Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Albi

After a day in Carcassonne, our plan was to spend the next day just driving home, and maybe stop at another city along the way. David had a much better idea- that we drive an hour further away and see a new city that we probably won't have a chance to see another time. Adventure!

David's mom suggested that Albi, an hour north of Carcassonne, would be worth visiting. I had never heard of Albi until it was mentioned in a book I read just a few months ago. Not to brag, but if I haven't heard of a French city I'm guessing it isn't super well known to most people. I'm kind of a France stalker. There were a few other tourists there, but it was nice that it was fairly calm and not crowded.



There is a very unique cathedral in Albi (Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile). It is made of red brick, and they claim it's the largest brick building in the world. It was built to look like a fortress on the outside to make the Catholic church look powerful. They had just fought a bloody war in Albi to get rid of the Cathar religious movement (a Christian but non-Catholic religion founded there).





It doesn't look very artistic on the outside (besides the beautiful entrance, which was added at a later time), so I was surprised to see the very colorful interior! EVERY surface was painted with different designs and colors. Most churches I see in Europe are impressive, but made of plain gray stone. This was one of my favorite ones I've seen because it was so different. I took so many pictures to try and capture it!










It was a nice sunny day to walk by the river. We crossed the Pont Vieux, which was built in the 11th century and is one of the oldest bridges in the world still being used. It was a great place for a view of the town and cathedral.







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We had even more views from our next stop, the gardens of the Palais de la Berbie, which is right next to the church, and where the bishop used to live. I love French-style gardens!




On our way out of town we almost missed going into the cloisters of the Saint-Salvi church, but thankfully David saw the sign! We walked up a shadowy staircase and hidden away was this little oasis. Of course, we had to pop into the church as well.


Other exciting happenings in Albi were me trying a new thing (pesto) for the first time and really liking it (that's a big deal for a picky eater haha) AND finding westie postcards of Albi to buy. I needed them so much that I walked 10 minutes to find an ATM and went back and bought some.

A new theme of our travels is that David thinks I take pictures of pointless things. He thinks it's a sign that I'm becoming more like our moms as I get older. I think it's really more that he's European and he doesn't understand that old streets and buildings are cute. They're just normal to him.





Meanwhile, on David's first trip to America, he took tons of pictures like this. Things that look boring to me but were/are exciting and exotic to him. Gotta love an intercultural relationship. We both think the other person's culture is cooler.


He took this because the road was big.
An American flag! Fast food! Big cars!

The drive home was nice because it was our first time in that part of France and we got to see new scenery, including mountains and some pretty towns.





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