in first class seats,
and slow trains in cattle class. But the view is just as good.
We met our friends, Kiwis living in London, at Argeles-sur-Mer Gare (train station). Somehow, we managed to meet up without cell phone communication. That's right, it is possible to rendezvous the old fashioned way: at a planned time and place.
Now, a little back story. Years ago Luuk and a few friends went water skiing on Lake Aviemore, in NZ. They must have had a blast because their boys weekend away became a family holiday (two of the original boys are brothers). Luuk was still invited along, as well as a few others. The campsite gets more and more elabourate each year. I'm told that instant gas hot water was piped from the lake to the shower AND the 'kitchen' sink this last time. The kitchen sink has been around for a couple of years now. Traditionally it was a Waitangi weekend camping trip, possibly in part because of the campsite's proximity to the Waitangi station just up the road... though of course it's no where near the site where the Waitangi treaty was signed. Really, it's just a convenient long weekend, at a point in the year when Otago sheep farmers and Christchurch students are able to get away, for some serious relaxation in a gorgeous location. We eat very well, water ski in varying amounts (weather/energy/inclination dependent), sun bathe, eat more, read, play board games, eat some more, play hackey and spend a good part of every day improving/repairing our high-class camping spot. Anyway, that's the history.
This year, on the other side of the world, two of the original boys, plus their wives, and 1.5 children, felt a little like we'd missed out. The rest of the usual suspects had their lovely holiday a few weeks back. Now it was out turn. Camping... well not so much. We're all living in tiny apartments with no room to store camping equipment, and we're well out of driving distance from anyplace warm enough to camp and swim comfortably. Sans camping gear we stayed in a little two bedroom unit at a campground. But we did try to be true to some of the Aviemore traditions.
We played board games.
We explored the rocky shores of a body of water. Luuk even skimmed stones.
(sure, the Mediterranean is slightly larger than Lake Aviemore)
Louis enjoyed the rocks. A lot.
He wasn't the only one.
When the weather was less summery than hoped for (or the water not calm enough to ski on) we took a trip to a nearby town. This is Collioure. It's no Omarama, but it does have a castle.
One of the rather unique qualities of an Aviemore holiday is that we are off on our own, away from the main camping areas where all the facilities are provided. So several times a day someone will drive a carload of busting campers up to the loos, for number twos (to be oh-so-delicate). I don't think any of us missed this particular quirk. But Michelle did find an interesting throne...
The Omarama visit tradition started out as a gas-for-the-boat trip. Then one time we got ice creams. This year we didn't need boat fuel... but fuel for us, sure!
Un cafe, s'il-vous-plait.
Et pour moi, un crepe au sucre et un chocolat chaud.
Collioure also has a cathedral - the building wasn't as ornate as many I've seen but the iconography was full on.
We walked out on a peninsular on the other side of the cathedral, along the sea-wall, to a look-out of sorts.
The Colours of Collioure.
And that was the weekend.
Lucky us: there were three more days of holiday to come! But you'll have to wait for my next post. There will be video.