Here I am in the middle of the middle ages… The medieval period and a time when life is short and often without meaning. In 1066, I became Count of Carcassonne on the death of my father. I ruled for 46 years before succumbing to mental illness at the age of 62. I’m going to tell a part of my story and I’m afraid it isn’t always a bed of roses – Though, for the time, my reign was both prosperous and peaceful for my subjects. Then I’m going to tell a bit about my elder Son’s reign, which has been more problematical.

The lands I initially ruled were the counties of Carcassonne and Beziers…

20221114152235_1

…and I did that as vassal to my lord, the Duke of Toulouse, and ultimately, on behalf of the King of France. When I took the throne of Carcassonne, I was unwed. But you can see from the image above that I found a Scots Wife who became Countess Stella. Initially ‘just doing her duty’, she ultimately became my soulmate and mother to 6 children. She also demonstrated her intelligence (one of the main attractions from my point of view) by assisting with running the realm, especially in the financial and diplomatic areas😎

When starting out I think I had a long-term project to reunite the Duchy of the Languedoc. Not easy for many reasons…

20221114171346_1

…For starters, the county of Albi was in the hands of my cousin – family and also a friend. No point in starting a war there, especially as I was 2nd in line to inherit the title. Montpellier and Uzes to the east were in alliances that made them out of the question. Only Foix in the west was vulnerable but I needed a little help from my Bishop – a Casus Belli (A valid reason to declare war – fabricated in this case). I was lucky, the Count of Foix was not making himself popular with a lot of people and his ties with Navarre on the other side of the Pyrenees meant that my declaration of war saw some support from my neighbours (and relatives) in Comminges. That was the only war instigated by me during my reign. We won and captured both the Count and his Son. The titles came to me and after a short period in prison, I released them both to wander where they so willed.

After that, all was quiet – I had to get the Foix peasants under control to ensure my taxes were duly collected. There were some some years of peace, then I was called upon to send troops to help in my Liege’s war to take Rossello in the north of the Catalan country. Not long after, my Liege, the Duke of Toulouse, died and left a mess – two Daughters squabbling over who should rule. We got embroiled in that but only as victims – Carcassonne was besieged and much damage done before the sisters sorted out their differences.

Then, in 1112, I finally succumbed to mental health issues and died – My eldest Son took over as Count…

20221206214823_1

…And that’s probably a good point to look at our family tree…

20221211094807_1

…You can see my eldest Son highlighted, second-left among his siblings. It’s a tragic picture. A few years into his reign and only 2 of my children still live. I need to tell their stories.

Heloise, my first born, should have been married into nobility to help in forging alliances. Instead, she had a dalliance with my most senior knight and bodyguard – becoming pregnant. In a strict Catholic world I had to make some difficult decisions to keep the church and subjects onside. I could have imprisoned her and her lover, and even had them executed – it would have been seen as not an act of tyranny but one of just cause. I couldn’t ignore their misdeed because my Bishop did not approve and that impacts our incomes from the church. Instead, I found a compromise. I compelled them to wed and I then employed Heloise as my Seneschal – A Girl Friday, empowered to ensure my court runs smoothly and a job she fulfilled very well. Her husband continued in his role as bodyguard (he owed me)! After my death, my eldest Son got dragged into a futile war because of an alliance he’d made and her husband was killed. She drank herself to death soon after.

My second daughter – Mabila, third from the left. She could have also been a means to forge alliances. But it became apparent quite early that she was not really interested and ultimately, she confided that she really was not into men. Another issue for me as a good Catholic – I felt that the best thing was to allow her to make her own way and not to force her into a marriage that was against her will and would probably have been unproductive. It remained our secret. She must have felt that she was not a good Christian because she became a flagellant to the point that she died from self inflicted wounds.

Next in line was my second Son, Enric. He died aged 11 from wounds. No one knows how he got them – Evil eye was suggested.

Next is my third Son. When I died, the rules of succession kicked in. My eldest Son got the bulk of my titles – Carcassonne and Foix – but my youngest got the county of Beziers. So he appears here as Count Pierre-Raimon II. His is possibly the most tragic story of all. I arranged a marriage for him with a beautiful Danish maiden and they had a Son. Some time after my death things took a tragic turn… My eldest Son can tell what happened – “The Countess committed an act of adultery and my brother imprisoned her. Unable to forgive, he had her executed. Then, while I was away fighting in an uprising against the Holy Roman Empire, he took his own life out of remorse.”

My youngest Daughter, Eufrosina, lives on and is a very capable warrior – something her husband may be glad about because I think he’s a bit of a wimp🙄

Tragedy seems to be the norm in Crusader Kings III, but lets see how my County progresses as I play on as my Son, Count Raimon-Rogier II – the first target is to find a way of reuniting Beziers with Carcassonne. I can’t do it by armed means because our Liege will not allow it 😉 More medieval politics soon 😅👍

Last time, we joined Motown Dog on a night trip from Santa Fe to Kingman. Today we’re going to join Azyet as she takes a load of Stone Wool from Esbjerg in Denmark to Le Mans in France. It’s quite a long trip and we’ll need a rest stop around the halfway point. Lets do a quick introduction. Azyet is a DAF XF 105 equipped with a 460HP engine and a 12 speed automatic gearbox. In addition to the engine brake, she also has a retarder to help with slowing down. She’s hauling one of our company’s curtainside trailers.

