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Fortuitously France

North of the Pyrenees

Friday 13 September: Well, the plan was to head to San Sebastian, the Basque capital and tourist mecca. We tried, we honestly did. But no-one from Servas was interested (I’d imagine they’re exhausted by requests in Summer) and our search criteria in Air BnB was turning up nothing; that will have been our price range!

Actually, that’s not quite true. What was popping up was a place called St Jean-de-Luz and places/beaches near it. We had a closer look and realised it involved crossing the border into France! San Seb was only an hour or so’s drive back west. We found a nice-looking place on Air BnB, a converted stable with good reviews, so we went for it and booked 4 nights! The place was compact but absolutely lovely, with a couple of kitchen burners outside, under a canopy. We received a great welcome and orientation from husband Francis, who also pointed out the trees laden with ripe figs; Phil indulged! Then we headed straight to the nearby beach, for the sunset and tapas at a beachfront restaurant. Nice, but price shock!! “You’re not in Iberia now Dr Ropata!”

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Sat 14: We took off to explore the local area by car. Hendaye was adjacent; a nice beachfront resort. We checked out the water - great surprise, the water was warm – similar to the Algarve  We drove back to base and walked to the local beach, Erromardie, for a swim in the surf. Home to a third Phil-made cataplana, this time chicken, and a lovely, and still dirt cheap, French rose from the supermarket, all outside under a wonderfully romantic canopy.

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Sun 15. Time to introduce ourselves to St Jean de Luz proper! We did a bit of touristy wandering , photographing, church visiting, coffee-drinking (Phil) and one of those little train tours of the place to get our bearings. One of the better value things we did! And we struck a trio playing Basque folk songs in the main square; they had a libretto vailable to follow the songs; quite a different language.

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Then to the main beach! Hot, water warm and dead calm like a swimming pool. Decided there and then to forget about San Sebastian and repeat the dose the following day  We’d planned to cook again but discovered the supermarket was closed. So we grabbed take-away pizzas from ‘Pizza & Co’; just superb, with yet another bottle of wonderful 3 Euro wine; we decided this fellow was a Syrah!

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Mon 16 September: The Energiser Bunny was up early for walk along the coast. Phil relaxed and progressed the blog. Beach again for another lovely afternoon, then to the supermarket for dinner supplies. Home, and disaster!! Phil’s cellphone, including drivers’ licence and two credit cards could not be found. Anwhere!! Car turned upside down three times! Minute examination of paths and gardens, kitchen and bedrooms; even the fridge  Too late to head back to the supermarket where last known use occurred! Not much sleep was had!

Tues 17. Up early and straight to the supermarket. Staff disclaimed all knowledge. A look through the bank of trolleys turned up nothing, nor did a close examination of the area we’d parked. Time to disturb our host, Francis’s wife Marijo, thankfully a former English teacher. She was beyond helpful. For the third Air BnB time, wonderful support above and beyond the call of duty of an Arrbnb host.

Off we went to report the loss, in the vague hope it might have been handed in, but more realistically to get the required acknowledgement for insurance purposes. Despite her best efforts we were shunted from pillar (National Police) to post (Local Police) and back again. Because we couldn’t assert it was stolen (we simply didn’t know) the guy was initially not that interested in accepting a report. Marijo eventually got the better of him and we departed, sans phone, but with tightly clutched police report for the insurance company. Following some emergency work on the internet, suspending credit cards and filing an insurance claim, we belatedly set off. Since we were on the northern side of the Pyrenees, we decided to stay in France and head East on the northern side towards Figueres and Barcelona rather than backtrack into Spain for the more southern route. One of those days we were grateful for the speed and efficiency of the otherwise-boring toll road!

We booked an overnight stay in a motorway hotel, generally designed for truckers. It was as ‘ok’ as we expected.

Wednesday 18 September: Phil's birthday!! Onward towards Figueres. Stopped at a lovely little mountain village; Rennes le Chateau, Another old church. Took photographs.

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Then the driving got interesting  With MC in the driver’s seat, hearts went to mouths! Praying nothing was coming the other way! Stopped to see where we'd been, great views, a cute little hermitage we decided we wouldn't trek down to (!) and MC found an empty grotto!

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Next stop, Salvador Dali country!

Posted by philandmc 17:08 Archived in France

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