Dec 1, 2015: Last Day in France

December has officially arrived. We woke up in Canet-en-Roussillon in the shopping center parking lot where we had spent the night. We made our way to Argelès-sur-Mer to use wifi at McDonalds (which is slowly starting to feel like a second home, sick as that is) and to briefly meet with Marian and Manu, and Franzi and Joachim, the other two couples that we know from Berlin who are also traveling around in Spain. They want to head up north to look for a place to maybe settle for good, and we want to head south to be warm.

We traveled further through Banyuls-sur-Mer, a pretty coastal vacation city with lots of cute hotels and a big, long beach. Nice, but not the kind of thing we’re looking for. We kept going and saw these weird huts built next to the beach:

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Also, we noticed that in this area the French had shamelessly combined two of their biggest national passions: traffic circles, and wine:

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The route that we took further south towards Cerbère was incredible. It was a small twisty mountain road with a great view of the Pyrenees where we met perhaps two other cars coming the other way, and no one behind us for miles and miles.

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The Pyrenees mountains form a natural border between France and Spain, and separate the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe. They extend almost from coast to coast, but if you stay reeeeally close to the water, it’s possible to avoid them for the most part. I would have LOVED to spend time in Pyrenees, but it’s winter and the bus is overloaded and has just barely enough horsepower to move forward, so mountains are really out of the question. The hilly land out here, the pre-serious mountain mountains, so to speak, presents quite enough of a challenge for the poor thing.

I often think how much I would love to live in a place like this, surrounded with nothing but mountains and forest, with a huge garden to live off of and the clear starry sky every night. But then I come to my senses and realize how quickly I would lose my mind… I definitely need the city for half the time. But exactly half, otherwise I would lose my mind there, too.

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We stopped just past Cerbère at a small parking lot next to lighthouse overlooking the water, and with a great view of the city itself behind us.

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There are lots of hiking paths around here, and a graveyard behind us where we can fill up our water cannisters, so we decided we would park here for the night.

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We hiked up the hill behind us and spent awhile taking in the sick views. The parking lot where the bus was is pretty much ten meters away from the border with Spain, so we probably crossed the border on foot at some point.

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One of my favorite things about being in the south is the amount of rosemary and thyme (and sometimes if you’re lucky, sage) that grows absolutely fucking everywhere. See photo:

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Also, there about a billion cactuses, all with little prickly purple fruits sticking out on all sides.

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You have to be careful when eating these that you really have gotten ALL of the needles out, otherwise it could get really uncomfortable really fast. They have a nice taste, but they are filled with hard seeds that are difficult to digest. But if you get a bunch together and press them and then strain out the seeds, you can use the juice for all kinds of things… or just straight up drink it— it’s pretty tasty.

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It was getting dark, so we headed back to the bus and made dinner. We had found pizza a few days ago. How to make pizza warm without an oven? Easy. Fold it in half and heat each side in a pan. Instant hobo pizza. I took off half of the gross rubbery cheese and threw on some olive and sun dried tomatoes and herb de provence instead. Came out alright.

IMG_7048Sleep time. Tomorrow, Spain!

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