It has been a busy time, a hectic time. Full of changes, full of extremes, full of up’s and down’s. In our mind, in our attitude, in the energy around us, even in the weather. We all know that things are changing and changing fast. But we don’t know yet where we are going. And where we will end up. What our destination will be.
So we wait and wonder. We hope and trust. And we do what we have to do.
For me it was mostly guiding. Guiding many people in the area. A big party of Stavoor. But mostly small parties. One person, two persons, three persons, no more. And attending some music festivals, several vide greniers and visiting the market in Esperaza. And of course finishing my last two books.
Guiding is wonderful work. You can tell quite a lot of stories, people can visit many places, we talk a lot and we have fun.
Let me show some of the people I have been guiding and let me show you some places that we went to. Here I will try to illustrate our tours with pictures that you haven’t seen before or with some very special pictures. Enjoy!
Here we visit Rennes-le-Chateau, the church, the museum, the Tour Magdala with the one tile with one white dot, the field with the four lions on the plateau south of Rennes-le-Chateau, then the cave of Mary Magdalene and the Birthing cave, the Source of the Mother Goddess in Campagne-les-Bains. In Alet-les-Bains we visit the church, the beautiful abbey, the statue of Diana or Pallas Athena, the house of the grandparents of Nostradamus, the sources of Alet and of course, always special, the Angels Gallery. Then up the hill past the white chalk rock formation, to the enigmatic church of St Salvayre and a bit further away to the Pierre Dressee.
Next on to Couiza with the Camp Grand and the Capitelles and then to Rennes-les-Bains with its hot springs, the Meridian Verte, the Fontaine des Amours with its heart, its wonderful light and its strange ‘snake’ in the rock. A place well suited for cleaning a special skull. And finally through the forest where time seems to stand still, to the Trembling Rocks and, so they say, to the tomb of the Druids or the place where women gave birth and to the place under the rock formation which is said to be an opening to other dimensions.
Our domain La Source in the valley of Labadous is beautiful, whatever the weather. Every season, every month, every day has its own charm.
We had a surprise visit from our son Ewout, with his partner Madelon, her mother and our grandchild Lola. That was great. My garden is a constant surprise. It is really incredible what the soil produces. It must be the energy of the place. Beautiful flowers, an abundance of fruit and vegetables, it just doesn’t stop. We have filled three freezers with tomato sauce, Gourgette soup, haricots verts and much more.
And there is still water in the river. And Venus is still very much there.
I agreed to pick up two Americans, mother and daughter in Albi. They had already seen the city so we travelled to the famous ND de la Dreche, just north of Albi. A special place with two Black Madonna’s and a sacred well at the foot of the hill. Then south to Mazamet. There is a wonderful Cathar museum, where the history of the Cathars is shown in clear pictures. There are also some models of Cathar castles such as this Troubadour castle of Puivert.
First we go to Limoux where we always visit the church of St Martin, the ND de Marceille and further east the abbey of Polycarpe. These places are well known. Then to the abbey of St Hilaire, also well known and on to Carcassonne, which is very well known. From here to Caunes Minervois with its ancient abbey. It is the area where the beautiful red marble is mined. Very special is the church of ND du Cross. One of my favourites. Witt it’s powerful Black Madonna and its sacred well. Also well known to my faithful readers. On to the dolmen de Fades, over 5.000 years old. On a very special hill, surrounded by very special trees, what a beauty! Further still, to the city of Minerve. With its huge bridge, its dove in the rocks and its underground river. Again well known to my customers. So something new then, the famous, powerful abbey and incredible rich abbey of Fontfroide, near Narbonne. See the beautiful church, the Pieta, the statue of Mary Magdalene and its magnificent rose gardens.
First we take a good look at the magic Bugarach Mountain. The awesome mountain that looks different from every angle. The mountain where so many stories are being told. Then on to the Gorges de Galamus. A spectacular sight. And further still, past St Paul de Fenouillet, past Maury, past Queribus, past Tautavel to the coast, to Perillos. Where in a desolate countryside we meet the impressive Chateau Opoul. Then on to the little hamlet of Perillos where in the hillside, with its entrance well hidden, the famous cave of Perillos can be found. Then take the way to Fitou. And travel over the road where Mary Magdalene might have travelled when she went from Fitou to Rennes-les-Bains/Rennes-le-Chateau. Going back along the coast direction of Narbonne will provide you with a magnificent sight of the inner lakes and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Cathar castles
My American friends were crazy about the Cathar castles. They had read all about these castles at home and wanted to visit as many as possible. Even when I explained that they were not Cathar castles at all, but castles built by local warlords, that did not dim their enthusiasm for a minute. Only the Montsegur was especially fortified for the Cathars. So here we went, three castles in a day. First Peyrepertuse, then Queribus and finally Puilaurens. And the next day Montsegur. Very good form y condition!
In the far west, a 90 minutes drive from Rennes-le-Chateau, is a lot to be seen. Especially in and around the cities of Foix and Tarascon-sur-Ariege. There is the Grail castle Mont-Real-de-Sos, wit hits famous Grail drawing and its magnificent view on the high Pyrenees. And lizards everywhere. There is the stone of Sem. There is the beautiful chapel of the ND de Sabart where we were allowed to have a look in the sacristy, where often are kept the real treasures of the church, such as this plate of the Last Supper. There are the two famous caves the Cave de Lombrives, the largest cave in Europe and the Cave of Niaux with its famous rock drawings from 15.000 years ago. There are the initiation cave of the Cathars in Ussat-les-Bains. Well known to my readers. With here a nice ‘selfie’ portrait in the Bethlehem cave. And then there is Foix, with its church and castle and 15 km’s to the northwest the village of Baulou, wit hits famous, hidden caves of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And on the way back the rock church of Vals, built on an ancient burial site of the Druids and the beautiful Cathedral of Mirepoix.