Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grand Canyon Du Verdon

Another place I had been to in my childhood. For some silly reason I can remember taking one of those pedal powered catamaran type things under the bridge and into the canyon… at the age of 10. Never accuse me of having a bad memory, I can still remember stuff from over 40 years ago! The pedal powered things are still there too! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start at the beginning.

The beginning of the trip to the canyon was at the campground a little bit further south. Our first campground in France, which was a partial success. Why? Because we feel that if you charge someone to stay at a place you call a campground, that we may expect toilets with toilet seats, toilets with toilet paper, showers that work… and when you advertise a pool, it would be nice if there's water in it. 'Oh but we're out of season' was the reply. When is a pool out of season? It was 30°C! If that isn't pool season then nothing is.

Still, it wasn't all bad. There was a smoochie cat that enjoyed the last bit of our very smelly Italian cheese. The neighbour came over to enquire about the bikes and where we were from. When we explained in our best French, the reply was ohlala in a way that only the French seem to master :-) Oh and don't forget the rather loud braying but quite funny donkeys!

The ride through the canyon was breathtaking. I had forgotten how beautiful France can be. As we were very late in the year, there was hardly anyone there. The contrast between here and the Italian riviera couldn't have been greater. Lovely riding, smooth and easy winding roads made for a relaxing day. We all preferred the view here too. The Italian riviera is nice but you can't see much of it as most of it is owned by people who have built houses and hotels on it.

We took the south road past the Canyon. A good choice as we had the sun behind us and could thus see it properly. It's a road built for motorcycling, not a straight bit anywhere! We enjoyed a couple of old French villages too. Life was good to us, again.

A french bakery had lots of goodies on offer and for very reasonable prices too. One tip on the famous French stick: they are good, especially here, but do eat it the same day! They don't seem to have any preservatives in them… don't need to either as the French bakery is open even on Sunday.

The Grand Canyon Du Verdon is one of Europe's most beautiful and it isn't hard to understand why. One of its striking features is the green colour of the river that carved it all. Being close to the French Riviera means it is a popular tourist destination. You can drive around the rim, rent kayaks and pedal boats to play in the water and there are quite a few hiking trails too.