Monday, 29 July 2013

Into the French Alps and beyond

Vive le France! 
We avoided Monaco (I think we might drive through it on the way back) and head up into the mountains. We found some reasonably priced Camping Municipale in the village of Sospel which was a little gem. Manoeuvring the van through Les Grande Tour des Alpes to get there was a bit travel-sick-inducing but the scenery was like nothing I'd seen before. Jaw-dropping rock formations with visible chunky layers pressed together and pushed up and up, with the sun shining through the aromatic pine forests. I gave my biggest smile (which I fear turned into a pitiful one once I saw the agonising look on their faces) to the mental cyclists attempting the 2000m mountain pass and even got a wave back from a sturdy looking bloke! Soon after that though we reached a small village, so I guess he had just set off… 
Consulting our Wild Camping book we prodded in the longitude and latitude of our first secret spot and hoped the sat nav would take us there. It did! It was a cloudy morning, and we traipsed down down down another 'path' deep into the valley. I heard Pete woah-ing a lot and suddenly the photo in the book was right in front of our eyes! White-grey smooth boulders with aquamarine water plunging between and around them. This is literally what Centre Parcs' pool and rapids are based on. Yay for beautiful wild swimming! Shame it was ice cold, but I guess that's what you get for swimming in the mountains.

Digression: I have forgotten to mention previously the state of toilets in Greece and Italy - poor. Why do the toilets not have seats?!!? Why? Several times I did that thing where you're expecting the loo seat but some guy has left the seat up and you feel like you're going to faaaaaaaaall into the loo because you're judgement is wrong and you lose your balance. Crazy times. France, however, is different. Clean and nice and lockable doors too. Wahoo! Some of our campsites have even provided loo roll - mega bonus! It's never exactly inconspicuous carrying a roll of paper under your arm as you meander past eeeeveryone to the toilet block.

Sat nav is proving very useful and has brought us to all our selected swimming spots so far. It does enjoy taking us on the scenic route though: circling, venturing into dead ends, popping us onto a road that's not there etc. Thankfully, the scenery is super so it doesn't matter all that much.

Our flights are booked to return on 15th August so we're not sure whether we'll manage to get to Spain. We'll keep exploring the wild swimming through France and see how far we get before returning to Florence to drop the beloved van off and fly out of Pisa.


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