A Travellerspoint blog

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Sunny Sunday

A gorgeous sunny and even warm day. Quite a foodie day. Started with Kouglof for breakfast, a breadlike cake (or is it a cakelike bread?) that is eaten cold. Bea cooked it last night and it was delicious! 90_20130406_210628.jpg

We then headed off to the Market at Lunel, a 15 minute drive away. There was the usual array of cheap clothes and shoes, kitchen gadgets and knick-knacks. As well as a stand selling live chickens, ducks and rabbits. But in amongst all that was also the food stalls selling pastries and herbs.90_20130407_095755.jpg

We then went further into the village to the more permanent food market. All sorts of exciting foods on offer: olives of various types in ceramic urns, cheeses, sausages, fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables. Some the same as we see in NZ but plenty of other more exotic offerings as well.
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Came home to a feast. Olives, pickled anchovies, octupus salad and tapenads for entree, roast pork with mushrooms and curried vegetables for the main course and strawberries for dessert, all washed down with a delicious red wine. Waddled away from the table and sat by the pool for the afternoon.IMG_5780.jpg

More tonight...and I must finish my bottle of champagne before I head off to Toulon tomorrow!

Posted by Kanumera 08:36 Comments (0)

Beaulieu to Ollioules

Left Beaulieu this morning and set the gps to take me to Aigues-Mort a fortified village in the middle of the Carmagues. The Carmargues are marshlands famous for their white horses and black bulls. Sadly the morning was overcast with odd patches of drizzle so I didn't explore the ramparts around the village, which are still intact, just wandered around the cobbled streets. Another photo of food for you, this time a selection of salami style sausages, from the left: bull, duck, donkey & boar!
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The next step of my trip took me through the Carmargues, a mixture of swamps, grape vines, olive trees and paddocks for the horses or bulls. I stumbled across this chateau and had a wander round, not that great as a visit but it was free so can't really complain! IMG_5785.jpgIMG_5787.jpg....love gargoyles!

So carried on to my next destination Martigues, famous for it's salt production. Had a bit of trouble finding a park, ended up winding my way through tiny little one way roads and doing a few laps of a carpark before stopping to eat my lunch beside the water.
IMG_5793.jpg Not entirely sure whether this was a rivermouth, a canal or the sea. The man fishing caught nothing while I was there!

The trickiest part of the trip followed. Had to get from one side of Marseille to the other. That city is gigantic! Managed fine, started on fly-overs then went into a series of tunnels that go right under the city, they go for kilometers....freaky! So having safely made it to the otherside I proceeded on to Cassis, a small fishing village, which is more a tourist spot these days. They still have the traditional fishing boats lined up in the port, and the village is overlooked by the compulsory Chateau!
IMG_5798.jpg Rewarded myself with a cup of coffee at a cafe on the waters edge.

Final leg of the day was from Cassis to Ollioules. I wanted to take the coastal route, but the GPS had other ideas and I ended up on the autoroute instead....sigh! Still, it meant that I arrived at Veronques place in good time with plenty of daylight left. Her village is typical, built on a hill, with tiny little one way roads barely wide enough for a car! After a few laps of the village I phoned and she came and found me! Dropped off suitcase, then drove to parking place a couple of blocks away.

After catching my breath and a cup of tea we drove to the next village, Sanary, which is beside the sea. Again cute little local fishing boats fill the port, very picturesque. Wandered around the port and up the hill admiring the houses that went with the Audi's and Mercedes.
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So quite a full and satisfying day.

Posted by Kanumera 14:49 Comments (0)

The Mediterranean

Vero was busy this morning so I wandered around the village taking photo's stopping along the way for a coffee and patisserie.
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We met up around midday and headed off to Six Four sur mer, a coastal village just a little further around the coast from Sanary. First activity was lunch. We selected a restaurant with tables right on the water next to the cute little fishing boats. I had scallops and prawns, Vero had the snapper....both delish! We followed that with a cafe gourmand; to my delight this consisted of a coffee and a whole bunch of tiny desserts .
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After basking in the sun for a while we decided a walk was in order. So headed to the peninsular at the end of the bay and had a wander along the tops of the rocks overlooking the Med.
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Took the scenic route back to Ollioules where Vero dropped me off before heading off to her afternoon appoinment. Rendezvous at her place later for diner. In the meantime I'll spend some time researching my trip to Villeneuve tomorrow, got to figure out how to stop the GPS sending me onto the autoroute.

