23 to 26 March
Today we were up, literally, before the crack of dawn. We took an Uber to Gare de Lyon to be off on our next trip. We also had Jer’s golf travel bag, which dragging that through the metro would be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
We left Gare de Lyon at 6am to head South on a 5 hour train to Perpignan. While it was a long ride, it is nice because there is power, food and (generally) peace and quiet. Since we were up so early, we both passed out from lack of sleep as soon as we got on the train.
Once we got in at the station, we went to pick up our rental car at Hertz, which was super easy and convenient.
We then left Perpignan to head towards our hotel. On the way we stopped at the supermarche to pick up lunch and snacks (I was getting really hangry) and Decathlon to pick up long pants for hiking.
We then checked in at Le Mas d’Huston – Hotel Saint Cyprien. When we moved to Paris, a colleague told me about a website called VeryChic. This website has higher end hotels as a steep discount. There are limited rooms and the hotels change daily. I found Le Mas d’Huston on VeryChic and our room came with discount rounds of golf. I would call that a win.
We then headed down to golf shop and get tee time for today. We had a little time to kill before our tee time. So we went back to the room to settle in.
We then went to the driving range to warm up. Both our golf swings and our bodies. It was NOT warm which was made worse by the wind. I mean we are out golfing in March in the South of France, but the weather is still chilly. But we came prepared with pants and jackets. Jer reminded me that he was only a ‘fair weather golfer.’ I told him he needed to put on his big boy pants because this may be one of only a handful of rounds this year.
Overall, (I think) we both had a wonderful time golfing and I even have the pictures to prove it.
After golf, we came back to the room to defrost and get ready for dinner. Tonight we had dinner at the hotel with literally one other couple in the dining room. This is definitely the off season. However, the food did not disappoint. I started with an asparagus soup (it is in season right now), followed by duck breast and finished with some pear dish that melted in your mouth.
We then headed back to our room to get to bed for an early round of golf in the morning.
This morning we were up early, but after the crack of dawn this time, for breakfast and golf before the rain started. We ended up getting in all 18 holes but it was raining for a few of them. Again I had to remind my ‘fair weather golfer’ that this was one of his only chances to golf this year.
After golf, we had lunch at golf pub which was surprising good, including the house rose that was 2 euros for a half liter!
We then showered and left the hotel. First stop at Casino Supermarche to re-stock on some food for the room. At this point it was pouring so we knew whatever we were going for the rest of the day, needed to be inside.
We headed for a wine tasting at Château de Corneilla del Vercol. After searching through the brochure area at the hotel, this place peaked our interest. And I think it would be fair to say this was my favorite wine tasting to date, not just based on what we learned but also the amount of wine we were able to try.
We were able to get a description of each wine in a mixture of English/French. Also, the guy helping us participated in some of the tastings (ha), and was able to give us some recommendations for dinner the next few nights.
After we finshed with our wine tasting we headed back to the hotel to relax and make some dinner reservations. Tonight we had dinner at La 7eme Vague. I was in seafood heaven. I had a tray of fresh oysters and Jer enjoyed some Paella. I would HIGHLY recommend this place to anyone. Also, we would have never know about this place if it wasn’t for our wine tasting!
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and got ready to watch UNC v. Butler (again, I was just watching the back of my eyelids).
After 2 very early mornings, we decided to sleep in a little today. After we got moving, we drove down to the beach. The beach was absolutely pristine. It reminded me of how deep the beach is in Brigantine. But the water was not so calm due to the wind. The wind had to be blowing over 80 km/hour. So only the crazy tourists wondered out from the safety of their cars to take pictures. But at least it is not raining!
We then drove inland to go to different chateaus. These chateaus were different from others we have been to. These Chateaus dated back to 11th century and belonged to the Cathars. The Cathars were a group of Christians that considered material things the devil. Because they believed in reincarnation, they were also vegetarians. In the early 1200’s the King of France wanted to tighten his grip on the south of France and the Pope wanted to make a strong point that Christianity should only be of the Roman style. Due to this, a war was mounted against the Cathars which lasted until 1321. The chateaus that we are visiting today were the Cathars strong holds up in the Pyrenees.
Our first stop was Chateau de Peyrepertuse. Which per Rick Steves’ is the most spectacular of the Chateaus in the region as the ruins rise of the tippy top of a cliff. After you pay the entrance fee, you wind your way up to the bases of the Chateau. This walk wasn’t the most even terrain and is not recommend when it is raining as the stones would be slippery. From the top of the fortress you can see for miles!
Our next stop was Chateau de Queribus. Which had another solid 15 minute walk directly up. This walkway was easier until you reached the Chateau which then resulted in steps straight up. But again, the views of the Pyrenees did not disappoint. We could even see out to the Mediterranean!
We then headed to a nearby town, Cucugnan and got some bread for lunch at Masters of my Mill.
After enjoying lunch outside we drove up into the Pyrenees a little more to Villefranche-de-Conflent and walked around town to enjoy the UNESCO heritage site.
We made a quick stop at Intermarche and then were back to hotel.
|Wish my supermarche always had these views!|
We then headed up to Perpignan for an 8:30 reservations at Restaurant Le Divil, which was another recommendation from our wine tasting. Just like the other place, it did not disappoint. This place is for meat lovers. You could literally go up to the chef, pick out the large slab of meat and watch him cut your portion to be cooked the way you requested.
Step Count: 13,809, 9.1km
We slept in a little again today still recovering from our early mornings. We are just not morning people.
We packed up and headed out from our hotel. Our first stop this morning was at Sunday market in Collioure. It was perfectly charming, almost overtaking the entire tiny city.
We also stopped in the town Church which was built over the sea. So if you sit there and are ever so quiet, you can hear the waves hitting the base of the church.
We then continued to drive down coast to Spanish border. Where we literally went 15 meters into Spain. Why not?
We then made our way back North to Perpignan for our 5 hour train ride home. We got an Uber again from Gare de Lyon and were back in our apartment by 8:30pm.
After this long crazy weekend, Jer decided to stay up for UNC v. Kentucky game since it decided who was going to the Final Four. According to him (since of course I was asleep) after leading towards the end Kentucky tied the game and with less than one second left UNC hit a shot to win. Apparently he jumped up off the couch and ran all around the house and I slept through it all!