Thursday, May 10, 2012
Someone up there decided we all needed a day off….my back pain gave us all that excuse and what a wonderful place to take a day off. The weather was mild and overcast most of the day with only a few moments of sunshine here and there.
If you’ve never visited Collioure; it is a very quaint beach town developed around a large fortress and Chateau. Louie XIV was one of the last to really use this as a home. It was designated as a training center for the French military in 1964 and they are conducting training sessions in the water all day long every day here. The tourists love watching them and I’m sure they love the attention we give to them. In full combat uniform they trudge in and out of the water; sometimes swimming and other times in kayaks or other types of boats. Last night their faces were blackened for night patrols. Many times they are fully armed with automatic weapons.
I’ve posted a few photos of the hotel…every wall is crammed with original paintings; many by artists who have stayed here over the years; sometimes given to pay for their bar bills. With such picturesque scenes the town is always full of artists. Two of the better known artists who spent time here were Matisse and Picasso. We’re heard there is an original Picasso over the bar…we’re going to look for it tonight. They say it’s valued around eight hundred thousand dollars…its very small!
We had our breakfast in the hotel and I was able to go downstairs…the back was already starting to improve. By lunchtime…we ate lunch on our balcony… I was able to slowly walk with Jim around the level parts of the village and mid-afternoon I was walking stairs and slight inclines. I should be fit as a fiddle by tomorrow morning.
Some interesting photos you’ll enjoy are: two cars we saw parked in the lot…so close I’m not sure how either one of them will get out. We also had a group of children training this afternoon with wind sailing and rowboats. The large crucifix is on the edge of the breakwater and faces out to the sea. The large gold altar in the church was nearly black until I found the box to add a coin and turn on the lights; it is one of the largest ones that I’ve seen and all in gold. They have placed several metal “frames” around the city that are great photo shot views…I’ve put one in the slideshow for you.
When we returned from our walk…which started when we met Terry and Linda for ice cream at 3 pm…we found a trio of musicians playing outside of our windows for the tourists.
We’re meeting a 7 pm for dinner in a restaurant around the corner that was recommended in the Rick Steves book and then we’ll take our computers to the bar for some free Internet time before tucking in for the night.
Dinner was the best; we had a fabulous meal at The Marinade. Our waiter…Gilles…was very good and gave us quality service with a capital Q. He even taught me how eat mussels which I’d ordered for the very first time. We all shared a glass of Patis…new to Terry and Linda…and Linda enjoyed a regional wine along with Canard cooked according to the region. She also had her first Kir this evening at the bar as we work on our computers. Gilles stood at the door as we left thanking us for selecting his restaurant to dine in. A wow experience.
Tomorrow we visit some ruins in the Cathar Region on our way to the walled city of Carcassonne where we will spend a night in a Monastery.