Posted by Kanumera 09:14 Comments (0)

Two days in Villeneuve

No wifi for the last couple of days so no blog!

After a final wander around Vero's village I drove from Ollioules to Villeneuve on Wednesday. Have finally figured out how to stop the GPS putting me onto the Peage (the pay to use Autoroute). So am now using the smaller national and local roads which are much more picturesque. They also take me through some tiny little villages where the "roads" are barely a car width wide and can be terrifying to weave your way through, but it's all part of the adventure!90_IMG_5830.jpg

Took the day pretty easy but still arrived in Villeneuve mid-afternoon. Stayed with friends Christian & Geraldine, will be returning for their 50th wedding anniversary in a month from now, but lovely to catch up with them without all the bustle of family and friends around. That afternoon we visited the neighbouring villages Lurs, another cute little village perched on a hilltop overlooking the countryside.IMG_5834.jpg IMG_5837.jpg
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That night they talked me into staying another night so that I could visit the Grand Canyon du Verdon. Thursday was overcast and not too warm. Great day for a drive! So I headed off further east travelling the lesser roads through olives, grapevines, lavendar plantations and patches of wooded area. Emerged alongside Lac du Sainte Croix, crossed the bridge and climbed up the right hand side of the gorge. Very spectacular! The river and lake are an intense pastel green, I guess from the load of calcium the water carries.
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The road wound up to over 1000m above sea level, not too far below the snow level which is still at about 1200m! This also explains why I have abandonned my plan to play golf in the French/Italian Alps!!

90_IMG_5863.jpg Stopped for lunch at a small bistro at the head of the gorge, then headed back down the otherside and back to to village at the base of the gorge, Moustieres-St-Marie. IMG_5869.jpg Stopped and had a wander around the shops. Seem to specialise in ceramics, with shops selling plates, bowls, jugs etc dominating the village. Did spot the butchers shop where I was delighted to see a venison stew prepared and ready for sale. IMG_5873.jpg

Slowly made my way back to Villeneuve for the night. Took this shot of some ewes and lambs on the way. A lot of farms still have their stock shut up in their winter houses, but a few are starting to appear as the weather improves.
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Today was supposed to drive from Villeneuve to the village of Aubenas in the Ardeche via the gorges of Ardeche. Somehow mucked it up and ended up driving a huge loop around to the north of the gorge! Then got totally flumoxed in Aubenas and couldn't find a hotel, so drove on to the smaller village of Vogue where I have successfully found a bed for the night in a kind of holiday camp place, cheap enough, includes breakfast and there is wifi and tv so all good! Now not sure of my plans for tomorrow, might continue north rather than backtrack to the gorge.

Posted by Kanumera 07:27 Comments (0)

Cote du Rhone

Nasty bed last night, woke up with a sore neck and a headache that has gotten progressively worse all day. Missed breakfast as well just to add insult to injury! So a bit grumpy, lucky I'm travelling alone!

Did my best to enjoy the sights. Went into the village of Vogue and got a coffee and croissant to start, then wandered through the little streets up to the Chateau.
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The style of the houses is quite different than it was down south. Stone work is greyer here and more sombre, much less colour and little decoration.

So today I headed north, basically travelling along the Rhone river through Cotes du Rhone wine country. Being grumpy and headachy I didn't stop often, but did take a few photos here and there...this one is a bridge across the Rhone with my wee car in the foreground. IMG_5882.jpg

While hunting for somewhere to stop for lunch stumbled across a tiny little village with a tiny little chateau. IMG_5883.jpg

Lunch was a bugger up. After searching for ages decided to grab something from a bakery before the midday shut down, then drove 5 minutes to the next village where there were more little cafes lining the road than you could poke a stick at!

Won't bore you with the story of the village with the tiny one way roads that the GPS thought were two-way!

Anyway, cut the day short, have booked into a hotel in Ampuis, a stones throw south of Vienne. Village has an impressive cChateau which is a completely different architecture to the ones I've seen so far, much prettier! IMG_5890.jpg

The final picture is the view of the vineyards from my hotel window.IMG_5893.jpg

Not a stellar day, hopefully tomorrow will be an improvement!

Posted by Kanumera 07:14 Comments (0)

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