Torriels Plage to Ceret 04/07/04

Up early and down to the beach, Sunday morning and only 8 people here.
Got to do this, roll up the trouser legs and get my feet in the Med.
Not swimming today, bike and rucsac on the beach, and all my worldly in the sack. Half hour later and I'm the only one there, looking into rising sun over flat calm sea.
Leave town South on D81, D617, D81, approaching St Cyprien is a nature reserve on my right, large salt marsh. Nature reserve? more litter blowing about here than in the dustbin. ( I've only seen 1 bin and that was overflowing.)
Through to St Cyprien, took a wrong turn and toured the harbour/marina. A lot bigger than Peterport in Guernsey, more boats, more expensive, 3 times the size but not half as nice. Boatyards plus chandlers on the way to the D81 HUGE.
Turn right in Argeles Sur mer and head inland again. Can see a mountain in the distance with snow in the gullys on top! (Find out later its called Le Canigou, beautiful place) Still 30'c+ down here at the coast.
Can't use the D618 until after St Geris, no bikes allowed, makes life a little harder but the backroads are ok. Don't start going uphill till after Le Boulou, another easy day.
Find a tourist office with a huge sign showing a map of the area, is showing a campsites in Reynes so I'm on my way to the town, do the whole trip in one day.
Ancient bridge in Ceret, 90' high and 10' wide, 14th century, impressive.
Tiny left turn to Reynes is opposite the bakers just after the traffic lights at the landslide, half the road blocked, earth and shale slipped down, hope there was nobody under it! 500 yards long.
All pushing now, tiny winding road, uphill for 4 km.
Stop and sit on a wall, can hear music and singing echoing from the hills, am in canyon lands, looks like limestone, but its granite. Steep hills and a strip of blue sky, completely on my own with the echoes.
Into Reynes, a village spread out along canyon walls, tiny terraced strip fields and houses dotted around the slopes, took a wrong turn and climbed 6/700 feet, the road turned to unpaved gravel and stones, look left and I can see the hundred miles again, right out of the mountains and into the plain around Perpignan to the sea.
Back down the hill, out of water. drink at the spring/grotto at the road side, beautiful, tight granite gulley with trickle of water into natural pool, enlarged with a small stone wall, 20/25 feet back and 3 to 4 feet across pool of cold cold water.
Back down to the party, is a tea dance at the Mayor's office, all outside under a tarp/marquee. Large old French lady gave me directions (turned left when I should have turned right outside the Mayor's.)
Another mile or so down and up Z roads to the farm, and there's nobody in! Small terraced fields immaculate, house is picture perfect, looking back down to the Mayor's.
Looks more like an artist's retreat than a farm, some beautiful building work, and a lot of imagination here! Left a note and found a camp site, come back tomorrow and see whats what.
Camping on D115 outside Ceret, 3 Irish girls camping there too. If this "farm" is ok and the people are good this is going to be an amazing time.



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Good luck with your own journey.
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