Thursday

| 2013 | 08 | 08 | nice day 5, 6, 7+8 |

These three days (plus the travel day) were more of the now established routine. Early wake up calls for those who were participating in the morning run, followed by a trip to the local croissant shop for some breakfast.

We'd then sit around in the sun all morning until the midday heat became unbearable - it doesn't take much here.

Afternoon activities were still limited to mountain climbing, visiting random places or sleeping.

Day 5- visited Grasse. Now this was a stressful adventure

My Dad felt it was appropriate that we had a 'cultural' expedition. So he picked a spot on the map and decided we would go there. Turns out, interestingly, Grasse is considered to be the perfume capital of the world and has a dedicated museum. Setting our sights on this elusive location, our driver (the father) decided to ignore all directions from the key navigator (moi) and got horrendously lost and angry. That's okay though, he calmed down once we assured him there would be a cuppa at the end of it all.



The museum was surprisingly interesting (annoyingly no photography allowed). My basic French vocab allows me to have a slight understanding of the written words so I gleamed some interesting facts. I wish our perfume bottles nowadays were as gorgeous as those in the 18th and 19th century.


Our little group was by this point quite hungry so went on a crepe hunt. Yummy. The weather still held up, hitting 34 degrees. Scorching.



Day 6 - mountain again. Because the first time was great

The boy and I, in the spirit of training for Spartan (yes that's still creeping closer) decided to speed walk back down and up the valley in 30 degree heat.



I enjoyed it even less without the adventure of almost falling off. But I'm still proud we completed it in an hour and half, equipped with super sensible shoes.


That evening we demolished dinner and and worked our way through the second of our anticipated melons. Cheekay.

this is the view from the not quite top window. I almost dropped my camera.

I accidentally left a window open that night, and coupled with leaving a light on we managed to accumulate a million moths and the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen. You could have probably ridden on it.

Day 7 - we went for a strange drive around the road and the market


The morning kicked off with the town's market. Having spent the week in a kind of ghost town we were shocked by the hustle and bustle. Above is pictured olive wood kitcheny bits - I have such a crush on it and would have happily bought the majority were my baggage allowance not quite so full.


France has such exciting food. I don't even know how tomatoes get like that. And yes, bottom right are eggs. 

If you walk a little past the market into the old town you will stumble upon the renowned place for viewing the valley. Windyyyy. 




Ahhh, lovely french things. Honey, flavoured with flowers from the valley (I think), sundried tomatoes and olives, and big bottles of olive oil (meant to be a local specialty). A little cheeky splurge. I cannot wait to try the honey.

After lunch we hopped in the car and went for an exploratory drive. My poor dad still cant drive the wrong way round car and really struggles with the windy roads. Hah. The air-con was such a relief, it hit 36 degrees or something silly.

We found a bridge over La Siagne (the one we walked down the mountain to find), and started driving up the other side.


On holiday with two other bloggers, what do you expect.


If you look at the below photo you can see our house. It's kind of hard for me to explain exactly which one, so you pick!


Day 8 -To the airport. what fun

For breakfast I treated myself to a Pain au Raisin - so so good, but so so naughty - and packed my bags by putting things in the others suitcases.

all that sugar. yum
One last picture of the valley before we had to say goodbye.


We left our hosts a message in their visitors book - looks like we weren't the only ones to have a good time! The picture was before my dad had left his scrawl, if you noticed the missing word...


We had to collar up for the journey home, but please, no ties. Let us not be ridiculous.

He couldn't wait to get back in a right hand drive.


My suitcase didn't fit in the boot so these kids got to snuggle with it the whole way back. That's over an hour.


Au revoir france -  you will be missed!

xxx

Sunday

| 2013 | 08 | 04 | nice day 4 |

I'm going to jump straight to our adventure - you're all bored of hearing about what I ate for breakfast, it's not going to change. We're in France. 

Expedition for the day was attempting to find the elusive river at the bottom of the valley. If you've had a look at my other pictures you'll know it's a very long way down. 



 

I was trying to pass the time. A lot of time passed, about two hours before we reached the bottom. To just put that into perspective, it would take even longer to climb back up. 


We made it. There was a waterfall formed from the rain earlier that day blocking the final few metres, but the river was lovely.

Yes. Those are my mountain climbing clothes. They were washed. Don't judge me.





Walking back up, my attention wandered and I was mindlessly staring out across the valley and just generally upwards. I turned to Toby to point out an interesting tree or something, before the ground fell away from under my feet. I slammed down onto my chest, legs hanging out over the side of the mountain, scrambling desperately to grab onto anything to stop my fall.  What a good tree I chose to hang off, and before I completely disappeared, Toby already had a good grip on my shoulders and was busy stopping my descent.  Between us, I got back on my feet, the adrenalin causing the giggles. We took a small moment to have a good look how far down I would have slid, definitely broken legs, potentially worse on the rocks below.

i may be smiling on the outside, but I was shaking on the inside. the photo doesn't really show how far down i could have gone....

