I am in Perpignan! And it is pouring down! Lashing the windows! I didn't know what rain really was until I came here. I'm not complaining; it's impressive and sort of beautiful as well as wet!
I set out on Saturday morning. I was up at twenty past five to set off for Liverpool Airport. I drove there with my family, said goodbye, and got on my plane to Carcassonne.
The flight was uneventful - but then, an uneventful flight is a good thing. I enjoyed seeing the fields of gold that remind me that I am nearing Carcassonne. I fell in love with them the first time I visited and they feature heavily in a story I'm writing that is partly set in Carcassonne.
We landed and I got through Carcassonne Airport pretty quickly and caught a shuttle bus into the town and to the train station. My train was greatly delayed so there was much sitting around but I invested in the trashiest - but most hilarious - French teen magazine.
Among the ridiculous articles was one saying the Duchess of Cambridge was going to have a girl based purely on the fact that according to a "close source" she feels different this pregnancy. And that the baby is pretty much guaranteed to be named Diana. (Whilst I imagine the baby will probably be called Diana if it is a girl, they are jumping slightly ahead of themselves...)
My train - which would take me from Carcassone to Narbonne - finally arrived. It was very crowded and rather uncomfortable. However, the views from the windows were scrumptious. Golden and brown fields, green tress, pure blue sky.
At Narbonne I saw a double-decker train pass through - wow - and I started the final leg of my journey, Narbonne to Perpignan. And it was sensational. It definitely made up for the previous leg. The train was nice and airy, without many people, and I could sit down.
The scenery was breathtaking. There are some photos below but they can't completely do it justice. It;s one of those things you have to see. Do you know the bit in Spirited Away where they're on a train going through water? And it's beautiful and peaceful but kind of haunting?
It was exactly like that. There was water on one side most of the way and on both for chunks of the journey. Obviously we weren't in the water but it came so close to the tracks that it was very easy to imagine we were. You looked out of the window and saw only water. It was really amazing - one of the most amazing journeys I have undertaken.
We arrived in Perpignan and Nathalie, my go-to teacher at the college where I'm working, met me and drove me to Cabestany. Cabestany is the village just outside of Perpignan where I am living. I like it here - it's peaceful and the stars are very clear. I can easily get into and out of Perpignan by bus.
I did a big shop at Carrefour - I'm glad I have a local Carrefour! The view from the carpark was another magical moment: the dark red sky behind the black mountains. It really took my breath away. I think I'm going to love Perpignan and the surrounding areas - in fact, I think I already do.
Thanks for reading!