Tuesday 4 July 2017 – Not a cafe in sight
I took another stroll up the Pic where I had a chat with a young guy who was up there on fire watch with maps and a good pair of binos. He had also brought up a supply of canned drinks to sell to thirsty trampers.
On returning to the car at Saint-Mathieu-de-Triviers I decided to drive around some of the local villages in search of a cafe. In NZ just about every small town has a cafe – not the case here! Not being able to read the signs, I just drove down the main, and a few other, streets of each town I came to. Stunning village after stunning village and nothing. Eventually I came across a town, called Corconne, situated on the side of a steep hill with a church above the town, narrow steep streets and old buildings, it was home to Lalisson bar and restaurant.
Entering the bar it reminded me of a country pub back home. Everyone seemed to know each other. I was welcomed with a friendly smile and they made every effort to make me welcome in spite of my point and pay method of communication. The local beer was great, as was the Iberian ham and cheese salad. I also found out google translate is no good at translating a french menu – it just goes from french to french!!
After picking Sylvia up from work we headed east to Saintes Maries de la Mer, a real holiday town made up of restaurants, shops and accommodation and a couple of small beaches.
Monday 3 July 2017 – Clear water by the sea…
Our friend Jo had written to us after reading a recent post and told how she had enjoyed visiting Sete and about how clear the water was. I arrived around midday to clear blue skies and a stunning holiday town with canals packed with both commercial and pleasure craft. The water is extremely clear in these canals and waterways – it’s a pity the bottoms are lined with rubbish.
A relatively young town, not established until the mid 1600’s and going by the name of Cette until 1928, it was the site of many battles, changing hands a a number of times over a couple of hundred years. Between 1821 and 1869 the impressive sea wall was built.
It has a couple of mandatory forts, a light house and a control tower on the hill.
I ordered a fish salad at a canal-side restaurant. It turned out to be octopus. When one doesn’t speak the lingo, one just has to laugh and take what you get. It was very nice.
A stroll through the streets revealed the true beauty of the not-so-old town, until that is I came across what some distorted architect must have decided would be an asset to its future.
I drove back up the coast checking out a number of more modern resort towns.
In the evening we relaxed in the roof top bar at the Pullman Hotel where we have been staying the past couple of weeks.
The staff up here in the evenings are really friendly but have no sense of awareness or perception of service. Sylvia ordered a bottle of San Pellegrino and after 10 minutes or so it arrived, along with my glass of wine, unopened and with no glass. Another 10 minutes and a glass turned up but no opener. Not willing to damage her unfilled, well-kept teeth or let me open it on the table ledge, she waited and eventually a person with an opener turned up, whipping the top off and speeding off without noticing that my wine glass could have done with a refill. We were joined by Cecile, a colleague of Sylvia’s, who shared our amusement at the service or lack thereof.