Day 10 – This is Getting Serious
We decided that it would be nice to be by a lake for swimming etc and envisaged lots of lovely walks for Juno, who needs a lot of off the lead exercise to be content. This lake in particularly looked beautiful and we found an Aires nearby at a rate of €8 a night, given our over expenditure on wine and tolls the previous week this looked like a good deal. We are feeling pretty nervous about basically sleeping in a car park (as Aires practically are) so thought it was better to rip the plaster off and do that first.
Off we set, we had around 1hr 45 minutes driving to go. The route took us through Draguignan, which Greg aptly named the French Milton Keynes – there were nearly 15 roundabouts (or islands to us Brummies)! This meant that the sat nav lady interrupted all Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars waaaaayyy too many times to make my singing and dancing credible. The drive took us along mountain roads and we discovered very friendly French drivers who beep you for pulling over and waves thank you – how nice. We pulled over a few times due to our slow progress, but in general the drive was pretty beautiful.
I have to mention; Greg has decided to grow a beard – I’m not happy about it! He tried to pacify me by saying that it was going to be like Roy Keane’s beard, a footballer that I don’t like that the previous evening I had said looked dead in the eyes during the Wales v Portugal game. This didn’t work, but neither did my moaning and the beard is currently staying.
So, we arrived at the municipal camping at Ste Croix du Verdon. It is basically a car park for motorhomes, with a few motorhome services and a pitonque court at the back. We parked ourselves under a tree, got set up and headed out for lunch. The Aires is situated next to Le Comptoir restaurant and bar, which has a great view, enormous portions and very lovely staff (this is becoming a theme). So a tuna and a goat’s cheese salad later and we headed down to the lake.
The walk down to the lake is quite steep with loose pebbles, being the clumsiest person I know, obviously I slipped and fell so now have a bashed up big toed and a bruised foot / ankle, but nobody saw so I reckon I got away lightly. We turned left at the bottom and walked along the road next to the lake beach. It appeared that dogs weren’t allowed anyway but we got to a section where people had flaunted the rules and we joined in. The three of us went into the lake for a little paddle then headed on back via the village, which is very beautiful but very small. The lake (the third largest lake in France) was created in 1968 by EDF to produce electricity and the village was displaced. The new village has been created very sympathetically in an older, Provencal style.
The day was exceptionally hot and the three of us were feeling it – time to understand that a motorhome is a tin can! We set up our chairs outside in the shade and prayed for breeze. Juno made friends with Allie, a French terrier of some sort owned by the van next to ours, she even followed the owner to the toilet (tad embarrassing!). I almost envied the language of dog as I struggled to speak to the owner with my GCSE French whilst Juno and Allie were having a ball.
Later that evening we realised that we had forgotten beer and wine (how?! how?!) so headed back to Le Comptoir for drinks and a take-out bottle of wine. Our plan was to take the wine back and watch the France v Portugal in the Euro Championship final “allez les bleus” but we couldn’t get a TV signal so just had to check the internet and hope for the best. It was a shame that there wasn’t a bar in the town showing the match and part of me wished we’d stayed in Plan de la Tour to watch the game, as the atmosphere following the France v Germany game was amazing (according to the Tilley parents who had a well-deserved night off that night). Although France losing to Portugal I’m sure dampened the atmosphere. Apologies France, I think it was my fault – every team I supported in this year’s Euros lost, first England (obviously), then Northern Ireland, then Wales, then France – I think that I’m a jinx.
Greg and I are a bit out of sorts tonight, I think that the pressure to have the “experience of a lifetime” is getting to us a bit and confusing us on the route to go. We are restricted by Juno, obviously, but that is our choice and we love spending time with her, so we are thinking that the lavender fields near Gordes are where we should head tomorrow for better walks with Juno and perhaps some cycling for us (plus I really want to see the lavender fields and particularly photograph them).