Monday, January 29, 2018


We have a custom-made artwork of tiles on our patio, based on this photo

I was not looking forward to a tedious 2-hour drive to the airport, a route I had traversed several times before. It didn't help my mood when I realized I'd forgotten my "Vinci" tolltag device for bypassing the queues at the peage booths.

Then as I left the village, I beheld majestic Canigou, dressed in fresh snow and radiant in the early morning sunlight. Canigou is the mountain peak in the sud de France. Our Matterhorn. Our Mont Blanc. Our Mount Rainier.

A little later I passed l'Étang de Leucate, the sun reflecting so brightly off the water of the lagoon I could only take quick glances. Through the marshes bordering, the rail line curved gently along the irregular shoreline. One of my favorite views, whether from the train where it seems as if you're skimming atop the water, or from the autoroute on the hillside above, and the landmark that beckons "almost there" whenever we head south to Argèles sur Mer.

The orange-and-white wind sock at the top of the hill attempted to appear relevant, but the wind was, as a British golf announcer used to phrase on a calm day, "a mere zephyr." Not like the two recent trips when the Tramontane was blowing so hard the wind sheaths stiffened as if overdosed on Viagra and I had all I could do to keep the Peugot on the road.

Further inland, the wind turbines were spinning in a synchronized choreography, resembling young cheerleaders doing cartwheels in place. Save one, apparently pouting at being stuck in the back row corner.

And then, of course, the magnificent medieval cité of Carcassone. Only a glmpse behind the trees as you speed down the hill heading west. But on the return, you get a good long look at the stone fortress, especially at night when the ramparts are lit in amber glow.

I passed miles of fertile farm fields, which would make excellent golf courses if they weren't so far from any population centre.

Here and there, white and pinkish cherry blossoms were starting to show. Spring comes early in this part of the world. The brilliant yellow mimosa which Donna-Lane loves so much cannot be far behind.

In the distance, the Pyrenees presented a row of jagged white. Reminded me we want to take a ride on le train jaune and get a close up look at the mountains in the snow.

The gray scud clouds that hovered over Toulouse descended into a ground fog, creating an air of mystery. As in, would my flight be able to take off?

It did.

Just another boring day in our special paradise. Ho hum.

P.S. The view from the airplane of the snow-blanketed French and Italian Alps was spectacular. Seemingly endless unspoiled beauty.