Our original plans for our summer vacation included an island in Greece. Then the Greek economy tanked and we had to do a quick change because spending a week on an island with banks closed, ATMs rationing cash and the possibility that our credit cards wouldn’t work might not make for a very relaxing week. So, we adjusted our thinking and chose to spend ten days in the south of France. Not a bad plan, right? Bonus… we’ve already been there so we knew we would love every second of it.
So we packed up the new roof box, squeezed too many clothes into suitcases and headed out with a slightly more relaxed plan than usual, allowing ourselves three days to travel to our rental home so we could actually stop and see things along the way. First stop, Annecy.
Ben had already been to Annecy, as is the case with so many of our vacation destinations, so he could lead the way to the places we should see. My favorite part was our quick stroll by the lake on our way to dinner. The lake in Annecy has the clearest water I have ever seen not coming out of a tap. Even the rain clouds forming overhead couldn’t change how beautiful the water was.
Martins can’t spend a long period of time in the car without winding up in the mountains. Those Alps just seem to be between us and anyplace else we want to be so why not take advantage of climbing them a bit without having to pull on pounds worth of snow gear? Finding a geocache on top was our goal so up we climbed to the music of cowbells. Halfway up, our path was blocked by cows and then we discovered that the cache was missing, but, man, those views! After our hike, we cajoled our car into climbing the highest mountain in France, not without some complaining, but it did surprisingly well for a Hyundai with over 100,000 miles on it.
Our nightly stop was in Briançon, the highest city in Europe. The lower city itself was, you know, meh, but the old town on top of the hill was beautiful and the perfect setting for dinner and a view of the sunset over the Alps.
A few more hours in the car landing us in Arles and our first real taste of the heat of the south. Our hotel was situated next door to the Roman amphitheater (built in the year 90. Ninety!) so, an hour after arriving in the city we found ourselves seated there, watching a Provençal-style bullfight. Not really bullfights, they are called courses camarguaises, where the goal is to pull a thread off the bull’s horns. Not really my cup of tea but the boys seemed to enjoy themselves. Arles is a beautiful city.
The following morning, we arrived! Beach! I could absolutely live in the south of France.