online and no WiFi or place to teach it, plus none of us had gotten very good sleep, making all of us tired and grumpy. And our friend who was sick still felt light-headed. It was not a day we could stay and watch the tour, even though we had already mapped out our route.
|The shop windows were filled with Tour de France colors and bicycles, too.|
Sometimes, we take a train from Carcassonne to Limoux, a city about halfway home. Then a bus picks us up and takes us the rest of the way. As we sat in the station, I realized that the stops for train to Quillan showed that it was actually a bus. I retrieved Earl and our friends and we went to the place that bus picks up riders. But it turned out that the bus couldn't come to the station that day, so we should have waited at a different place.
Yes, once again we had managed to miss the bus and get stranded in Carcassonne. This happened once before when we returned a rental car on a holiday.
Cursing a system that didn't clarify the change of the bus departure, I made an executive decision to call a taxi for a ride back to Quillan. I knew it would be expensive, but with one friend not feeling well and an online class to teach before the next bus, I thought it would be our best alternative.
We isolated our bags, washing all of our clothes in hot, hot water to kill any potential bedbugs, we're waiting to hear from Airbnb that our money is being refunded, but we can't get back that opportunity to be there for the Tour de France.
So here I sit, as the riders skim across the roads on their way to Carcassonne, where I am not. A lifelong dream thwarted by one bad Airbnb reservation. It can happen in any country, of course, it's just frustrating when that bad experience coincides with something we'd long been trying to accomplish.