Saturday, 19 April 2014

Les Pedres, Capmany (Spain); La Garenne, Nefiach (France)

Tuesday 15th April 2014 - Saturday 19th April 2014

Leave Benicarlo, moving North, the plan is to be in Narbonne for Easter.

We arrive at Capmany, Les Pedres (N42 22’22” E2 54’47”), only about 20 miles south of the French Border, and well located as a stopover just about 2 miles off the N11.

Very pretty location, in Pine woods (but not too dense, just enough to give a little shade) and surrounded by the foothills of the Pyrenees.

We are fairly high up here, I think, but, it is very hot, at 25C, and that lasts well into the evening.


Wednesday 16th April 2014

In my humble opinion, this site is just fine for a stop over, enroute to/from Spain, but, the Reception staff and not particularly helpful or friendly, so, Kathleen is not happy.

IMGP2742 We have a quick explore of the village it is very pretty, but, there is just a single shop / cafe, a Restaurant and a bread shop.

It is decided we will head for France, Nefiach, in the vineyards of Roussillion.

Other than being pulled over in a roadside check, just after the Spanish / French Border, by French Customs officers, who gave up on whatever they were checking / searching for, when our French was not up to the job or answering their questions, and simply waved us on.

IMGP2746 If nothing else, it is a very scenic drive, winding through the foothills of the Pyrenees, with the snow capped peak of the Canigou Massif in view, despite the temperature outside of the van reading 25C.


We have a short hair raising section, when the satnav directs us along a road barely wide enough to  squeeze the van along it, through a vineyard, with deep storm drains, both sides,  ready and waiting for a slight steering error, to put a wheel down. 

Ordinarily, I would not have followed a satnav instruction to turn into such a small road, but, we are supposed to be very near the site, and, I therefore assume it is the approach road to the campsite. 

Two miles later, and lots of squealing from Kathleen, we emerge onto a slightly wider road.

La Garenne, Nefiach (N42 42’26” E2 39’28”) is a small but well kept ACSI site.

We cycle from the site to the village of Nefiach, about 2km away, along a traffic free track, there is a church, with a full complement of Easter Services. 

Kathleen is made up, all talk of going to Narbonne is forgotten. 

Even better it is only 12Euro per night!  

We will be here until Sunday, or even Monday, I suspect.
Mission accomplished, ie Church location and times established, we cycle on to the next village, Millas, for a refreshing glass of Rose. 

In France, they have "PMU bars", which are a bit like a betting shop with a bar combined. Very civilised. I notice that, the building next door to the PMU Bar, is the Bailiffs Court, very appropriate?

Suitably refreshed we, return via rather pretty fishing lakes, on the edge of the village. 

Thursday, we cycle to Nefiach for the first of the Easter Church services on the agenda, Stations of the Cross at 10:00 (according to the notice outside the church). 

We arrive 10:00 prompt, church is closed, absolutely no sign of life!

We cycle on to the church at the next village, Millas, same routine.

Here a young French couple, who are visiting from Paris, and speak good English, translate the notice outside of the church for us. 

Not that it really helps, we had understood it correctly, but, whatever the notice says, it is not happening!

We cycle back to Nefiach, it is now 11:15, the church bells are ringing, and a service is just starting, perhaps the priest slept  in?

IMGP2758 I amuse myself for 45 minutes, including finding this quaint house (the one with the turquoise shutters), it is only one room wide and three storeys tall.

After lunch, feeling safe after attending church, Kathleen is willing to venture out on the back of the scooter. 

We ride along to the village of Ille sur Tet about two miles away.

We have a little explore, and visit the inevitable pavement cafe (only orange juice for me, the scooter has its draw backs!). 

Then I suggest we go a little further and visit the “Orgues Ille sur Tet”.

I am amazed when Kathleen agrees to this, early days to think this, but, perhaps she is beginning to enjoy riding on the back of the scooter, just as the trip is almost over.

We find the place, get parked, but, then we find I have forgotten to bring the camera, we will have to come back tomorrow.

Back to the van, via Carrefour to buy more wine.

Kathleen has instituted a little regime, to keep our drinking under a modicum of control, we do not drink on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evenings.

Today is Thursday, but, it is decreed the “rules” can be relaxed, because, tomorrow, Good Friday, is a “Holy Day of Obligation”, and Kathleen cannot eat meat or drink alcohol, so, the Friday drinking evening is brought forward to Thursday.

As a non-member, it seems like a scam to me, you don’t actually give anything up, you just do it a day earlier? But, who am I to question the might of the Roman Catholic Church and 2000 years of doctrine?

Friday, we take the scooter and visit the “Orgues Ille sur Tet”, this time, with the camera.

The Orgues are a natural rock formation which have been produced by water erosion (the Tet is a river, this small stream is just a tributary, not the main river, but, the literature says, at certain times of the year, this becomes a raging torrent).

Most of the erosion of the rocks is produced by rain, rather than the actual river. The rocks are "soft" and sandy, and are eroded into these fantastic shapes by rainfall.
I have not found a translation for “Orgues”, but, I assume, from the appearance, it is “Organ”, or “Organ Pipe”, since that is what the rock shapes look like.

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