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Mediterranean France et la bonne vie

Submitted by Jakob on 14 June, 2006 - 12:49.My Blog | Travel

If you're wondering about the lack of updates it is because I'm abroad, in the southwest of France near the border to Spain. I haven't been able to get online until today and now that I happen to sit in front of a PC the French keyboard layout drives me nuts! Despite the near unusable keyboards, it is truly great here. I love the everything about this part of France and the Mediterranean, the lifestyle, the food, the wine, the culture and the landscape and have had the chance to see a lot of it in this relatively short period of time.

I am staying near the city of Perpignan, close to the coast and the beach. So far we've driven south and northwest. The southern coastline bordering Spain is extremely dramatic and steep with sheer cliffsides and small towns that cling to the hills, hills that are dotted with vineyards and laced with serpentine roads that wind their way across the hillsides.

The northwest is almost as dramatic with low rolling hills and steep mountain ridges covered with undergrowth and forest that consists mostly of hardy bushes and low trees. Driving you encounter a small village now and then, precariously perched on a rocky hill or or sitting peacefully in the landscape. One of the most impressive places in this region is the Gorge of Galamus, a 200 meter deep canyon cutting deep into the limestone cliff. Driving through the gorge, on roads cut into sides of the cliff, you are offered a breathtaking scenic view of the gorge and the towering cliffs reaching a hundred meters or more above you.

Continuing on eastwards driving the winding narrow roads even a late afternoon in June the temperature never reaches higher than 28C. Brushed by the warm winds scented by the flowering bushes and herbs growing wild in the region, especially the sweet almost candylike fragrance of the yellow genista (Latin), it is a lovely place to visit. In this area, located high on a cliff is the Peyrepertuse Castle, a construction with Roman origins, sitting atop a cliff some 600 meters above the surrounding landscape. You can drive almost all the way to the top, then pay a fee to see the remarkably well-preserved ruins of this dramatically situated castle and fort that has seen many sieges. In the last rays of the setting sun, the castle and the surrounding fields and forests shine like gold. When you're done exploring, drive on to Cucugnac and try the local restaurant and their great cuisine and surprisingly low prices (13 for a full 3 course menu).

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Submitted by FireFog (not verified) on 23 June, 2006 - 16:45.

And the QWERTY keyboards are so unusable too ;)
Enjoy your trip in France,

Submitted by Jakob on 23 June, 2006 - 21:46.

Well for some reason it seems the rest of the world's population who use the Latin alphabet chose only to make minor modifications to the QWERTY layout despite their languages having different character frequences compared to English. However the French decided to move around 30% of the keys and even design it so that entering digits without using the numeric keyboard would require pressing Shift! Is it so important to always be different huh? This isn't efficient nor effective, it's just silly! Despite my love for French culture I cannot respect this petty and constant battle to always be *different*... gahh...

Btw, I'm home since Saturday... :) But thanks anyway, I had a great time.

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