Every year when our lovely cousins come and visit, Mark and I leave the Hothouse compound together and holiday somewhere for a few days. This year we went down to our favourite bit of coast - many times rambled on about on this blog - Cerbère.
The sun resolutely refused to shine apart from a half day out in Gerona, but that was fine. This odd little sea-village is atmospheric in any weather conditions and we passed a lot of time wandering around in the echoing tunnels that run under the huge railway sidings, popping up like meerkats and exclaiming: 'Oh, so that's where that comes out,' etc. We even had the pleasure of listening to the Singing Railings that perform with certain wind directions.
Mark was due to play piano on the beach for the 'Fete de Village' on the first evening, but after a couple of hours of spotting rain it was decided that the event would be cancelled. The roadies packed everything away; our friend the organiser shrugged, said sanguin things like 'c'est comme ça', and invited everyone concerned up to his café to eat mussels and chips, after which I swam alone in the grey sea and marvelled at the village/landscape of yellow and pink buildings, vast arched brick walls that support the train sidings and towering craggy hills under glowering cloud.
The terrace of the re-conditioned La Vigie hotel
The next day we took the slow train to Gerona and spent a few happy hours ambling through the ancient streets, eating ice cream and trying to find a coat for Mark that would have sleeves long enough (impossible) in the rather cool clothes shops that make up quite a large part of this smart city.
My sort of restaurant where we had tea, mainly so I could snap the interior, including the wonderful old loos
Incredible, ancient general store complete with ceiling fans, a million types of paella rice, and two severe-looking old men who pointed at the No Photography sign when I gestured to my camera after we had bought afore-mentioned rice and Touran - Spanish nougat stuff
Outside of lovely bistro/café
Buildings enjoying the sun at Gerona station
We returned to Cerbère, ate in our favourite restaurant and talked to a party of English cyclists about their tour of the Pyrenees which had taken four and a half days - end to end - pretty impressive; I can just about make it to the bank and back, taking in the small rising hill as one approaches the Hothouse, and, some of the team members were . . . let's say, people who obviously had a happy relationship with cake.
The next day the sky threatened thundery rain, so after a muscle-building walk up into the hills we packed up the unused piano and headed homewards, craning our necks to take in a last view of the lighthouse, bay and small clutch of seafront buildings that make up the last coastal town in France before Spain.