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Published: July 23rd 2009
Sunday 19th July - How to waste a day
Getting back on the bike minus luggage was a joy - it was transformed to a flickable toy and initially I congratulated myself on the sageness of my decision to base myself a further day at the camp site at Carcassonne.
However it would have made more sense to have researched what I was actually going to do in its environs. I decided to head for the coast. By 2pm I was hungry and a place called Port Leucant conjured up visions of boats bobbing in a marina with a plethora of gastronomic opportunities on the quayside. Boring ride to get there surpassed only by the place itself. A completely soulless resort town with endless ochre coloured developments and not a restaurant in sight. I persevered due to the onset of starvation and eventually located a snack bar but it was pretty far from what I had envisaged. Yes it had a magnificent beach, which was obviously and deservedly the main draw but what a horrible place - I couldn't think of anywhere worse to holiday. Still I de-robed out of my bike gear and tested out the med before heading
further south in search of something more aesthetic and/or original. I had read that Collioure was more alluring and favoured by Matisse, whose art I rather like so I decided to head there - passing countless more bland resorts, they really had wrecked this part of the coast. Collioure itself was indeed more what I had hoped for but I didn't stay long.
I'd now come rather further than I had intended and wary of not mullering myself decided to take the autoroute to head back to Carcassonne - it was about 200km. I was minding my own in the outside lane when some tosser decided to pass me using the space to the left of the bike in my lane and the verge bounding the two carriageways. He whistled past me with inches to spare. Incensed and gesticulating like a loony I gave chase, but when you're starting at 90mph there is only so much chase left in the beemer so I put it down to experience and throttled back. My how I smiled though when 3-4 miles down the road the traffic had stopped. Spotting the car ahead I resolved to pass it with my boot out and shear off his wing mirror before a rare moment of maturity mixed in with self preservation (I would have been a donut to have come off the bike doing so) kicked in. So I consoled myself with stopping next to him uttering in my best Franglais - “Vous etes un coulant idiot 'mate' ” I am not even sure it makes sense but he seemed to get the gist. He was absolutely as I had imagined. A tanned spiv with girl in tow in stupid sunglasses, white sleeveless T-shirt, seat reclined to the max and his arm over-casually draped out the drivers window.
Short of sitting in the tent all day long I couldn't have had a much less fruitful day. Tomorrow though I head into the Pyrenees, Vernet-Les-Bains, which is the main starting point for treks around and up Mt Canigou, the highest peak in the eastern Pyrenees.
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