Imagine driving along a winding coast road in the South of France heading towards St Tropez with the windows wound down. The golden mimosa that tumbles down at each side of the road exudes a delicious, delicate perfume and the jagged glimpses of the turquoise sea flash in your eyes. The sun is warm on your face and the wind is in your hair and your senses are flooded. These are those moments that you feel really glad to be alive!
Are you in a low slung vintage sports car with the roof down or riding a big 1500cc touring bike? In my mind I was in a 1950s Mercedes-Benz 190 SL but in reality we were trundling along in our less-than-sporty camper van! It was still an amazing experience and we felt so grateful that we were able to do this on a warm February day despite all the Covid restrictions and regulations.
We had already enjoyed some wonderful and dramatic countryside that day as we travelled from Gémenos to the lovely beach area of La Gaillarde. on the Mediterranean Coast.
Having recently had some bad experiences with finding spots to stay in our camper van, we were a little concerned that our choice for that evening wouldn’t work out for some reason. Luck was in our favour though and we found “Chez Marcel” when I noticed a small sign for it. Lucky I had my eyes peeled.
We had a lovely spot with a sea view and once we had settled in we went for a beautiful walk along the shore, enjoying the small coves, doing some rock hopping and watching families enjoying the late afternoon sun. It really felt as though spring was on its way.
The next morning we were delighted to find that Marcel had mistakenly interpreted my enthusiasm for pain au chocolate for an order (I did order a baguette). So we just had to buy them and ended up relishing them for morning tea.
We had decided it was time to start making our way back to our daughter and son-in-law’s in the Netherlands. It had been a wonderful trip but we had to start getting organised to get back to our catamaran “Sunday” in Turkey.
We decided to do our usual thing and take the scenic route rather than use the faster but soulless toll roads.
The first leg was very winding, scenic and took us through “Les Alpes” once again.
The snowy scenes were beautiful and in such contrast to the balmy weather we had experienced on the Mediterranean coast.
We stopped for the night in a small camper park surrounded by mountains – just outside the small town of Sassenage on the outskirts of Grenoble.
The following day we set off again reasonably early in good conditions but soon we were surrounded by low clouds, then heavy rain. On the positive side, we saw a lovely rainbow that appeared to end on a van in front of us.
It was astonishing to see how flooded everywhere was. How long had it been raining for?!
That night we found a wonderful place to camp by the side of a lake in Vaivre-et-Montoille in eastern France. We had the whole lake to ourselves! The serenity and calm was so welcome after a wet and wearing drive.