Thursday, June 13, 2013

a day's agenda

A comment on Ocean writing: if you do the math, you'll see that I have been posting close to midnight, Sorede time. That's because I have been so in love with waking up late and to a fresh day, with no hanging obligations, that I've been determined to be done with it all before I fall asleep. This means that I do the final read-through while half of me has already nodded off. The next morning, in glancing at the post,  I gasp in horror at all the errors that had passed me by. If you were one who read before I hit the edit button, you'll be thinking that I'm really sloppy. Not so -- just sleepy!

Another comment: our days in Sorede are real evidence that I do not live to blog. The routines here -- so pleasant, so beautiful in my eyes -- are in fact repetitive. There's plenty to do that we haven't done before, but, after four years, we also know what most fits our collective (varied) temperaments and so we whittle down the options and repeat our favorites. Which is not unlike saddling yourself with a likable but boring route because it suits your walking habits, even as you know that a spectacular one is actually not too far away.

So you see here a steady repetition -- Ed with cats. Bread shopping. A breakfast with pains  au chocolat. And so on. Perhaps the meteorological backdrop changes (for example, this morning gave us the most perfectly blue skies -- so blue that you could see the snow on the Canigou mountain to the west), but not much else changes with it.

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[And speaking of no change, here they are! The couple that always always shows up, for years on end, at 11 am at the cafe bar  on the square -- she orders a quarter carafe of wine, he orders a beer and they sit and read. Always.]

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Still, every once in a while we do something that doesn't repeat a favorite. Going to the town of Banyuls further south certainly isn't an Ed favorite, but this morning I am feeling a tad feisty (rather than wanting to look hard for a common denominator) and so Banyuls (which I love for its commitment to the production of a perfect aperitif wine and also for the way you pronounce the name -- bahnny-ools -- sounding irreverent and silly all at the same time), yes,  Banyuls is on the agenda for this day.

And why the feistiness? Well, maybe because of the late night conversation Ed and I had yesterday. In reviewing the day's photos, I mumbled -- I did not know I looked so odd and lumpy from the back end of things (this, in reference to a downdog beach photo -- one I did not post).
He responds -- I could have told you that, and grins broadly. (Later, he says he was teasing.)

In any case, I bring out the maps for Banyuls. Right after lunch.

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(Did you ever play around with double and triple cherries when you were a kid? Dangling them from behind your ear? I did. And I continue to do it when I come across such twins or triplets.)

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Banyuls is less than 30 minutes away -- south, really south -- possibly the southern most town in all of France. And it's a busy place. People come here for serious wine shopping. Yachting too, I suppose -- there is a port, though we've always passed it by. I've picked a new attraction to visit this year -- the Mediterranean Gardens up in the hills, on the outskirts of town.

They turn out to be a bit of a dud (Ed's words, but I have to agree). There's not much to the gardens (and believe me, I love nearly all gardens) -- nothing you can't see growing wild on any number of hikes in the area. Serves me right for foisting Banyuls on Ed.



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Gardens done with. What now? I had the idea that we might pick up the eastern end of the GR10 -- the trail that crosses the entire Pyrenee range and ends in Banyuls, but the skies are now looking pouty with clouds and Ed speculates that maybe, just maybe we've hiked this trail segment already -- last year, or maybe the year before.

But the good thing about a mountain range is that within it, there are many mountains to climb. I look around us.
Let's climb that one -- I say pointing rather randomly. It has a church on the crest and possibly a good view. I mean, most mountain tops will offer a good view. Why not climb that one.

And it is a good hike. The clouds come and go, the winds throw terrific gusts of cooling air. To the east there is the sea, to the south there's Spain and all around us are the vineyards that make Banyuls the beautiful place that it is.

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at the crest

me, doing who knows what

continuing the hike to the next mountain

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a view toward Spain

That was a terrific hike, I tell Ed as we descend.
Much better than I thought it would be... he responds, determined to not ever appear enthusiastic about something as calm as a walk up a mountain on the outskirts of Banyuls.

Dinner: we want to eat salads at our super cool bakery. They close at 8 and so we cannot show up too late. This is the time when we feel most American -- not really following custom, not abiding by the norms. No one, not one single person comes here to eat in the late evening... I mean, how pathetic are you to eat dinner at a bakery that's about to close? But, we get this bug up our nose -- if they're willing to feed us, why not eat? And they are willing, indeed, happy to do so -- they didn't win the entrepreneurial award for nothing --  and so we eat their fantastic salads, as they mop the floors around us in anticipation of closing.

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Predictably excellent stuff and, of course, it comes with their most heavenly bread and, too, we purchase countless cookies so it is, in fact, a wonderful albeit weird dinner venue and maybe that's a good way to look at this day too -- wonderful, albeit a tad on the weird end of things.