14: Cooling down in the Mediterranean

We must have both been exhausted, because we didn’t wake up until nearly 9:00. We availed ourselves of the lovely breakfast buffet and by about 10:30 set out for the day’s activities.

First stop was the train station, where we checked out the lay of the land. We found out which was our track for our early departure on Saturday and saw that we would have to navigate stairs with the bikes and packs. Ugh.

We walked the few blocks back to the center of town via a lively Saturday market where we especially admired the stand with at least 10 varieties of olives in big vats and the stand (actually a portable table) where you could refill your wine bottles from plastic 10-gallon containers.

As we reached the main shopping street we split up for a bit so that each could wander at her own pace. I checked out the shops and then found myself at the public market. As befitting a sea port the fish section was large and varied. Although I’m not an oyster lover, it was fun to watch the people slurping their dozens out of the shell at the café adjacent to the largest fish stand.

Eventually I turned around and there was Vera standing behind me (it’s a small town) so we picked up a few picnic items for the train ride tomorrow and then sat at a café across the street and I had a Panini and iced tea while Vera enjoyed a café crème.

After a visit to the tourist office and that fabulous ice cream stand (I had to have another lemon meringue ice cream, this time accompanied with coconut) we made our way back to the hotel for and afternoon chill-out siesta. Our new room was also comfortable in spite of the double bed (for one night out of 15, we could live with it) and we spent some time looking at pictures and then each napped a bit. Tourism in hot temperatures is exhausting.

By shortly after four we were out the door and on the way to the beach. Vera’s main goal was to revisit the beach where she had spent a couple of summer vacations in her youth, so I tagged along on her ride down memory lane.

While Vera was enjoying the flow of memories from her past, I dove in and enjoyed the buoyancy of the Mediterranean. At last, at the end of the long journey, reaching the goal of not only feet, but entire body in the Mediterranean. For what seemed like an eternity but was really only about a half an hour I bobbed and paddled in the sea.

600km in two weeks were really no problem. Basically we did it in 9 days of riding without ever once getting an early start (we never made it on the road before 9:30). And when one considers how crappy the trail was after Toulouse, I think it a pretty good accomplishment.

At about 6:30 we made our way back into town, and eventually found our way to a friendly little restaurant slightly out of the way of the main Festival noise and throngs.

The menu was fairly limited and I chose a pan-fried Loup de Mer which was accompanied by a green salad and tasty potatoes with sautéed peppers and onions. There was also a mustard/mayo combination which was delicious on the morsels of fish.

After dinner we made our way back through the throngs of people (actually, it could have been a lot worse) to the hotel, pausing several times to watch bits of the water competition (two 8-man/woman rowboats making speed laps) and soak in the festival feeling. Underway we munched on freshly made churros. Yum, deep fried dough covered in sugar!

Just as we got back to our hotel the people were lining up along the quai to watch the son et lumière which was scheduled to start in a few minutes. We went up to our room and packed our things together for the early departure and then I went back down for a few minutes to check out the son et lumière.

It was OK, but not as interesting or spectacular as others I’ve seen, so I only stayed about 5 minutes before heading back up to the room to hit the hay.

Day 14

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