We collected our load from the harbour and set off with a view of the docks…

20220715120659_1

Not far along the E20 heading east, we found someone who was not having a good day…

20220715121155_1

…A reminder of the importance of securing the load correctly before setting out. At Kolding, we picked up the E45 heading south to make our way into Germany. At the border near Flensberg, the road becomes Autobahn 7 and we continue over the Kiel Canal…

20220715121842_1

…It’s quite a climb over that bridge and despite having a relatively light load, we lost some speed. But the guy who was overtaking us lost a lot more and had to try again on the down hill after the apex! I don’t know what his problem is – I’m cruising at the truck speed limit of 80kmh and the retarder is holding my speed to a little over that. He’s risking a fine if the Polizei spot him 🙄 On these roads Azyet is very happy cruising at 80 in top gear and she will put in a pretty economical performance over distance.

Staying on the ‘7’ and we dive under the Elbe River at Hamburg, surfacing in the docks area of the city…

20220715122411_1

…Just south of Hamburg we leave Autobahn 7 and take Autobahn 1…

20220715122600_1

… which will take us south west past Bremen. There’s some nice rolling countryside around here and we’re enjoying the ride…

20220715123225_1

…the ‘1’ will take us most of the way to the Belgian border so we can relax and enjoy the drive. Can’t relax too much though as there are always things going on including other trucks joining the autobahn at slower speeds. This was near Osnabrück…

20220715123519_1

…a Bring truck pulling out. With a string of traffic in the fast lane I had no choice but to slow and then grind my way up the hill at his speed.

As we pass the Kamener Kreuz junction we can admire a sculpture by Alex Gockel featuring 8 angels carrying a helicopter painted in the colours of the ADAC – Germany’s rescue helicopter service…

20220715123901_1

…Popularly known as the ‘Gelbe Engel’ – Yellow Angels

Not far to go on my first shift now, At Westhofen we diverge onto the 45 and see the first signs indicating Liège…

20220715124145_1

…the 45 will connect us to autobahn 4 to pass south of Köln. You can see the famous railway bridge and cathedral in the distance as we cross the Rodenkirchener bridge…

20220715124916_1

We’re fast approaching the Belgian Border, but I plan to pull in at the last German services to refuel (it’s cheaper in Germany), and park up for the night. I planned the stop at the start of my journey and here we are on time with a few minutes to spare on our driving hours…

20220715125305_1

The fuel cost €766 and early next morning we were off and driving across the border into Belgium. Initially on the E40, we picked up the E42 as we passed Liège and continued past the airport…

20220715125647_1

…This is an older un-rebuilt section of the #ETS2 map and some of the bends along the route are unrealistic. I always slow to 70kmh for the section past the junctions to Luxembourg and Reims. Some time ago SCS introduced random events which placed roadworks and accidents at different locations on the road. But on the older maps some roadworks were permanent structures, like this one near Namur…

20220715125906_1

…There have been some changes over the years as if the work is gradually nearing completion and I assume this fixed roadworks will disappear when the mapping is rebuilt in this area.

We picked up the E19 near Mons and crossed the border into France…

20220715130258_1

…where the E19 becomes France’s A2 autoroute. We’re now into the Peage system and during the rest of the trip we will pay €151 in tolls 😟 The plan is to head west towards Le Havre so we picked up the A29. We cruised along this road maintaining a steady 80kmh. Although the limit for trucks on much of the Autoroute network is 90kmh, it’s more economical to drive at a slightly slower pace. We only drive to the full 90kmh when we’re tight for time.

Not long before we reach Le Havre I spot the name Paluel on the road signs…

20220715130907_1

…I’m going to turn off there and take a short cross-country drive to pick up the A28. Coming off the autoroute means we have to pay the first of two tolls on this run…

20220715131547_1

…They have security guys at every peage – probably there to deter acts of vandalism.- Nous Français détester donner de l’argent au gouvernement 😅

The short trip on the D490 has its benefits because we get to cross the River Seine via the Pont de Brotonne…

20220715131846_1

…and nothing says ‘Bienvenue en France’ better than a field of Tournesol…

20220715132007_1

…Sunflowers 😎👍

Off the D490 we picked up the A28 heading southwest. There are some lovely forested areas here…

20220715132517_1

…and long open viaducts carrying us far above deep valleys…

20220715132559_1

…That speedo is still sitting resolutely on 80kmh😅 Then, almost before we know it, we’re there…

20220715132958_1

We dropped off our load at Wilnet…

20220715134328_1

…watched leaving by the security guard. Then it was off to get Azyet maintained (another €494) and find a hotel for the night. Another job completed and 1452 more kilometres on the odometer. Fuel consumption worked out at 24.2l/100km or 11.67mpg in UK measures. 👍

Here’s the in-game map of where we’ve been. Northern section – Esbjerg to near Dortmund…

20220717205740_1

…and the southwestern section from near Dortmund to Le Mans…

20220717205715_1

I hope you have enjoyed our trip 😎👍

This month we’re back into a virtual world for Clare’s Share Your Desktop challenge. On March 28th I took a load from Bourges, in mainland France, to Ajaccio on the Island of Corsica. After a break, on 31st I once more climbed into my truck and collected a load of frozen meat bound for Hamburg in Germany. My desktop is an image from my run down to Porto Vecchio to catch the ferry to Marseille…

20220331091513_1

…and shows my truck on the T40 climbing up to the town of Sartène. High above on the hillside is the Couvent Saint Côme et Damien. I love driving through Corsica – lots of challenging corners and climbs / descents😎

The image is from Euro Truck Simulator 2. The truck I’m driving is called Lady Galadriel – she’s a DAF XF and has a 530HP engine. She’s hauling one of my company’s side door refrigerated trailers. Like all maps in ETS2, the view is a representation of the real world with a degree of license applied to give a feel for the landscape through which the player drives while including clearly identifiable landmarks. You probably can’t see the Convent from the T40 in real life because of the trees and the topography, but the mapper’s artistry makes for a compelling ‘might have been’ view😎👍