The house in Axat sits directly, and I mean directly, on the River Aude, which has its source in the Pyrénées and runs east into the Med, carving a most attractive and highly navigable waterway (raft or canoe, no barges or super-yachts). It is serene, sitting on the terrace enjoying a glass of something medicinal, the church bell marking each passing hour, and otherwise only the whoop the occasional kayaker to disturb. All in all it is a supremely relaxing place to be and the few days saunter by in a rhythm of eating, drinking, walking, drinking, and a little adventuring - and drinking.
|Axat: the view from the terrace|
|Sermon on the mount -fresco in the church|
|Lemon verbena mousse with|
|Every car should have air con in the glove box|
It is sad to say goodbye to Bella at Perpignan airport as it signals how close we are to the end of this trip. She has served us well and we only exchanged a few bitter words over GPS directions. One of Bella's most attractive features is the air conditioning in the glove box, which serves to keep the essentials of life cool. Every car should have this as standard.
We take an Air France flight to Orly and fetch up to our Scottish friends' apartment. They have been living in Paris for five years now, but we first met when they lived in Wellington.
|Poultry is presented with all its bits including gizzards|
The Sunday weather precludes much except a lazy lunch at the corner bistrot. While the other three order an attractive avocado and shrimp dish, I opt for Salade de Gésiers - yes that is chicken gizzard salad. It sounds like something Jed Clampett would eat. The fried gizzards come atop of a pile of salad greens, and are crowned with a poached egg. They are not unlike bacon, which is a surprise, and rather delicious. A good choice after all.
When the weather improves we mooch around the Parisian streets and wander through the Luxembourg Gardens. Paris is quite well served for parks and areas providing respite from the insane traffic. A quartet of skilled and competitive boules (petanque) players absorb our attention for a good while. There is evidence of considerable technique as the three men and one woman flick the weighty boules with precision: they either land just near the target, or conversely squarely smack the opponents boule and sending it skittering away.
|Soupe a l'oignon|
And so our trip draws to a close. I head to London to catch up with friends and the h-g stays a couple more days with our kind Celts before he returns via Dubai, where he stops over to see his boy.
We are home now - it's raining. The first rain we have really seen (aside from one drizzly Paris day) in seven weeks. Welcome back.