Thursday, May 2, 2013

Productive Afternoon in Perpignan

Borrowed Barbara's car and drove up to the 'big' city, Perpignan - 117,000 people compared with 9,978 (now 9,979) in Argeles-sur-mer. Lovely place, as you can see from the photo of the canal ... more photos on my Facebook. It probably dates to around 500 AD; Perpignan's golden age was 1276-1344 when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca. Now it's the capital of the Languedoc-Rouissillon region of France.
After doing some banking (en francais), decided to check out the Foire Expo, which I thought might be a business trade show. The Palais des Expositions was a couple miles away, but it was a beautiful afternoon so rather than retrieve the parked car and fight downtown traffic I chose to walk and take photos. (D-L and I had gone to central Perpignan previously for a superb photojournalism exhibition, so I knew my way around some.) Turns out the Foire was a home and garden show - meubles (furniture), piscines (swimming pools), decoratifs. Nothing I'm interested in, at least not at the moment. So I wandered over to the gastronomie tent, where they had all sorts of sausages, cheeses, breads, candies. Opted for a glace italienne, vanille.

On the way back, crossed a different bridge and was walking down a pedestrian path when it dead-ended at the Tet river rapids. Doubled back and followed the signs to centre-ville, always a good choice. The roads are remarkably well marked around here, even so-called back roads into Argeles.

Since I was close, drove over to the airport to see if anyone was at the Aero Club I had spotted the other day when retrieving my two-days-late luggage. I'm hoping to take some flying lessons. To my good fortune, there were several guys there, and a couple of them spoke decent English. They provided me all the information I need to get started on lessons (prices are pretty reasonable), and then club secretary Antoine took me out to see the aircraft they have in the hangar, even had me climb up in the F-PATT sport plane cockpit.

He also told me about Empuriabrava, just over the border in Spain, perhaps the largest skydiving centre in Europe. Jumping out of an airplane is one of the things on my bucket list.

On the way back to Argeles, I tried to find the golf resort in Saint Cyprien. But I hadn't planned on it so didn't have directions. After about 15 roundabouts, I gave up and followed the signs (and more roundabouts) to home. I'll find the golf course another day, to be sure.

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