Cerbère laybyJanuary 12 in France
With a croissant from the local boulangerie settling nicely in our stomachs we began the 80km drive towards the Spanish border. Although we haven't been going flat out it has taken us a week since leaving Will's sister's in Orpington to reach this point. We could have sailed directly from the UK to Spain but it would have meant putting Poppy in the ship kennels for a considerable length of time and we weren't prepered to do that to our highly anxious rescue dog.
On today's drive we followed the path of an estuary for a while before the road ran parallel to train tracks. All of a sudden the distant band of mountains we'd watched the sun rise over appeared much larger. Many were in silhouette but some were snowcapped and dramatic. The physical barrier of the Pyrenees led inland from the Mediterranean Sea, stretching right the way to the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the French/Spanish land mass.
After a detour to pick up supplies from Lidl (the French E.Leclerc supermarché had height barriers 😤) the van was climbing through mountain valleys. We had chosen to take the coast road and were so glad we did! The weather still being bright and windy, we were afforded stunning views of the sparkling azure sea flecked white with breaking waves. The route was steep and winding as it took us round headlands and into deeply indented coves where pale villages with terracotta rooftops clung to the valley sides.
Even at this time of year the earth and grasses appeared scorched. Prickly Pear cacti grew wild outside the stoney terraced vineyards. We really did feel like we'd entered a different world. The stopover Will had found on Park4Night was amazing. A large fenced off layby above the picturesque village of Cerbère, it was inside a cove with a view down the precipitous rocky slope to the wild sea. The sun was shining brightly when we arrived and the view was so beautiful it was difficult not to pop with happiness!
After lunch we scrambled down the zig zag shingle path to the pebble beach. Most of it was now in the shadow of the mountainside but Vicky climbed up some rocks and found a spot of sun to lie in (albeit in her thick padded coat) while Will attempted to fish. Unfortunately the wind was again far too strong and he had brought the wrong equipment. He ended up slipping over on wet rocks while trying to retrieve the top half of his rod and ripping part if his fingernail away from his finger. Ouch! Never mind, the shock only dampened his spirits for a little while and after a sweet cup of tea and some chocolate cookies his cleaned and bandaged finger wasn't going to stop him appreciating the gorgeous view and being excited about going to Spain the next day!Read more