After a day filled with vertical climbs, we decided to go in the complete opposite direction the following day. We got in our Seat Leon a little after 9:00 AM and drove east until we reached Narbonne, at which point we made a right and headed south along the coast. It was a sunny day and the light seemed to dance off of the Mediterranean and we headed into Catalunya. As we neared closer to the Pyrennes, the mountains seemed to roll right into the sea and with just 10 miles left until reaching España, we got off the highway and rolled into the small beach town of Collioure.
Collioure was a busy place, but not too crowded. There is an old fortress right next to the beach that made for a truly remarkable landmark. The streets around the fortress were lined with small shops of various types. Bakery, restaurant, leather goods and pottery just to name a few. We arrived just as everything was closing up, it was time for lunch. This is something we quickly learned, the French take lunch seriously. Everything closes for 2 hours and all of the restaurants fill up. After wandering around a bit and eating a beignet before the bakery closed, we decided to partake as well. And since we were so close to Spain, tapas were a necessity. So, back in my comfort zone (I don't know a lick of French), I broke out the español and ordered away. Naomi ate everything we ordered; boquerones, jamon, tortilla, pan con tomate, and chèvre cheese.
After lunch, we took a quick walk on the beach where we could throw some stones into the sea and get our feet wet. Then we shared a gelato before heading out to tour a local vineyard. The tour itself was nothing extraordinary, but the product was. It was a fortified wine, similar to porto, called Banyuls. It was aged for 11 years before even being sold. Yep, we brought some back. After the tour, we headed back up the coast, then turned to the west and drove home into the sunset. Great way to ride out your 30s.
Next up: France: Part IV - Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi