Saturday, 26 July 2008

25-26/07/08: Homeward Bound

The last two days of the holiday have been two of the best, and not just because we were going home.

We were packed and ready to go on Saturday morning, but before we did we walked into Ceret to have a look around the morning market. It was a very annoying market - interesting, sure, but annoying. The streets were lined with stalls and full to bursting with locals and tourists. I've not been jostled so much since starting up for six hours at a rock concert. It was impossible to move and, in the consistent heat of the past two weeks, we became fed up very quickly. We walked to the other side of town as my parents wanted to see a second proporty owned by the lady who owns our the house we had just stayed in. It was a ground-floor apartment with its own private garden. We didn't go inside, but we walked around it. Down the side of the property was a drive leading to another house which was not visible from the end (it must have been up in the hills). A great lumbering beast emerged from the garden of the house nextdoor are stared at us. It gave me such a fright - I thought it was a bear! It was not, but it was the biggest dog I have ever seen in my life.

After we looked around the street where the property was situated, we waved goodbye to our house (we're that sort of family, I guess) and went on our way. Both totally leaving Ceret, we stopped off at Pont du Diable - three adjacent bridges that cross a river. One for trains; one for cars; one for pedestrians. We'd seen them in the modern art museum in a lovely Impressionist painting (which i ended up buying a poster of).

Sadly, it seems the bridges have a more morbid reputation with the locals.

Then we were on our way. We drove for about forty minutes before stopping for lunch. Dad pulled off the motorway and somehow got us under it. It was an amazing place, especially to have lunch.

After lunch we drove over the board. We were expecting to need out passports and slowed down. At this point, some maniac sped past us at something like 80mph and ran straight over the bored, winding between all the Border Control points. They were all unoccupied so we followed him ... at a slower speed, of course.

We stopped off at our hotel to unload all our bags. We watched Euronews for twenty minutes and then left. We drove to Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum. We queued up for twenty minutes in the rain. Dad - being a typically cheeky sod - left us to keep the places in the queue while he stood awkwardly under shelter of a doorway next to an Asian man and his son.

At first, I wanted to spend the day in Barcelona instead, but I'm glad we didn't. It was an amazing place. Reminded me of an indoor Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but on a much smaller (yet more epic) scale. I loved it in there and would have happy stayed in there all day.

We spent the rest of the evening in Figueres. We had a nice sit down in a main park of sorts. I watched the people go about their business. It was mostly OAPs, but these two were really cute:

We made our way back to hotel as the sun went down over the Pyrenees and disappeared just over the French border. Once back I connected the laptop to the hotel's wifi and checked my emails and whatnot. I also decided to do a bit of shopping. We couldn't take much back with us, what with weight limits and such, but I wanted to have some post to come back to. I ordered some more Jose Saramago books and Pieter Hugo's The Hyena & Other Men that I had read about the other day in The Observer. Then I went to bed.

I hardly slept that night. It was so hot in our room and the aircon was really loud. Thankfully Dad's snoring drowned it out ...

We were up at six - technically, I hadn't even settled down - and we had breakfast in the hotel while watching the Tour de France. They had quite a spread! Everything you'd except to have for a french breakfast, but also a whole table dedicated to sweets. It was full of Haribo. Whoever has Haribo for breakfast - especially in that quantity - has problems. Nevertheless, Dad through me one of these little bonbons things and I went back to the room to sort out the packing. The "bonbon" was the fizziest, most sour thing I've ever tasted. It was like a nuclear meltdown on my tongue. Couldn't handle it! It was ridiculous! We loaded the bags into the car, and they all seemed lighter than last time ...

That's the best thing about going on a plane. I dread packing and unpacking, because usually we just sling everything in the car. No limits. So there are bags and bags and bags. This time, theirs just three. Good times.

We settled the hotel bill and set off for Girona Costa Brava airport. We had quite a stressful journey. We got lost as we reached Girona. Dad drove for something like ten miles down this motorway and we all had our hearts in our mouths. Eventually an airport sign appeared, but they could put more than one there to ease our panicking, racing minds.

We waited in the massive queue for check in and talked to some fellow Brits heading to Doncaster too. The queue was huge. Mum was panicking about the bags and if the weight was right. Once we were at the desk we weighed the bags. Dad's and mine were exactly 15.0kg - not bad without any scales. Mum's, however, was over. We couldn't be bothered to faff about and just decided to pay the extra fifteen euros. We did so, and then went to security. Everything was smooth. The plane journey was good. Everything was fine, and I was quite glad to be going home.

Once we landed we were in and out no bother. An old man who worked at the airport asked me about my camera which was around my neck along with my headphones (thought that if I just wear the bulkiest items in my hand luggage, it frees up more space in my bag for bastard towels!). He said that he had a Canon EOS and that he always brings it to work - "you get some great photographs working here!" he said. Too right.

We left the airport and were immediately greeted my Sheila. We loaded the car and set off home. Wasn't a bad holiday after all.

The End.

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