Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sospel to Vallerauges: gorges, castles and McDonalds.

From Sospel we stayed in the mountains and on to Entrevaux, a little fortified town situated beside a rapid river. We camped beside a lovely lake which was popular with families using paddleboards, canoes and floats. Pete decided to borrow a child's canoe that was resting on the edge of the water, and when he came back he returned to three young boys with their arms folded and bottom lips stuck out. Oops.

We found another wild swimming spot beneath an old stone bridge, away from a more touristy spot along the river. As we drove through the Verdon Gorge, the scenery was unforgettable. Prehistoric rock formations that can only be appreciated with the human eye - the camera shrinks it's enormity.
Leaving the gorge, we consulted our Wild Swimming book and stopped at Lac Ste Croix. After a severely underestimated walk to the said point, we were disappointed to find it full of people. As we carefully stepped down a steep rocky pathway we squeezed ourself in with the Germans and attempted to get to the jumping rock. After much hoo-ha, we made it into the water and in the space of about 10 minutes everybody decided to leave! I don't know what it was that caused everyone to evacuate... perhaps they had to get a bus. As I climbed the rock I realised that I hadn't ever jumped off anything, really. And I became very scared and for about half an hour I sat on top of the rock staring at the water. Pete, meanwhile, was doing backflips and impressing those passing in boats, even getting a round of applause from one group. When I finally plopped in it really hurt and wasn't fun at all. Stupid rock. I went for a long swim in the flat, empty lake.

Living in a van means you don't have a washing machine, obviously. And when you're on the road a lot, your washing builds up and up and up until you realise that it's getting quite pongy and all of a sudden you simply must do washing. At our campsite we managed to shove in about 7kg of washing (including bed sheets, towels etc.), and once we set up our tri-washing line it covered our entire camp pitch, leaving us camouflaged but clean and content.

We were missing the beach so we headed to the coast at La Ciotat. We met up with one of Pete's old friends for the evening and got hideously drunk, terribly bitten by mosquitoes and the only way to console ourselves the morning after was to head straight to McDonalds and eat a load of crap and glug a 2 litre carton of orange juice.

Next stop was a Cool Camping site just outside the sweet town of Vallerauges which was run by a lovely English/Dutch family. A small river ran through the area and on each side were perfect jumping platforms for Pete to do some more showing off. We had a lot of fun there and I wasn't such a wimp about jumping off the rock this time. Out of all the campsites, we'd probably return there as it was brilliant value for money and had a great friendly atmosphere. (



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