We met Stacy's parents at their hotel then we went to the train station to pick up the rental car. The woman helping us spoke fantastic english so that certainly made things easier. Then we got on the road and had a very beautiful and overall simple drive to Collioure.
The drive went pretty smoothly. There were some wacky things with the roads/tolls/speed limits once in a while but no big deal. The weather was beautiful and we had fantastic view of the Pyrenees Mountains near the border. The border patrol consisted of French police with big guns and their funny side berets (I didn't take a picture although I know Dad would have) waving people through a diverted lane for a few hundred feet then back onto the highway. On the way back we didn't have anything - a sign saying España and a welcome sing in about 7 different languages was the only indication that we had cross back into Spain.
Collioure is beautiful. There are pastel colored and terra cotta roofed buildings embedded in hills all leading down to coves and the coast line. There are some old forts, a church and a Chateau Royal, which made a lovely contrast to all the 'recent' buildings. There isn't a while lot to do in the town. When we got there we walked down by the water until we found a place to eat. Most of the restaurants were a mix of french, catalan, tapas and seafood cuisine. I got a salad topped with manchego cheese and serrano ham. It was good but the ham was pretty salty (but I think that's the style). After lunch we walked around some shops and got some delicious crepes (finally, I'd been craving them since Paris on monday). Then we made our way to the center of town to catch Le Petit Train Touristique.
Le Petit Train Touristique is this adorable little car thing that looks like a train locomotive and tows 3 or 4 cars behind it with benches and an audio guide. It was very similar to amusement park trains or parking lot shuttles. So this little train/car thing drives on these narrow uneven roads that wind through the vineyard covered hills that surround the town. You get some history of the area and its commerce on the ride up. The train stops at the top of a hill with a fantastic panorama of Collioure, the mountains, the Mediterranean and Port-Vendres (the neighboring cove town). This was really beautiful and I bet that the whole view and experience would be even better if you walked up the path/road (as we saw many people doing). The trip back down was pretty cool too. You got a view of and drove through Port-Vendres (pronounced similar to Provença/Provence).
After the train we walked around a little bit more, got some post cards then went back to the car and started our trip back. We had a few difficulties with the gps once in a while but overall the drive back was pretty smooth.
We made it back and Stacy and I made some dinner at the apartment and went to bed at at a reasonable hour, for once.