Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Curse of Collioure

Collioure, France is one of my favorite "go to" places when we have company.  With France only about a 2 hour drive, it's kind of like going to New Hampshire or Maine for us but at the same time... it's France.  Really, can you beat that?

And so for the last 2 years (once we discovered it), it has been on the list of must see places when we have company for more than a few days.  We've taken Josh's sister and brother-in-law (, our friends Kyle and Kelly ( and my cousin Meghan ( so far with plans for this year to take Michelle, Meghan (in a second attempt), my parents and my aunt and uncle - all who are planning to visit Barcelona this year.

Too bad they aren't going to get to see it... why?  Because I've decided Collioure is cursed.  This is only my second visit to Collioure in the last year and like the past trip, it was a bit of a distaster.  The good thing is both disasters were met with lots of laughs and ahhh, France kind of moments.  So thankfully they weren't as bad as they could have been.

So how is Collioure cursed?  Well, it's probably not, but given my track record at the moment, I'm not sure that I want to tempt fate.  I'm sure there are plenty of other cute seaside towns, right??

My trip with Meghan was set up for disaster from the get go.  It was POURING rain out.  Like nothing I'd seen before in Barcelona.  Torrents of rain flooding the roads.  But it was our last opportunity to go to France before she left and I wasn't going to have her come all the way here without at least getting to France too!  So off we went in our rental car and we couldn't find our way out of Barcelona.

At the time, I wasn't driving in Barcelona regularly and so had to completely rely on my GPS which never took me the same way twice.  The first attempt I felt was taking us in the completely wrong direction ... south.  So I turned around and it didn't like that.  3 1/2 nerve wracking hours later (it's normally about a 2 hr 15 min drive), we made it to Collioure.

Too bad Collioure was "closed".  Now I recognize what it means to be a tourist town.  It means that often restaurants and shops are seasonal.  However, never have I been to a tourist town where EVERYTHING shuts down for the season.  This did not appear to be just a siesta deal as you could tell many of the shops had not been open for some time.  And for lunch... well we went to the one place that was open.  A pizza shop.  So much for our fancy French lunch.

After lunch we attempted to walk around and see if anything was open... anything.  Nada, zip, zilch.  And the roads were completely flooded to the point where it was a small river coming down any streets at an incline (which many of them were).  And we were soaked to the bone.  Total time spent in Collioure, 1 hour.  Total time driving?  SEVEN HOURS.

Streets of Collioure flooded with rain

It's actually flowing down this staircase like a river

Still beautiful even in the rain

That is a sidewalk that looks like a lake...

But I thought after Meghan's visit that it was just one time of pure misfortune and had every intention to bring her back when she comes to visit this September.  Sorry Meg!! Because incident number 2 happened while Caryn and Ursula were visiting and as we all know, these things happen in threes!  And I'm trying to avoid number three!!

After driving 2 hours from Arles, France with Caryn and Ursula about 2 weeks ago, our plan was to stop in Collioure on our way home.  Given it's quaintness and charm, it was a village I really wanted them to see.  Ursula had lived in France years ago and it was an area she had never been to and this was Caryn's first trip to the area as well.  

All was well until we attempted to look for a parking space.  We pulled into a U-shaped parking lot that already looked full but was also an opportunity for us to turn around.  To our right was a tourist bus with it's hazzards blinking, located in a striped lane which is not meant for driving.  We were on the left which was the only actual driving lane and even had an arrow on it to prove that!  

So our plan was to turn left to look for additional parking.  We were about mid way down the bus when all of a sudden the bus decided he, too, was taking a left.  I was stopped now and just watched in stunned silence as the bus slowly started to crush against my car, the driver oblivious to my existence next to him.  Finally the realization of what was happening set in and I beeped my horn.  

I was afraid to get out of the car for fear of what I would face given how horrific the sound was.  However, I was "pleasantly" surprised that the damage wasn't as bad as I had feared.  It could have been much worse.  And we were safe.  But the door to my passenger side would no longer open and I wasn't sure if there was any tire damage.  

The damage to my car - it doesn't look bad but the location of the dent meant the passenger door would not open  

My car was in the lane with the arrow - the bus in the one with the diagonal stripes.  I was turning left...he decided to turn left.  Which one is wrong??

In the end, everything worked out (yet another entry with the details) but now concerned with their being a curse on my beloved Collioure.  I may send Josh on his own just to give it a "test run" before attempting to go back again!


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