Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Summer Vacation

I'm not much of beach person. I don't enjoy baking in the hot sand (faire la crêpe they call it in French) and I can only spend so much time in the water. So my ideal vacation does not involve going to a super-touristy beach resort, along with almost the entire French population which vacates to one of the three coasts in the summer.

And yet, here I am in a small Mediterranean town called Leucate, about 40 minutes from the Spanish border. My partner's father lives here, so during the summer Kevin comes down to sell his massages to tourists on the beach. It's actually a pretty sweet set-up:

I've come here mostly to drop off the cats and hang out with Kevin for a few days before I leave him to his work and start my own vacation. Last year I was here for a week, but frankly the setting was wasted on me. I hardly even went to the beach, and though I fixed up an old bike with the idea of riding around, the sweltering sun quickly sent me back indoors. Besides, the vegetation is almost non-existent; it's so dry and barren that there is not much to see besides the sea. And the heat here is beyond oppressive, the wind intense and chaotic (much to the delight of windsurfers ).

But even if you do like the beach, at any given moment the wind can pick up and start whipping around, which makes laying in the sand more than a bit unpleasant. For all these reasons, when I was here last summer I was pretty much glued to the TV watching the Olympics and barely left the house.

So let's just say I'm not in my element, and I would much rather head to the Pyrenees mountains which I can gaze at longingly in the distance. Here's the view from Kevin's dad's house - directly in front is a big pond where they cultivate oysters, and the Mediterranean is to the left:

But despite my lack of enthusiasm, I'm here now; and for only 3 days this time. So I'm trying to make the most of it - I haven't turned the TV on even once! On the first day I played a little with a body board; mostly I watched Kevin repeatedly fall off his skim board in a spectacular and of course comical manner. Then we had a romantic dinner at a restaurant on the beach, where we ate and drank to the sound of waves crashing under a three quarter moon. That's pretty hard to beat.

I pretty much stayed in the house yesterday nursing my poor pinkie toe, which I broke on Friday coming out of the shower. But today I went back to beach where Kevin works, and since the wild wind kept the tourists away he had time to give me a massage - my second in two days! Yes, I know, I am a very lucky girl. But I have to say that you if you ever have the opportunity to get a massage on the beach, you shouldn't think twice. It's hard to imagine anything more relaxing than receiving a massage with the sound of surf as a lullaby. Then I took my last swim, and I have to admit there is something pretty magical about the vastness of the sea. Rather than complaining about swallowing salt water, I decided just to roll with it and enjoy what the sea has to offer. I came out invigorated and thankful.

Tonight we're having crèpes, and then tomorrow I head back to Lyon before I set off on the next leg of my summer vacation. I think I found the right solution for a beach holiday: short and sweet. Either that or take up windsurfing.

No comments: