Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day in Port Vendres

After a breakfast of hemp hearts and fruit our Valentine's Day had begun. We decided to go up the coast to Port Vendres in France for our Valentine's lunch. Out on the road we once again followed a cycling team dressed in red lycra this time heading along the twisty road, which is full of switch backs, on their way to France. This time we were lucky as we swiftly came to a sharp climb that slowed the team down so that we could pass them.

We drove through the terraced, dormant vineyards climbing up the mountains and finally wended our way down into Port Vendres. We walked around the harbour, which is filled with commercial fishing boats and private yachts only to find that the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. Never mind, we went to the restaurant next door and sat in their covered outside area, from where we had a good view of the comings and goings in the port. I had the moules for starters followed by lieu fish, which was covered in a too thick sauce of eggplant, pepper, olives, tomatoes and a mixture of something with anchovies. I must say I've tasted better. Seamus had the goat's cheese salad followed by moules frites, probably a better choice.

We walked passed all the fishing boats and huge piles of rope nets, nylon nets, nets with large holes and nets that minnows would have difficulty swimming through. It was all quite colourful with floats of every size and colour mixed in with the mountains of nets. Finally, we reached the port fish store where we made a purchase of some Coquille St. Jacques, which we had for dinner tonight. We also bought some octopus in the most beautiful pastry, which will be an experiment, and some lovely fresh St. Pierre fish or John Dory.

As we were leaving we spotted the Charles Rennie MacIntosh museum, which opens on Friday. In one part of the museum building they had a wonderful photographic exhibit of the port, which really captured the beautiful light that is always present here.

This time when we drove through Cerbere on the way home we stopped at the swimming pool, which is right on the harbour. I had visions of coming and swimming in an old fashioned salt water pool but as we went down the steep steps carved in to the rock, every door was closed. When we got to the bottom of the steep hill there was an ancient outdoor pool completely filled in with earth and debris. No swimming for us in Cerbere.

Tonight has been spent watching some of the live feed of the breed judging at the Westminster Dog Show in New York including the gorgeous Newfoundlands. Sadly, we won't be awake for best in show. That will be for tomorrow's viewing.

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