To France for lunch

On Sunday it was cold and raining... So we piled into the Audi and went for a drive through the countryside. Specifically, we drove to France. It's only 50km away, so it was actually still raining there too. 

 Hondarribia

Hondarribia

First we went to Hondarribia, which is a port side town on the harbour. One side of the harbour is Spain, the other France. It was so cold and windy. We walked along the foreshore to the marina, I was dying with every step, I had even given up talking. We were almost there when Katl noticed that "we" had left the keys in the ignition. So we tried to fast walk back to the car, as fast as you can when there is a layer of ice on the outside of your body holding you frozen stiff. The first miracle was that our car was there. A badass looking thug in an Audi A5 had interpreted us heading toward the car as leaving, and he carpark stalked us. He looked pretty furious and skidded off when we indicated we weren't leaving. Then he was practically doing burn outs around the car park making a point. So, the second miracle was he didn't bash us or run us over. I credit Matisse in the pram for the sympathy vote he must have given us.

 Hondaribbia is famous for its colourful buildings 

Hondaribbia is famous for its colourful buildings 

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Next stop on the list was Alcain, France. we drove into this picturesque village and noticed this gorgeous restaurant perched on a little hill, even over looking sheep. My favourite. We were out the front reading the menu. The waitress comes out, a miniature little French lady, fast speaking with a proper blonde perm. She unleashes her native tongue on us, naturally. But this is met with blank looks and hesitant 'bonjours.' She rolls her eyes and walks inside. We think we have mistaken her rudeness, so we eventually go inside. The place goes dead quiet, everyone is staring at us. We stand awkwardly for a minute. No one makes any attempt to seat us, so we leave. Ha ha ha. We had lucked out getting a dose of infamous French attitude before we had even had lunch.

 I didn't get a picture of the waitress or the tension you could have cut with a knife. But this horse which was on the property was even making rude French noises at us. 

I didn't get a picture of the waitress or the tension you could have cut with a knife. But this horse which was on the property was even making rude French noises at us. 

 This sheep was trying to copy the horse. 

This sheep was trying to copy the horse. 

We wandered around in the light drizzle, ripping winds and cold temperatures then settled on this other den looking restaurant. We didn't really "settle" because another place shoo'ed us on, indicating they were closed. And all the rest were. The place we did choose was deadley, seriously. My favourite bit was the rifle display near the bar and cashier. We took a table under the taxidermied deer and saw. 

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 We essentially ordered massive plates of steak and chips, but prepared all fancy with THE most delicious sauces on them. These French sauces could make Angelina Jolie taste good, even though she has no meat on her. Matisse was acting a bit crazy and needed a sleep so Karl walked her around the raining streets for 5-10 mins before returning. She wasnt asleep, she was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to party. This is a  recurrence most days. 

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The service at this place was awesome. The women was like a French version of Jo Flynn. She could barely speak English, and our French was pretty rusty, to say the least. So we practically played charades for two or three hours whilst we sat there. Matisse was making friends with the table next to us, the old ladies were swooning over her. It was a quaint and charming afternoon. 

 Cemetery in Alcain, France

Cemetery in Alcain, France

We were that full from lunch, we were splitting in half. But we couldn't go past an opportunity to have authentic creme brûlée. It was AMAZING. It had orange blossom water or something like that in it... I was honestly dying of happiness. We had also "tried" the French red wine, delicious. But not as good as the €7 wine in Spain. See that, I have finally found the 'euro' button. The irony with lunch was that at the snooty place, I had distinctly said, there is no way I am paying €100 for lunch. And in the end, we did. (The four of us) but it was worth it.

The other thing we noticed, was that everyone seems to have massive group lunches on a Sunday. Maybe it's every day, but since we were there Sunday, let's generalise. The places were full of banquet tables and everyone having a jolly time. Except that first place where everyone was totally stuck up.  ok. That's also a bit harsh,since we couldn't speak their language, we don't know what was happening. I mean, it could have been a wedding, without a bride. What's that you suggest? Or a wake?! Oh shit. Way to make us feel bad..... 

 "No free service" - one of the first messages we received after crossing the border. Oui Oui. 

"No free service" - one of the first messages we received after crossing the border. Oui Oui. 

With food in our bellies, we took the long, scenic route back to San Sebastián. Two hours of winding roads through villages and mountains. Thick fog had set in, making it more atmospheric, but killing most of the views. We got to listen to a Spanish cover of wrecking ball on the radio. It was so much better. Bridget kept Matisse entertained for two hours, a gigantic achievement. I had anticipated stopping snd taking lots of photos. But there was no way I was getting out in the rain, so I just took a few through the windscreen.

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 One of many similar looking villages, possibly, Elizomdo.

One of many similar looking villages, possibly, Elizomdo.

 Fog is killing the views. 

Fog is killing the views. 

 Karl was tailgating Cadel Evans

Karl was tailgating Cadel Evans

 The roads were well marked on the GPS.

The roads were well marked on the GPS.

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The strange thing about the whole day was crossed the country border twice, at two separate places, and didn't have to show our passports. If I ever commit a bad crime and need to go on the run... This is where I am heading. 

 Tourist information, Alcain, France.

Tourist information, Alcain, France.

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