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2012-May-22 - France Trip 2012 - First Day in Narbonne (Tuesday)
Linda was disappointed with the breakfast provided by the hotel - some bread and jam and a croisant, pot of coffee for two for 6 Eur each.

The constant diet of bread and pastry is starting to tell on our bodies - we are getting quite stiff and achey.

We were hoping for meusli and fruit similar to the Paris hotel we stayed in.

We resolved to find somewhere else for breakfast that would be more healthy for us.

With no fridge or food preparation area in the hotel room, and a prohibition on eating in the rooms it is difficult to cater for ourselves.

We headed down to the café where we had discovered the buffet the other day but they told us that this was not available until midday.

We then checked out the food kiosks in the railway station but these were not what we wanted either.

We are still settling in to the French way of doing business.

Everything that we want is either closed at that time of day, or not doing the meal we want at that time of day.

We are also noticing that healthier foods that we are used to such as rye bread or soya milk are not readily available in supermarkets.

Out of season fruits such as oranges also seem to be difficult to obtain.

We wandered around the attractive retail outlet narrow laned areas of the city (Narbonne is a lot larger than I expected) until we ended up at a café at the intersection of some medieval streets with interesting curved corners on the buildings.

We could tell that they would really rather have sold us a large meal than just coffee.

We told them that we were looking for salad but they didn't suggest anything. Later I noticed the woman who had served us was sitting eating her lunch, a salad, at her counter.

Linda had been avoiding using the car, so after returning to the hotel we did some preliminary planning on maps and then took the car out of its garaging to head down to the bay on the A9.

Linda freaked out on the very first left hand turn (against the traffic) and a a bit later missed the correct exit on one of the round abouts (I was too slow to tell here to take the 3rd exit not the first)

We settled on taking a drive down to one of the smaller lakes and eventually were cruising around its borders on very narrow back roads. There were a number of bridges over canals that could only be crossed in one direction at a time.

At one stage we came to a sign telling us that there was a telephone museum (I think they were also reconstructing a large boat that we saw near the canal).

We found a building that appeared to house various curators and administrative people looking after the natural environment of the marsh area.

They were very friendly and personally conducted us around the telephone museum.

The museum was housed in 12 very large glass cases - very professionally maintained and presented.

I think they had an amateur group of collectors who had done all the work.

I forgot to take any photographs and now I am kicking myself for that omission - they had some excellent artifacts.

After saying farewell I used google maps on my phone to guide us back to our hotel.

This went much more easily than I expected.

A few hours later we headed off to the café where the buffet was located - only to be told that it was now too late to have the buffet.

It was all setup and setout - but they were determined not to open it - it more looked like they were having their dinner at one of the tables and wanted to head home.

Linda got really pissed off at this point and we tramped around in the rain getting wetter and wetter and more and more glum, looking for a restaurant that was offering more than just pizza or bread or tough steaks.

Eventually I led us back to the laneway where we had coffee in the morning.

Nearby there was an open but empty restaurant where we had a salade entrée and Linda had a vegetarian main meal.

I didn't have much more because during the afternoon I had already eaten a typical bread / cheese snack.

This was a very expensive restaurant and for the small servings we were charged about $80 AUS.

Fortunately Linda started speaking to some Danish people who had come in to the restaurant and they showed us, on the map, some cheap places to eat at and the location of the food halls.

They had retired to Narbonne and knew their way around.

That night I searched the televison in our room for any English programs.

We managed to find an old Jack Nickolson movie dubbed in to French with, strangely, French subtitles.

I could understand maybe 10% of the subtitles and from that we managed to follow the storyline.