Felix was guarding the cottage again last night…..waking us at sunrise to the now familiar sound…. “scratch, scratch, scratch”…..this time it seemed to be coming from a different wall. Has Ratty, denied his usual route of entry, been looking for a new portal? No time to search for him this morning….. therapy starts early today.
Angelique was a hard taskmaster. Now that I can walk (in a manner of speaking), therapy sessions have been moved upstairs. She added a new exercise to my current repertoire….balancing on the top step…..my feet more off the stair than on…..and, with a death grip on the banisters, raising up and down on my toes. Beyond the pain this caused my semi-immobile ankle, the fear of falling was palpable. Beads of sweat rolled down my face and splashed onto the floor. After what seemed an eternity, Angelique gave me my reprieve and Craig and I were free for the rest of the day.
Today’s excursion involved shopping! We were off to Le Grau du Roi, where Craig hoped to buy more fenders for the boat, and Montpellier, to IKEA for some much needed items for the cottage….a chair and a large rug for the living room and two chairs for the dining table.
Le Grau du Roi is a fishing town in between an Etang and the Mediterranean. A channel bisects the town providing a passageway between these two bodies of water. Craig navigated through the small streets and somehow found the boating co-op. He purchased six….SIX….fully inflated fenders. I didn’t know he intended to buy so many and I was more than a little concerned that his fenders would usurp the trunk space I intended for my acquisitions.
It was now lunchtime so, with a car full of fenders, we perused our guidebooks and chose a restaurant on the channel. Getting there proved difficult…..every street leading to the channel was barricaded and lined with spectators. We parked quite a distance away and walked toward the waterway….Craig scouted ahead to ensure that we were taking the most direct route. Since I was lagging behind, I missed the festivities, but Craig arrived in time to see horses galloping though the streets. It was an “Abrivado” ….horsemen taking bulls to the ring. No need to fear for these bulls….this is France….after their time in the ring, there’s a “Bandido”….the horsemen returning the bulls to their pasture.
The Abrivado was finished shortly after noon and we were able to find our destination….Le Dauphin….a family run restaurant featuring fish caught that morning in the Mediterranean. They offered a 4-course prix fixe menu. We started with oysters and a salad with warm potatoes and anchovies. Both were delicious. The oysters, fresh from the Etang, had the fresh taste of sea air. The anchovies, just caught, were very different from those we’ve had in the US and were quite tasty. Entrees were mackerel and merlan…..both cooked to perfection. The merlan (known for its voracious eating habits) was served in the traditional way…..with his head biting his tail. Our server offered to de-bone it and we cheerfully accepted her offer. Accompaniments were saffron rice and ratatouille….adding flavor to the meal without overpowering these mild fish. Next up….the cheese course….two soft, mild cheeses that almost melted on slices of fresh baguette. The finale was homemade crème caramel….the best we’ve ever had. This definitely was a meal that will be long remembered.
After lunch, we strolled along the channel toward the Mediterranean. It’s glistening blue waters had been beckoning us all through lunch. The distance was longer than anticipated….Craig made it, but I had to turn back.
On our way to Montpellier and IKEA, we drove through the Camargue….Europe’s largest river delta, bordered by the Rhone river and the Mediterranean Sea. As we drove through it’s salty marshlands, we spied some of the flamingos that make this area their home. I’d like to show our photo of these interesting birds but Craig, being in his “destination, not journey” mode, didn’t stop in time to take a picture, so this picture is courtesy of a Camargue website.
Looking for IKEA made us feel like mice in a maze…..it was always visible but très difficile to find. Finally, after many wrong turns, it loomed straight ahead. We parked and headed into this nirvana of inexpensive furniture.
Walking through this gargantuan was harder than any therapy Angelique has given me but, after circumnavigating it, we successfully exited with three chairs, one ottoman and a rug. And everything fit in the little Modus….even with the six fenders!
It was a good day…..il a été une bonne journée