We spent the week staying in another of our favourite Provencal villages – Lourmarin, where Peter Mayles made his last home (“A year in Provence” etc.). It’s a delightful community with a fantastic market. Sitting in a coffee shop after buying lots of local produce and goodies was one of the highlights of the week. We repeated a hike from last year, from Lourmarin over the hills to Bonnieux and took the bus back along a very twisty, narrow road through a gorge. The walk did not disappoint the second time.
Before heading to Lourmarin we stopped off in les Baux (just south of St. Remy) – a very quaint, but unfortunately very touristy village with a 12th century castle. We spent a fun hour scrambling over battlements and negotiating scary steps to towers.
The week ended with us moving on to one of our new areas, the Cote d’Azur. No, not to hit the beaches but to hike in the unique l’Esterel area just east of Saint Raphael. Moving on to somewhere new is always exciting, as will be the rest of our travels this time!
Things we have learned about Europe this week:
• Conversation in the camper van. Ian – “I am going to stop buying cheap wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine”. Liz – “Then why did you drink so much of the last bottle?” Response from Ian pending, contingent upon legal advice.
• Ian’s car “rant” of the trip. Citroen car manufacturers are the worst car designers the planet. The latest model is called the “Cactus” (imagine driving that) and has rubber bumpers down the sides, just ready to survive that crunching side impact, or to not even scratch when you open the door and flatten a passing cyclist. See photos.
• A bus load of Czech cyclists was staying at our campground. They partied “heavily” until 10:59 p.m. (camp curfew was 11:00 p.m.), then all the lights went out and it was total silence until 7:00 a.m. I guess obeying communist-style laws is a hard habit to break. See photos.
• Road sign of the week. We have never seen a “No entry” road sign that is weather dependent, until this week that is. See photos.
• Another French road sign conundrum! We say cul-de-sac for a dead-end street, but here in France it’s either chemin sans issue or impasse. We thought we were being so French, n’est pas?
• French grocery supermarkets have by far the cheapest diesel in France. The only problem being it is virtually impossible to purchase. To save money, the gas stations, which are advertised as “24/7”, are unattended and do not accept our UK credit card. We’ve driven out of more than one in frustration.
• Dog owners in France are humiliated and fined if they do not follow “Poop and scoop”! See photos.
This week’s question:
Another photo question! What is the name of this bird? We had never seen one before until it showed up at our campsite in Lourmarin. BIG clue – it is the national bird of Israel! See photos.
No “Googling” – answer next week!
Last week’s question: Something new this week! Can anyone identify the fruit on the tree in one of the photos? We took this photo on a hike and are interested to know if anyone can identify what they are.
And the answer is …………………………….A green almond – very popular in salads this time of year. See photos.
Until next week!
Ian & Liz