Saturday, 19 November 2016

Saturday 19 November - The Camargue

Where’s Colin? He's at a car park just beyond the end of the tarmac road to the NW of Salin-de-Giraud. Post-sunset change of plan: It's forecast to rain overnight and not knowing what that would do to the dirt track we tootled back north by 15km to a large layby on the east side of Etang De Vaccarès.

Like untold numbers of people the world over, our Saturday started at 9am with a 5km run. The unusual element this morning for us was the presence of pink flamingoes. Lots of them.

I'd decided that my venue of choice for this morning’s exercise was the east side of Etang (Lake) de Vaccarès, along the very road that we had driven on our return to Arles last night. A good choice, even in hindsight, as not only was it dead flat, but the surroundings were pretty special too - particularly the large flock of flamingoes:

Showered and second breakfasted, it was decision time again, the result of which was to stay on the east side of the Camarge, rather than venturing around to Sainsbury-on-Sea (which is really called Sainte-Maries-de-la-Mer, but our TomTom SatNav, which has dubious pronunciations for places even in the UK, makes this one sound like Sainsbury de la Mer, hence the name that we have adopted). The west side of Etang de Vaccarès is apparently much more developed than this side, which includes the inconvenient fact that the only place you can park a motorhome at Sainsbury-on-Sea is in one of the designated Aires, at a price of €12. This side is not only more natural, but also has free parking right in the midst of the marshes.

Having relocated ourselves accordingly, all of 15km down the road, our post-lunch activity was a walk around the marshes, which I hoped was doable as a circuit. It turned out not to be so, thus having reached the final car park along the rutted dirt road, we simply made an about turn, being too lazy to continue another kilometre to reach the lighthouse we could clearly see ahead of us.

The golds of the reeds and the reds of the heathery-looking plants on the marsh, really set the surroundings off nicely, further helped along by the blue sky and plenty of bird life. A very pleasant place (and day) to be out.

Our stroll had taken us 5.5 miles with no feet of ascent (8.5 miles covered on foot today and my Fitbit has recorded 1 floor of ascent, which translates to 10 feet).

After initially abandoning Colin at the end of the tarmac road, our stroll had informed us there was a nicer parking area a little way along the dirt road and, if taken slowly, it wouldn't be a rougher ride than some of the local tarmac roads. Thus we relocated slightly and have spent a nice lazy afternoon since variously people watching or with heads in books.

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