We woke to a very blustery day….50 mph winds expected. It seemed the perfect day to bundle up and stay inside but Craig was restless and wanted to go somewhere so we decided to drive down the coast to Argeles sur Mer, a little town close to the Spanish border. The reason for the destination? A British grocery store recently opened up there….maybe we can find some of the foods we haven’t been able to find in the French markets (horseradish, cranberries, pumpkin, dark ale).
As we left the Aude, the Pyrenees loomed in front of us.….lofty and imposing…..dwarfing the Black Mountains that border the Languedoc and frame our daily views. Entering the region of the Midi-Pyrenees, it appears that clouds are forming near the mountain peaks but, as we near these majestic wonders, we realize that these aren’t clouds, it’s snow being uplifted by the furious winds buffeting the mountain. These same winds are making our journey to Argeles ever more perilous as other cars and trucks usurp our road space. I grip the armrest tightly…..as if it will provide some protection against the collisions that seem imminent. Fortunately, all the drivers on the roads today are showing deference to the winds and maintain their distance.
After leaving the peage, we lost count of how many roundabouts we drove through on our quest but we finally found our destination….Cooper’s, the English grocery. It’s a small shop filled with foodstuffs that I’m sure are near and dear to the hearts of the English expats who have made the south of France their home, but didn’t bring us the same sense of nostalgia. Sadly, there was no horseradish…. no cranberries…. no pumpkin…. no dark ale, but there was cheddar cheese!
The drive home took us closer to the Mediterranean……where we saw pink flamingos foraging in the shallow waters. They must be making their way to their winter home in Spain.
With each and every drive we take, the countryside continues to amaze us……on these drives, we’ve seen stately chateaus, castles, turrets, church spires, miles of sunflowers, pink flamingos, soaring mountains…..everything is so surprising, so beautiful, so charming…..it takes our breath away every time.
C’est belle….it’s beautiful