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May 30: Avignon to coast

For the last leg of this absolutely packed nine-day journey, the trains led down along the Mediterranean Sea and then more or less hugged the coast all the way to Barcelona.

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The platform display at Avignon just after boarding the train. Luckily, unlike the previous day's uncomfortable rides, this train was air conditioned and spacious.

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While crossing the Rhône, a familiar sight by now: une rangée d'éoliennes.

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Near Lunel: an oddly militaristic water tower?

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And a food-processoresque silo complex.

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At the Gare St.-Roch in Montpellier, I transferred to a Spanish RENFE train to continue the rest of the way. First though I lunched on this narrow terrace on the upper level of the station.

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The new train was also pleasant despite its cream-of-mustard ambience.

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Still by the Gare in Montpellier, some intriguing quasi-trompe-l'oeil.

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Soon thereafter was my first-ever glimpse of Mediterranean waters! Backwaters, but waters nonetheless. This is maybe the Étang de Vic. I didn't really realize before seeing this landscape firsthand that much of the French Mediterranean shore is so marshy — I had always pictured it as being kind of mountainous, but of course that's mainly just where the Alps and the Pyrenees meet the sea.

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Whoa. This windmill is straight-up steampunk.

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An oil...facility. I'm not really up on my oil facility terminology.

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Crossing a canal of the uniquely situated city of Sète, perched between the Étang de Thau and the Mediterranean at the foot of Mont Saint-Clair.

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Bridges at Béziers.

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Low and high rows. The one just below the trees looks like it might be a levee. (Edit: Why Not Both?)

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The station at Narbonne has a similar setup as that of Avignon: a masonry core with a light metal trainshed.

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After that the route threaded between lagoons through a regional park, the Parc Naturel Régional de la Narbonnaise en Mediterranée. Here the trees at the apparent edge of the flat seem to be mysteriously evenly spaced.

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This Étang was wide enough to mirage-float the barrier lands beyond, recalling some Utö scenes.

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An almost-infinite beach and the apparition of a cliff.

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At Perpignan, probably: this is one of the more colorful large housing blocks I've seen. The variation in textures is also a nice effect.