March 6-9, 2014  Frankfurt --> Port-Vendres

We arrived in Frankfurt on March 6, 2014. Our trip was not starting auspiciously. We had reserved bulkhead seats for the leg room, but they changed planes from a 747 to an Airbus and we ended up in the middle of economy class, my knees jammed against the seat in front of me. On arrival, our pre-booked transit from the airport to the rental depot was not waiting for us. The driver eventually turned up and we were just able to squeeze everything, ourselves and bicycles included, into his van. On the way to the rental depot warning lights began flashing and blinking on the dash, the driver thumbed his cell phone and carried on animated conversations in a mix of Turkish and German while driving at 160 kmph. We exited the freeway and stopped in a small town; our driver disappeared without a word and returned some time later with two loaves of bread before continuing on our way. At the depot we inspected our van, signed the rental agreements, stowed our gear, and headed out. Two blocks from the depot, the van refused all but 5th and 6th gears. After much fiddling I got it into 2nd and we returned to the depot where the rental manager insisted on driving it in 5th gear to his service depot. We arrived at the service depot, smoke billowing from the burned out clutch, and no hope of a quick repair. It took the rest of the day to organize a replacement van, (which we christened Brunhilda for her brown colour and German pedigree), and so we spent the night in the McRent depot, sleeping in the canvas "penthouse" (pop top). Stupidly, we did not think to use the heater and our two down filled comforters, long underwear, vests, and hooded fleece jackets proved inadequate protection, making for a cold, uncomfortable, jet-lagged night. We woke to windows ice-encrusted inside and out. The next two days were spent stocking the van and driving to the Mediterranean Coast of France. We spent our second night at Bourge-en-Bresse, France in a parking lot next to a church. The next morning we stocked up on food and supplies at the local Carrfour and continued south. Our first view of the Mediterranean presented a late afternoon overview of the sun-bathed, pastel-hued port town of Collioure stacked around a small cove at the base of the eastern Pyrenees where they dip into the sea. We set up camp in a lovely pine-grove near Port- Vendre. Shaded but very crowded, the campsite was intimate and friendly and dusk saw us walking around a rocky headland. Bright lights reflected in the dark waters, an ancient stone wall and building, indistinct in the dark loomed above us, and the Mediterranean lapped quietly on the shore.
Our route to the Mediterranean
Click to close
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved

March 6-9, 2014  Frankfurt --> Port-

Vendres

We arrived in Frankfurt on March 6, 2014. Our trip was not starting auspiciously. We had reserved bulkhead seats for the leg room, but they changed planes from a 747 to an Airbus and we ended up in the middle of economy class, my knees jammed against the seat in front of me. On arrival, our pre-booked transit from the airport to the rental depot was not waiting for us. The driver eventually turned up and we were just able to squeeze everything, ourselves and bicycles included, into his van. On the way to the rental depot warning lights began flashing and blinking on the dash, the driver thumbed his cell phone and carried on animated conversations in a mix of Turkish and German while driving at 160 kmph. We exited the freeway and stopped in a small town; our driver disappeared without a word and returned some time later with two loaves of bread before continuing on our way. At the depot we inspected our van, signed the rental agreements, stowed our gear, and headed out. Two blocks from the depot, the van refused all but 5th and 6th gears. After much fiddling I got it into 2nd and we returned to the depot where the rental manager insisted on driving it in 5th gear to his service depot. We arrived at the service depot, smoke billowing from the burned out clutch, and no hope of a quick repair. It took the rest of the day to organize a replacement van, (which we christened Brunhilda for her brown colour and German pedigree), and so we spent the night in the McRent depot, sleeping in the canvas "penthouse" (pop top). Stupidly, we did not think to use the heater and our two down filled comforters, long underwear, vests, and hooded fleece jackets proved inadequate protection, making for a cold, uncomfortable, jet-lagged night. We woke to windows ice-encrusted inside and out. The next two days were spent stocking the van and driving to the Mediterranean Coast of France. We spent our second night at Bourge- en-Bresse, France in a parking lot next to a church. The next morning we stocked up on food and supplies at the local Carrfour and continued south. Our first view of the Mediterranean presented a late afternoon overview of the sun-bathed, pastel-hued port town of Collioure stacked around a small cove at the base of the eastern Pyrenees where they dip into the sea. We set up camp in a lovely pine-grove near Port- Vendre. Shaded but very crowded, the campsite was intimate and friendly and dusk saw us walking around a rocky headland. Bright lights reflected in the dark waters, an ancient stone wall and building, indistinct in the dark loomed above us, and the Mediterranean lapped quietly on the shore.
Our route to the Mediterranean
Click to close
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved