I spent my Sabbath in Perpignan (42.69006,2.892508) at the home of the chabad rabbi to whom my supplies were sent. The wet suit, compass, and other equipment that had been sent to replace my stolen gear has not yet arrived despite a “guaranteed delivery” date for this past Friday.
Perpignan is a beautiful city. Crowded by small streets and bunched up four story houses, there is an old and cozy feel. While in some neighborhoods plaster walled houses are pushed up against each other with a rainbow of soft colors between them, others are populated by buildings with an old stone architecture and an attention to detail that is inspiring. And like so many European cities, it has its share of castles and really old buildings that make knights and damsels seem like they're just around the corner. That if you listen close enough you could hear them.
The Jewish community here is a friendly bunch. I, once again, had to insist in the synagogue that I would not wear a prayer shawl (In my family we only wear them after we marry which - common in America - is rare here in Europe).
Walking home from the synagogue with the rabbi, we got to his house to find that nobody would open the door. His family must have been sleeping upstairs. The backyard has a locked gate with spikes on top. As we waited by the gate and nobody came I mentioned to the rabbi “You know, I could hop over this in no time.”
“But it has spikes?” He told me.
I wasn't worried, and hopped over the gate to let him in. When we were in his house and his wife came down he expressed concern that the garden was a little bit more open then he realized.
The food was good and the people nice. My package hasn't arrived, but tomorrow I'll be back on my way. Once it does, hopefully we'll work out a way for it to meet me.