Saturday, June 2, 2012
Ah France The peace, the solitude, the wine & the food…and highway D117 is closed at the junction of D900?!! But that’s the route we know, we don’t have a map with us, it’s dark & we’ve been traveling in excess of 16 hours. Why are there no detour signs? Go around the roundabout again, maybe we missed it…okay, one more time and I’ll look more closely this time…slower. I’m sure there must have been a sign. Frustration quickly sets in, tension thickens, words become less loving. Funny how an unexpected road detour can send us into the ugly zone with a few blocks of formed plastic set together in that alternating red and white pattern which says without words…nope, this road is closed. And why does the strikingly adorable front desk boy at the hotel down the expressway not seem to have a single brain cell active at this time of night to tell us which road to take instead?? Can’t SOME of that ‘cuteness’ be better used by powering a lightbulb inside the head to register some brain activity? Let’s try driving north to the next interchange…I think I remember seeing the D12, doesn’t that go to Rivesaltes and then Estagel? We’re not sure. Maybe. I think we took that last summer on the way to Salse Fortress, but we used a map. Drive around the roundabout again…let’s see our options…drive slower…SLOWER! Definately not the one to Foix-too far out of the way. The D1? Oh good God not at night, we’ll go off the road for sure. That leaves the D12…..look others are going that way…..it must be the detour. Why isn’t there a SIGN?
We go for a few minutes. A few minutes more. And then, at the next roundabout like a glowing beacon akin to the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City we see an arrow sign pointing to one of the spokes off the circle ~ D117 Estagel. Aaaaaahhhhhh A chime sounds from heaven and we’re on familiar ground heading for home (only an additional 45 minutes added to our travels)
Our little village of Axat is sound asleep when we arrive, and in it’s peacefulness it welcomes us home. Past the war memorial in front of the government building, up the winding road, past the village square where we hold our fun events, pull in the side mirrors to avoid scrapes, and up the narrow ‘road’ in front of our house. Rue du Bouchet might be 5 feet wide…more likely 4 ish…just (just, just) wide enough for the VW Polo to pass without scraping the sides of the ancient buildings. We know the electric won’t be on…did we bring a flashlight to see the breaker box? No, how about my iPod? That’s pretty bright. But neither are needed as our wonderful neighbors Liliane & Pierrot have switched on our electric in anticipation of our arrival….and not only does that mean we’re not stumbling in the dark, but the fridge is cold and the water is hot. There are not enough thanks to be said for this gentle kindness! And it doesn’t stop there ~ she’s swept, dusted, arranged the furniture, put the table and chairs on the terrace, and opened up the windows for freshness. Gifts are in order here…..big gifts! To be able to flop into bed after such a long day of travel was absolutely wonderful. Thank You Bicharel’s
Now, we sleep. Tomorrow we unpack and begin our adventures.