Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Fear

There’s a difference between overcoming fear and not having it in the first place.  I’m working on getting past mine so I can explore and enjoy the things available to me in the area where I live.  Driving was second nature to me until I came to Spain where I find the roads dangerously chaotic.  But taking the train isn’t always convenient, and the train doesn’t go to all the places I want to see.  What was I afraid of?

Besides being killed on the road by some speeding nincompoop, there was the more mundane problem of being able to read the road signs.  True, I managed to obtain a Spanish driver’s license.  But somehow, the signs as you enter the toll stations on the motorways are still a mystery to me.  What do you do if you’re first up in a lane where you must have a season pass?  Or if you have cash but there is no cash machine?  There used to be lanes manned by real people, but they seem to have disappeared. 

I finally decided to resolve this problem by finding an explanation of the signs (in English!) on the internet and using the lanes that accept credit cards, as most of them do.  In my research I discovered that the symbols for the season pass and the multiple-option lanes are identical except that one is enclosed in a circle and the other in a square.  No wonder I was confused.

This week, credit card in hand on a glorious spring day, I headed off for Collioure for their weekly market.  Market days in France are simply more aesthecially pleasing than the ones in Spain, even though the market is Collioure is small.  Nevertheless, you can find some yummy small goat cheese rounds, or unpasteurized camembert, or macarons, or an enticing array of breads, or soft nougat, or scented soaps.  And even paella.  And anyway, the grass is greener on the other side.



  1. So beautiful! How close to France are you?

    1. I'm about 20 minutes from the French border. It took about an hour, maybe a little less, to reach Collioure (and park!). Next outing to France I think will be to Ceret, which is closer, in the Pyrenees foothills. I'd been to Collioure many times, but only by train. I've never been to Ceret because the train doesn't go there. It's about time I started venturing out more with the car.