Friday, May 3, 2013

Still more friends...

OK.  It's official.  We have no right to complain about a lack of friends.  Our Dance Card is now nearly French State Approved Full(tm).

Jude and I headed to Girona to visit a childhood friend of her's who has lived in Spain for over 30 years.  This friend was an inspiration for Jude.  When we made our Escape from America Plans, we often said that if her friend could do it, so could we.

We had a bit of trouble finding reasonably priced rail between Paris and Girona.  The best we could do was to TGV to Perpignan and then bus into Spain.  Doing that would save us 230Euro.  So off we went in search of adventure.

After the troubles trying to find transportation into/out-of Spain, we had a growing feeling that Spain was remote and perhaps medieval.  The Lightening Quick Mind loves to draw Instant Conclusions.

What we discovered is that Spain is absolutely wonderful. 

For me, the south of France and the Catalunya portion of Spain feel very comfortable.  It's high chaparral brush and trees everywhere.  I grew up in Southern California and I could see why the Spanish felt they could own that part of the New World.  If it weren't for the differences in language, I wouldn't have known if I was in Europe or back in the USS... um... A.

We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant the night we arrived and shared an incredible bottle of Catalunya wine, Better-Than-Paris-Bistro-Fare food, and started to experience a slower, deeper pace of life.  Spain became our Plan C should Plan A-France not want us to spend our retirement monies here nor Plan B-Italy feel we are not worthy.

Visiting with Jude's friend was well worth the travel effort.  She was very kind and drove us around the Catalunya countryside and to some very fine places where we shared lunches and conversations just like the old friends that they are.

Jude's friend's husband and I spoke French the entire time as he doesn't speak English.  I was happy that we were able to cover a lot of ground and I learned a lot about Spanish culture.  What I didn't realize until we had returned to France is that he is also a very well informed oenophile.  His knowledge of European wines and each and every region they come from is impressive. 

He gifted us what is reported to be a fine Spanish wine.  The timing couldn't have been better.  Jude and I have been together 20 years in a few days and we will enjoy sharing the Better-Than-Cheap-Plonk bottle of red.

The Final Piece of our Spain Adventure took place in Perpignan.  We awaited our train when a TGV for Avignan arrived.  We were becoming anxious when it didn't leave on schedule to make way for our train.  Troubled, I suggested that I needed to see if the cars sitting on our tracks was actually the conveyance we needed.

With minutes, plenty of minutes, yes several minutes to spare, we raced to our seats on that TGV.  Shaking our heads, we realized it would have been horrible to have to wait another three hours to catch the next train north had we missed this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment