As the saying goes travel broadens the mind, although you don’t have to go that far to realise how little you know of other cultures of the world – their languages and our shared history.

Here’s a case in point, we parked up last night in Olargues ‘one of the villages from the book‘ and decided to stretch our legs and explore. Walking up through the town’s inclined cobbled streets, we entered a really old stone staircase that went up though the heart of the town, where after 5 or 6 flights there was a glass window into a room displaying Knights Templar.

Knights Templar

Who were the Knights Templar then? After a bit of research, I discovered they were medieval crusading knights who lived like monks and fought in some of the deadliest battles in the Middle Ages.

The Order Of The Poor Knights Of The Temple Of Solomon (aka The Templars) were founded in Jerusalem in 1119 to protect pilgrims travelling around Christian sites of worship in the years after the armies of the first crusade had seized the holy land from Muslim rule. Over the next two centuries they developed into an elite paramilitary organisation with a side-line in banking and financial services!

Well there ya go, all we need is to get Lesley some chain mail….

I think an apology is overdue to all the photographers both professional and amateur reading this blog. Many of the images have been shot, not I’m afraid with a Hasselblad H4D-60 or a Canon EOS-1DX Mark II, but usually with our iphones. So sorry to all our friends ‘on the spectrum’ for some the quality. Yes, I know that’s not an excuse for poor composition, but in our defence,  I would argue some shots have only been included to help with the storytelling.

Anyway, If I were French I might respond to any criticism with a Gallic shrug and emit a nonchalant “Bouf”.

The village is clustered around the belltower,
which was formerly the main tower of the castle.

Dominating the town from the top of the hill behind, is the ruins and remains of an old fortified castle from the active days of the Knight Templars. It is the Castrum fort of Languedoc dating back to the 12th century. It was later destroyed by a king of France, when the church crushed the Templars into hiding.

In addition to the castle and château, once on top of the hill, you can see the infamous Pont du Diable – The “Devil’s Bridge” is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the “devil”.

THE ORIGINS OF superstitions can be hard to pin down. There are often several theories about how they started, and a bunch of people ready to debunk those theories. Friday the 13th is one such example.

If you read Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code, you might remember learning that members of the Knights Templar—a medieval society—were arrested on Friday the 13th. Brown’s book helped popularise the belief that these arrests are the reason people fear the date. But although some of the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307, that isn’t the origin of the superstition.

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