Rob Ennals > Travel > Simon and Rob Invade and Conquer France

Day 13: Concrete Campsite

Lezignan Corbieres -> St Pierre Sur La Mer

The part of Simon's brain that gets him excited was once again making itself busy. This time it was because we were soon to achieve one of our key goals - that of reaching the Mediterranean. The Med was one of several points where we thought we might possibly end the trip, and, even if we went on, it was a point at which we would have to change direction.

Our lunchtime stop was at Narbonne, which was "dominated" by a cathedral that was hidden behind another building. Being residents of Cambridge, large gothic buildings no longer get us excited, and so we didn't get quite as excited by the cathedral as the guidebook might have expected us to. It did however have a very nice organ, and was notable due to its seeming to be made of bricks, despite actually being made of stone. [Simon - hey, although Gothic, it was a lot less structured than King's (famously described, of course, as the upside-down table), and the combination of genuine Mediaeval, Mediaeval-revival and Roman roads was quite remarkable]

A short cycle brought us to the Med. I sang "oh we do like to be beside the seaside" and Simon mumbled something that might have been an accompaniment. On arrival at the beach, Simon decided that actually he didn't like to be beside the seaside. The beach might have been quite nice, had it not been carpeted with sunbathing fat people. The complete absence of waves also seemed to be a bit pathetic. I felt it was my duty to frolic in the sea, and so did. Simon meanwhile contented himself with photographing his feet while standing ankle deep in the Med. Now those who can distinguish ankle deep Med from ankle-deep Atlantic will have evidence that Simon has been to both.

Simon declared an urgent requirement for a Harbour, to counteract the exposure to the beach. Fortunately a harbour was soon found, allowing Simon to calm down a bit, and switch his focus to the need to find a campsite. [Simon - tragically lacking in sunsets and pints, but peaceful nonetheless]

A quick cycle along the coast revealed a place that claimed to be a municipal campsite. Upon paying, we were led to our site, to discover that it was an area of rough gravel and that everyone else in the site seemed to have a caravan. A bit of digging revealed that the surface underneath the gravel was concrete. But this wasn't smooth concrete. This was concrete, with large stones embedded into it. We smoothed out the gravel a bit, put the tent up as best we could without use of pegs, and went into town.

Our opinion of the town improved on our discovery of a shop that sold Yop, Orangina, and Kronenburg. Such things purchased, we wandered down to the beach, and waited for the fat ugly people to go away. Once they had, the beach became almost pleasant, especially as their departure coincided with the sun's easing off [Simon- and a cheery sunset]. Once we had grown accustomed to the fact that the beach wasn't going to do anything particularly interesting, we wandered through a largely dormant fairground, and then went back to the campsite. Further inspection revealed the campsite to be absolutely huge, run as a semi-industrial tourist containment device, with a far less friendly atmosphere than pretty much anywhere else we had ever been. We decided that we were definitely not going to spend a rest day at the Med, and began a doomed attempt at getting some sleep.

I wondered how many harbours Simon was going to need in order to counter the effects of the campsite.