Estagel (in the Pyranees somewhere)

A little village called Estagel

Learning to speak French by full emersion is not working too well but we seem to get by with a lot of laughter and animation. If we say ‘oui oui’ and ‘voila’ a lot they are happy and we feel competent. This morning we chatted to a guest at our B&B by pointing to the food on the table and saying the name. If it got any deeper than this we had no idea what was going on.Remarkable conversation!

Our B&B in Estagel is set in a small village in the Pyranees mountains, France. Mature aged women sit on each street corner nattering on their deck chairs, sometimes with knitting and often planted square in the middle of the narrow road. The men do a similar thing but with their arms folded and a frown on their foreheads. After exploring Callouire and Ceret on the way we were quite weary but webdiscovered that the B&B was unattended, apart from by Blanc. the Border Collie. The neighbouring matured aged women offered their sympathies (in French) and assured us she would be there soon. Alas, after wandering the streets for a while, Michelle arrived apologetically explaining that her husband was in hospital having an op for cancer.

The B&B was a 300 year old building which has been restored beautifully. We took a great shine to the owner and her dog and she whipped us up a gorgeous meal for dinner where we chatted to the other guests who couldn’t speak English. The miming and charades were quite hysterical.

We stayed there for 4 nights, and felt quite a part of the village, exploring the Cathar castles during the day and other small villages, with the exception of Perpignon, which is a large place which we promptly got lost in. After a French lunch in Perignnon, at an Australian bar (where the menu was in French and nobody spoke English). At the point when we realised we had no idea where the car was, a massive storm hit the town with flash flooding and thunder and lightening. We were trying to shelter under a small canopy but got drenched regardless. Eventually we found the car and decided we were better to stick to castles and villages!

Col enjoyed taking the dog for walks in the morning. She jumped in the river and plays fetch, nagging continually for us to play with her. She is very smart and has us both enchanted.
Our climb up 2 of the Cathar castles have been huge highlights so far. They were way way up the mountain tops and quite dangerous and tricky to climb but well worth it. We climbed up to Le Chateau de Peyrepertuse and La Chateau de Queribus. Google them for photos… it’s worth it! I have limited internet so won’t spend the hour it takes to upload them for you.

Just in case you wanted to know…
There are more dogs than loos in France
For breakfast we have been eating Fromage (cheese) mixed with honey and cake or brioche
Laughter gets you out of any tricky situation
I have the record number of bandaids and blisters on my feet

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