Earlier in the series I showed a shot taken in northern France -This time we’re going south. There is much I love about France and I have had a number of very enjoyable visits, mostly along the towns of the atlantic coast. However, I have been down to the south of France and the home of the Cathars on three occasions. This is a wonderful part of the world with solid earthy wines and warm hearted people.

Our first visit was a trip south in our elderly Cherokee aircraft – one of my flying group colleagues had a business interest in the region and we flew down to Castelnaudray between Toulouse and Carcassone. It was also Epi’s first long distance trip in the aeroplane. We stopped off at Tours to refuel the aircraft and to take on much needed water ourselves – it was 44 degrees C on the ground and the tarmac was melting beneath the tyres. Epi slept for much of the second leg of the flight (I have a photo somewhere) 😉 We were met at Castelnaudray airfield by my colleague’s partner in the enterprise and driven to Villefranche-de-Lauragais and our hotel. It is testimony to how hot it had been that Epi downed the first glass of Kronenbourg 1664 in one go!

Dinner that night was also an amusing episode. The waiter brought the menu and there was an issue – pointing to Epi and myself, I said “Nous sommes Vegetarien”. You may imagine the look of horror on the waiter’s face 😉 To his credit he rushed off to the kitchen and the Chef duly appeared – without his cleaver! He suggested an Omelette Parisian with a Tomato and Cheese salade. All I can say is he did us proud – I’ve never seen so many Cep mushrooms in an omelette and there was so much salade that it was shared between all 4 of us! We also shared a very nice bottle of Cahors 🙂

So now you know why I love the south of France – first impressions mean a lot 🙂 More recently we stayed at a self catering chalet in Canet-en-Rousillon. Initially, we were a little disappointed in the area but once more friendly locals made us more than welcome. We attended a wonderful medieval festival in Canet itself and were shown around some parts of the old castle in the town by a local historian. Then the local tourist board office, which we popped into while investigating the modern town, suggested a short rail trip down to collioure to enjoy the beauty of a more traditional fishing community, albeit now very much a tourist attraction – definitely worth the visit if you’re ever down that way…

The second photograph that I posted on Facebook for this challenge is connected to my transport interests. Back when I was flying as a hobby, the club I belonged to used to organise fly-out’s once or twice a year. Usually these went to one of the local French airfields and an overnight stay in a hotel was included. In 1991 we went to Abbeville. Arriving in late-afternoon, there was a coach to take us from the aerodrome to the hotel in the centre of town. The evening was spent enjoying dinner and then retiring to the hotel bar where flying tales of varying levels of accuracy were exchanged over a few drinks.

Departure was scheduled for early afternoon next day and the following morning most (all?) of my fellow pilots were having a lie-in. But I’ve always been an early riser so I was out on the streets at 06:30 and strolling through town enjoying the sights including the Collegiate Church of Saint Vulfran – a magnificent gothic-fronted building with an incongruously small nave behind. I initially thought that it was a victim of the one of the wars but it turns out that it was never completed!

Continuing through the town I found signs for the railway station so off I went in that direction. The station building is a masterpiece in itself – I must post a photo sometime. I found a local train parked in one of the platforms and a shunter next to a shed. I wandered up onto the footbridge to photo the station and was pleased to find a train approaching from the south…

…presumably from Amiens. Where it was going I have no idea though its next stop could well have been Le Touquet – another popular fly-out destination. Planes and trains – a great way to spend a weekend away 🙂

Kicking off 2021 and wishing everyone a Happy New Year 🙂 Anyone who follows gaming, and probably quite a few non-gamers too, will have seen the disasterous release of the much hyped Cyberpunk 2077. Yet another Triple A games publisher demonstrates a lack of care for their customers and a belated offer of refunds will not heal the damage done to their reputation. If you’re wondering why I’m writing about a role-playing game when I’m supposed to be talking trucking, it’s because SCS Software also chose to apologise to their customers at the end of November. But rather than cause a tarnished reputation – it served to further enhance the good opinion of the company held by the community 🙂

The ‘apology’ came in a tweet with an attached blog post detailing some of the forthcoming developments while explaining that sadly, the Iberia DLC was going to be delayed. The community response was very positive and full of understanding. It has – not to put too fine a point on it – been a difficult year with much of the development work having to be done from home. In the face of those difficulties, what SCS have achieved is amazing and the only slight gripe to be heard regards the lack of new things for Euro Truck. American Truck has seen three new trucks added to the game as free updates, The Mack Anthem,..

…the Western Star 49X…

…and, most recently, the Freightliner Cascadia…

…The image of which, with that gift laden trailer tells you that SCS have again given us a christmas event too!

Also in ATS, we’ve had two new states as paid DLC’s, Idaho (which I posted about back in July) and Colorado with associated community events to take part in. Here are some screenshots from Colorado…

It’s impossible to do justice with just a few screenshots but I can tell you it is a stunning addition to the game.

Although Euro Truck didn’t get much with Iberia originally planned for delivery during the year, a number of French cities got a reskin to bring them up to the latest standard. Moving into 2021, The Ruhr area of Duisburg and Dortmund, along with the cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne, will get the map rebuild to bring that part of Germany up to the latest standard. Hopefully Iberia will finally be released and it looks like there will be a further map addition in the East (SCS are only teasing about that presently).

In ATS, California is going to be updated to the latest mapping standard and we know that the next state, already being worked on, will be Wyoming. Both games benefitted from new trailers and improved sounds too in the past year. There will be a major update to the lighting in both games in 2021 – something that has played a part in the Iberia delay. Given all that was delivered in 2020 and what is planned for 2021 – I really don’t think SCS had anything to apologise for! Here’s to a great 2021 – Keep on Truckin’ everyone 🙂