Thursday, October 3, 2019
Here I am sitting in a generic Holiday Inn Express room at Blagnac airport (Toulouse) with the air conditioner on high turning the room into something resembling a walk in refrigerator. It feels great! As soon as Michael returns from turning in the rental car, I will have to moderate the temperature or he will be pulling on long johns, a balaclava and moaning about the fact that he didn’t bring hand warmers or mittens. It’s been a warm and wonderful month in France.
I’m thinking that it is time to recap the past few days before the hub and bub of flying and arriving home drives all immediate memories from my brain.
Our last full day in Cruzy was Monday, September 30, and we spent it back at the beach in Gruissan but not at the salt flats. This time we went into the town proper and wandered through its weekly market, which happened to be going on, before finding a suitable place to have lunch. Never has a trip revolved so much around lunches and wine. It’s been a joy but we’ll have to pay the piper in the form of major abstinence and deprivation once we get back home. You can only ask elastic to stretch so far.
Tuesday, we struck our Cruzy tents and headed west to Céret a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees.* Our chichi hotel was actually in a little hamlet beyond Céret and the hotel was totally charming. Old stone buildings, lots of growing things, a path down to the River Tech, a glowing turquoise swimming pool, beautiful salon, etc.. An oasis of tranquility in our hectic world. A most spectacular thunder and lightening and rain storm entertained us our first night there.
Turns out it was also very well located for a drive (on Wednesday) up the river into the mountains and arriving, ultimately, at Prats de Mollo, a beautiful village with much of its medieval architecture still intact. The village’s proximity to Spain was evident in the many Catalan references. We ate in a restaurant featuring Catalan cuisine and the meal was a delectable change from our standard French fare of the previous three plus weeks.
Back at our hotel, we enjoyed more wine from our private stash and then cards in the grand salon. Claire emerged triumphant at the conclusion of the game.
*As we approached Céret, we were gobsmacked at the sight of a monstrous château rising up on our right. It is HUGE and just sort of erupts out of the landscape. Research (our host at the hotel and Wikipedia) reveals that it is the Château d’Aubiry. It was built by Pierre Bardou-Job for his son between 1893 and 1904. Apparently, papa Pierre made an obscene amount of money out of cigarette rolling paper and decided to build a château for each of his three children. At 26,910 square feet, Château d’Aubiry must have made a lovely, large gift. The château is not open to the public, unless, that is, you are a serious would-be buyer, in which case, please, come on in.