Catalan May 2023

 Leeds-Bradford, Ryanair to Perpignan and then a taxi out to the coast. We went to watch Catalan Dragons play St Helens - fat chance when we realised KO was nearly 9.00pm and the buses stop running at 8.00pm. So bad planning, complicated by a runaway bull at the start of the game. So we enjoyed the coast and one trip into the city.

Jean fell at the doorway to the airport. Special treatment from staff and jumped the checkin queue - the normal queue was not best pleased.

Sat outside the hotel for a drink in the sun. Such difference to home where Spring has been soggy and cold


No need to labour over the game. Coastal village called Canet. A hotel with self-catering apartments. Next to the beach and the Med. It has no tides and few waves. Everywhere was a walk, tiring. We did find local buses eventually. Smoking in cafes, between courses. Lots of little dogs. Market, 20 minute walk, great for pies, sausage and cheese. Pete and I adopted Liberty, a cafe, as our go-to happy hour, 5 minute walk. The waiters soon didn't need an order, just thumbs up. Plenty of other interest, cafes, supermarkets, eateries within 10-20 minutes.

American tanks (small), jeeps, camouflage tents and assorted other army stuff on the beach, a re-enactment. They did a military parade around Canet on VE Day. All in French. Music and vehicle horns. Noisy and smelly and great fun. Seated in Liberty appropriately, we were surprised when gendarmes stopped the traffic. Uniforms and ladies in 40s clothing, balloons and bunting.

The soft sand beach stretched. Intermittent prefabs, cafes and clubs that specialised, soccer, volleyball. Even martial arts, fighting sticks striking in time with a drum.

Bus into Perpignan for a little train tour and lunch. Monumental, grey and a bit dour, old and tired. Medieval walls up to 20th century Art Deco housing, cinema and town centre. Lots of history which I couldn't take in, other than at one time it was the capital of Majorca. Lots of overlap with Spain, Barcelona close just over the Pyrenees. Many treaties.

The dragons joined us for the flight home - Castleford awaited. I asked Sam Tomkins how the bull was.

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