A brief post-breakfast inspection confirmed our worst fears for Dave's back wheel - the rim was smashed in two places where the spokes just punched through the rim. My back tyre was also flat - giving me grave concerns for the state of my wheel too.
We split up - me to gather intel from Tourist Information so we had a good day, and Dave to fall into the bike shop as they opened for a new wheel. I met Dave at the bike place where they had him sorted out in half an hour - time enough for us to drool over kit we could never afford - then we headed into the newer Carcassonne. I was just enjoying the modern art gallery, when they hustled us out into the street announcing that they shut from 12-00 'til 2-00 for lunch - not bad when they only opened at 10-00...
We then strolled up to the Canal du Midi and watched a pleasure cruiser go through the main lock, eulogising over the engineering, and physics of the thing - yeah ladies, it's hot. Then it was time for a guided tour of the old city. I was asked if I was 'a senior' by the ticket lady (I use the term loosely), then realised it was to get us a cheaper ticket. Uh huh. Our guide was Natalie - who, let me make this very clear, was NOT drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, funny, and everything you could ever find attractive in an early 30s french woman. I'm only glad I didn't take a photo of her to show you - it would have been the wrong thing to do. Natalie's (dull and probably ill-informed) tour ended at the old town's Basillica - where 4 blokes from Russia sang hymns to the assembled congregation. They may have looked like coach drivers on a fag break, but their beautiful and passionate singing made me cry my eyes out. Sublime.
After a pint and a discussion about Natalie's many shortcomings, Dave and I went back to sort the bikes out. It's possible yesterday did more damage than we know of yet - but everything seems to be OK.
It's got Mediterranean roots, it's in need of restoration, and lots of people point and stare at it.
And the other thing's the old city walls - ha ha ha ha ha ha...