Walking the rest of the way was a little bit painful, my hips and legs were sore from my little accident, but I kind of deserved it. In total we were walking up and down for around 3 hours (it's quicker going up!)


I now have some amazing bruises to join the mosquito bites - probably the most attractive legs in the world... only sunburn left to go.


Dinner was a simple chicken dish with a ridiculous amount of pasta (we were ravenous after the climb) before we settled down for a record game of Newmarket (with our rules) - I'll be uploading how we play in the near future.


Mwah.

x

Saturday

| 2013 | 08 | 03 | nice day 3 |

Today was hot. 

our little street with all the lovely window boxes
As we emerged down the stairs in the morning it became apparent how bad the mosquito damage was. Quite clearly our little gang is just delectable. Nom. Thankfully my Dad took it upon himself to locate some mosquito relief, which quite frankly is giving me no relief whatsoever, and I just want to itch at my legs all day. Unacceptable.

We ran for 40 minutes around an impressively hilly route before collapsing on the sofas. It was so hot, too hot to be doing anything mildly exerting so the mountain climb we had planned was delayed until that afternoon.

Lunch was more of the same, baguette and an array of hams and cheeses - accompanied by a cup of tea of course!

At half 3 we set off to our favourite location in all of France. I don't even know where it is, all I do know is that the views are breathtaking. It took around an hour and a half to get there, and on the way we saw some incredible things. The destination itself is a walk up a mountain which we stumbled upon a couple of years ago and has since resulted in a yearly pilgrimage.

Lac de Saint Cassien - the biggest lake I ever saw. Road trip 
Mountains are commonplace, but each one has it's own character and we spent most of the journey gawping out the window (except my Dad, he was driving and concentrating thoroughly on the road..)


As we neared the region called 'Esterel' (I believe, I actually have no idea), the mountains got more imposing and the road more treacherous. My dad understandably gets very stressed when threatened with being pushed off the side of the road down a million miles into the valley and his stress levels hit an all time high of 8/10.


Thankfully, we weren't put in any real danger and parked at the base of the mountain, very much prepared for the hike - I had vaseline and hair spray...

The view from halfway up
 The walk itself takes you right around the side of the neighbouring 'hill', by the point you turn back on yourself already you're very high up, and still climbing.


Some parts are very treacherous underfoot - none of the stones are fixed so you have to be very careful. Or, just close your eyes and hope.









This is me, standing on top of the map. I won't apologise for my appearance (THOSE ARE SENSIBLE SHOES, SENSIBLE SHORTS AND AN APPROPRIATE VEST) as I had just climbed a mountain.






On our drive out we spotted a little family of the elusive wild boar. They were adorable. 

Dinner was lovely, we sat outside for hours and played UNO. I hate UNO, but made it through two games before wandering off to look at the lizards running around our terrace. I even offered for them to join the game but they all ran away.

awh, my dad looks so happy even though he exploded one of the candles and burnt his hand
 x



Friday

| 2013 | 08 | 02 | nice day 2 |

I have just had a terrifying experience with my camera and nearly lost all my pictures. But thankfully a computer nerd was on hand to assure me that things are never really deleted. Or something to do with microscopes...

Right, back to today. We kicked off the day with a run around a mountain very early on in the day, which resulted in us all getting a bit hot and bothered (but well exercised). This was then followed with my dad purchasing far too many croissants and pain au chocolat - at his persistent insistence we sat and munched them down whilst watching the shadows being pushed back by unrelenting sunlight. 


After popping out to the local supermarket we rustled up the usual 'french' lunch on a fresh baguette - I unashamedly scoffed my face. This holiday will not be kind to my waist line! 


After an afternoon nap, our little gang headed out towards Les Grottes de Saint Cezairea complete mystery to all involved. After getting lost twice it was revealed we would be visiting some caves. Caves. As you would expect, I was suspicious that this was another man trip which would end up with me falling down and breaking my leg whilst onlookers laughed and pointed. Thankfully, the caves had handrails so my fears were allayed.

did you ever see a cave inside a building? nor did I until today
The guide was a babe and translated everything from french to english, just for us four. Oh the shame. 




I shall admit it, the caves were fascinating - as were all the little facts the guide threw in. Apparently it was formed 5 million years ago by a river and the rock formations have been developing ever since, to be stumbled upon by a farmer who was just trying to remove some stones from a field! 

If you're in the area you should definitely go and have a little look - for the cold temperatures if not for anything else! 




So I had another nap this evening, but dinner wasn't far behind (chicken and more chorizo with mushrooms and onion) before we sat and read an array of books whilst staring out across the valley.


I know it doesn't sound like a particularly fruitful day, but there was a lot of walking involved!

Bonne nuit! 

x