We left Port Vendres with Eirene on Friday and anchored for the night in Cala Culip NW of Cabo Creus. Then Saturday headed down the coast looking for our last anchorage for the season before reaching Barcelona. We finally anchored off Blanes, Spain. It was a bouncy night and we must have hooked something because we had a difficult time getting the anchor up the next morning. Al had to drive the boat and back it up to windward to get us loose. It took about half an hour. We were beginning to think Al was going to have to go for a dive to break it loose. Ended up motoring the last 34nm to Barcelona. We are moored at Port Vell and Cruising Season 2011 is completed. Now we become land-lubbers and tourists for the next 6 months.
October 20, 2011
France | Port Vendres | Artemis, Sally and Al in Port Vendres Harbor
France | Port Vendres | Harbor entrance Port Vendres
Hi Everyone, We're enjoying our stay in Port Vendres, France. Tuesday we took a 10 min. bus to Collioure. Our friends Steve and Pam on Eirene were anchored there. It's a cute Cote Vermeille resort town. Chateau Royal and its defensive walls along the harbor and the medieval church of Notre Dame des Anges surround the harbor. Lots of artists as Matisse, Derain, Picasso and Braque were all here. They have replicas of art placed around the village and artists come to sit in the same spot as the "masters" to try their talents:-) Many cobbled alleys with shops and art studios. We walked up to the new cemetery to find Patrick O'Brian's grave. (author Master and Commander series)Great walk nice views of vineyards and the sea.
France | Perpignan | Perpignan Cathedral
Al and I took the train(25min) to Perpignan on Wednesday. It's third largest Catalan city after Barcelona and Lleida. It was never bombed so Perpignan's buildings date back to 13th and 14th century when it was the capital of the kingdom of Mallorca. Another great day of wandering cool streets with awesome architecture. Perpignan also has several canals running off the Tet River through the town. So there are many bridges and beautiful gardens alongside the canal banks. When we arrived back in the harbor an artist was sitting behind our boat painting our picture.
France | Port Vendres | Painting of Artemis in Port Vendres by local artist
Today we got provisions for the next week. We plan to be in Barcelona Oct. 28. We were invited to lunch by an English and Canadian-American couple who live here in Port Vendres. Dominic took us on a drive up to the Cap Bear lighthouse before taking us to their home. He warned us to open one door at a time and to hold on but none of us were prepared for the force of the wind. It almost pulled the car door off. We could barely stand as we walked around the lighthouse. I swear the wind picked Al right off the ground. Glad we were not on the sea today. The winds were blowing Force 9 on the sea and the waves off the Cape were confused. Once around the Cape the bay seas were smooth except for the fetch that came around the cape. We then went to Dominic and DeeDee's house a few blocks from the marina. They have a lovely home and we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of food, drink and conversation.
The wind is still howling but the forecast looks favorable for our heading to Spain tomorrow. We have an anchorage picked out about 15nm away that Eirene was in last Spring. We plan to anchor and enjoy the hiking until the middle of next week. Some strong southerlies are in the forecast until Tuesday. Then we'll do a couple of 40nm days and we'll be in Barcelona around Oct. 28. Happy 60th birthday to my sister Katie. Hope all is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al
France | Avignon | Palais des Papes
October 17, 2011
Hi Everyone, We rented a car on Saturday to visit Avignon and Les Baux de Provence. Unfortunately car rentals are closed on Sunday so we needed to be back in Marseille by 6PM. Avignon is a Unesco World Heritage city and definitely worth a visit. It is called City of the Popes as it was the Papacy in the 14th century when Pope Clement V and his court fled political turmoil in Rome. During that time a massive medieval fortress and papal place was built. We parked outside the ramparts and wandered the cobblestone alleys, followed a stream with four working paddle wheels and visited Les Halles Market where we found a Tourist Information office. We spent most of our time in Palais des Papes and had an audio tour.
France | Avignon | Le Pont d'Avignon
Pont St-Benezet (Pont d'Avignon) was a must see for me. In High School French class we sang a nursery rhyme about dancing on the Avignon bridge "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" :-) The tune has been dancing through my mind for days. We wanted to see Les Baux du Provence so sadly we left Avignon at 3:30 missing Villeneu ve les Avignon (across the Rhone from Avignon)completely.
The drive into the Alpilles mountains was lovely. Les Baux is nice but we visited the village of Ese when in Villefranche and it is similar. We think Ese was prettier but then we had a whole day to wander and walk the trails. If we were to do this trip again we'd take the train and spend the whole day in Avignon and Villeneuve les Avignon. Or make it a two day trip.
We left Marseille Sunday noon for Port Vendres, France. It was 110nm across the dreaded Golfe du Lion so we did an overnight. We had a perfect moonlit night. We were able to sail about the first 30 nm before the NW wind died and then the last 10 nm NE winds blew in so we could sail again. We are tied alongside at Port Vendres for a few days. Plan to visit some villages nearby enjoying the Pyrenees and our first Catalan experience before heading for Barcelona. We're only about 1