On Sunday morning I woke up to my boyfriend making a fire in the open fireplace to drive away the morning chill. The smell of woodsmoke in the cool morning air coupled with the view over a lake, reminded me of vacations at the summer cottage in Finland, 3000km north of my current location. I felt both elated and and immensly peaceful as I sat and looked over the lake while sipping my tea.
We spent the morning by the pool, soaking up the warm Spanish sun. A couple of times I dipped my toe in the pool but the water was icy cold after the chilly night. Loki appeared at our side every couple of minutes, his gentle eyes begging for somebody to throw a stick or a toy. So the laziness was not quite perfect. After a few hours the clouds dotting the sky gathered together to form a cover and we left the pool side and navigated the tricky path down to the lake, so that Loki could have a small swim. In May the Pantà de Boadella lake is at its largest, the water overflowing its banks, submerging trees that stand on dry land later in the year. As we threw sticks in to the lake Loki swam happily between the trees appearing straight from the surface of the water.
Next we headed for the supermarkets in La Jonquera. We had visited the Esclat briefly the day before, to get provisions for dinner and breakfast, but decided to do a more thorough shopping that day. We had found Esclat wanting in some respects. The vegetable and fruit section was quite small and so was the selection of yoghurt and margarine. No fresh milk, as expected, and to my horror, very few types of tea. There were a couple of kinds of herbal tea, some green tea and one type called Te Classic. This appeared to be the only black tea in the entire shop. No Earl Grey became visible among the boxes, however hard I stared at the shelf. Finally I dejectedly picked up the Té Classic. Hoping to find some better produce we decided to try one of the several other supermarkets surrounding this piece of road. The first one we tried seemed to be an extended liquor store. Half the shop was taken up by bottles of various types and sizes, with one thing in common: they all contained alcohol. There was some meat, and food of other kinds, but no vegetables whatsoever. Ok, so off it was to the next shop. This one was slightly better, although the pictures of vegetables advertised on the window were not quite matched by the selection inside. And to our amazement there was absolutely no ice-cream to be found. In the end we returned to the Esclat, which turned out to be the best of the supermarkets. In general La Jonquera, or at least this piece of it, seemed to be a place for French people to come to satisfy addictions and baser urges at a lower price than at home. On the road to La Jonquera we encountered a 4 story building called Club Gran Madam’s, which we suspected was a brothel (4 stories of exotic dancing?), and a bit later what was undoubtedly a strip club. One of the largest stores among the supermarkets in La Jonquera itself was a Sex Toys Center and behind the supermarkets more ‘clubs’ offered varying degrees of nudity. The language surrounding us was almost exclusively French, from the cashiers to the bikers in the parking lot, and the customers in all three supermarkets. The elderly French couple in front of us in the queue bought about 10 bottles of strong alcohol. The man had a red face with an even redder nose and was in some confusion about how to pay for their purchases with his bank card. We fled La Jonquera as soon as possible for the peace and serenity of our lakeside house, but not before buying food for a few days.
The following morning we were greeted by a bright blue sky and hurried to the pool fearing a repeat of last days afternoon clouding. We lay in our sun chairs, as the sun turned from pleasantly warm to blisteringly hot. Stubbornly we would not move, hungry for sun after the cold spring in Belgium. At some point desperation drove us to dive into the icy pool, but we exited its blueness quickly, not able to stand the cold for long. Loki was not too happy about the heat, undoubtedly missing the good old snowy days of winter. But he did enjoy wreaking havoc in the flower beds.