We got going early, I think mostly due to lack of sleep, and drove up along the coast through Collioure. Even at 8am there were throngs of people and after being unable to find an appropriate van parking we decided to give up on our leisurely stroll through the town and had to miss views that inspired Matisse. We ploughed on through to Ceret for a trip to the Muse d’Art Moderne. After many brown rectangles and random collages we got to see several works by Picasso and the earlier period of modern art which I enjoy. All modern art is subjective, of course, but I prefer to see things that I couldn’t have done myself, armed with no more than some brown paint and a rolling pin. One of the brown rectangles was imaginatively titled “Door” – where do they get their inspiration?
We zipped up north on the motorways and managed to make a late tour of the Grotto Rose in Darglian. This limestone cavern with rose tinges is fascinating, with the largest limestone wall formation in the world. Some tulips and a statue of a fox were put under the dripping limestone water and are slowly turning into shapely stalagmites. The tour in French helped accelerate my command of the language.
As it was late we decided to free camp nearby amongst strange, swirly grasses with the only the sound of the pine forest to keep us company. Or so I thought. After dinner, we heard a growling noise from the undergrowth. I panicked and ran to shut the fly screen so that this unknown creature could not attack us, but that just gave Odie an opportunity to escape and act like a brave guard dog. I gave chase and my plaintive wailing brought him scarpering back to me. No attempt by David would persuade me (or Odie, looking considerably less brave) to leave the safety of the van until the next morning. It was probably only a wild boar but better safe than sorry I always say …