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Sunday May 25, 2008
Last night I went back to the Festival Cafe and had a "Plat du Jour", Entrecote au poivre, quite good, with some cheese and one of those tiny, delicious espresso cafes.
I am woken up in the morning by some showers while snuggly in my bed in the car. But the wind has topped and by 8 am I am on the road. As soon as I cross the Rhone the countryside changes dramatically. Irregular buff chalky hills and low compact bushes cover the ground, some blooming brightly yellow while the leafy trees from yesterday have virtually disappeared. Also an increase in conifers, especially those tall thin pencil trees, famous from the van Gogh paintings, which form part of the landscape all the way into Spain. Most of the way it is heavy heavy rain, but I am kept warm by a wonderful feeling that I am not alone, but that other thoughts are traveling with me. The landscape changes frequently, sometimes flat sometimes hilly, but the pencil trees are always there.
The Spanish border is right at the start of the magnificent Pyrenees. I drive on to Fegueres then left to Roses where the Pyrenees mountains dip steeply into the Mediterranean. Here the houses cling precariously to the mountain side right up to the top. The caravan park in Roses is not much so I find my way on to Cadaqués, via a 14 km narrow road through the mountains, which is a magnificent National park. Cadaqués is a delightful fishing village and the original home of Salvador Dahli. After a while I find my way twisting and turning to a rather wet caravan park and book for two nights. I will stay longer if the weather improves. The narrow boulevard of Cadaqués is right along the waterfront, with the waves at places splashing right across the road. Tiny beaches are crowded by small fishing vessels at several places. Restaurants abound along the waterfront as well as inland. Tomorrow I will explore all this. Today I just dry out and get settled.
In the evening I change my mind and start walking down hill through one of the town's narrow streets, but after only a few hundred yards I see a typical Spanish pub, no respectable tourist is sure to get near. So I go in and enjoy a couple of unadulterated tintos (glass of red wine of the house, at € 1.50 nowhere near the 1 peseta 50 years ago, but still quite cheap these days) and swap remarks with some locals about the film we are watching on TV.
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There is also a fancy little restaurant I noticed on my way down with marinated sardines on their Specials board outside. I walk back up and go in. The place is run by a Swiss couple. The sardines are great, the entrecote as medium rare as you can have it and the Gruyere with thinly sliced passion fruit (?) a combination which reveals a chef who know his business.
Throughout the night the background music features a clarinetist from the Swing era. I know him well but just can't think of his name. Buddy de Franco, they tell me. He is the one reed player, dead or alive, who has managed to remove the sharp edge of the typical clarinet sound. His sound is therefore so sweet, so romantic, so melancholic you never forget it, and every song he plays becomes sheer musical magic. (Well that is how an incurable romantic like me feels about it.)
Copyright © 2008 Michael Furstner