Today turned out to be a bit of a “couldn’t be bothered” day. It’s not that we did nothing, it’s just that the things we did didn’t add up to much.
I started (again) with a solo trip to the only boulangerie in the village while everyone else was asleep, or at least in bed. We had a bit of an in-and-out breakfast, with various members of the family coming and going at seemingly random intervals, but eventually we’d all done with it and had progressed into the “getting ready” phase.
The girls wanted a bit of beach action, especially after we’d totally failed to dip our toes in the Mediterranean on Saturday, and whilst kayaking on the previous day we’d passed a man-made beach right underneath the Pont d’Arc. It was the best we were going to get.
The beach in question was serviced by a car park that was, how can I put it, designed for parking rather than driving. Since I swapped the motor I’ve been somewhat more cautious when parking. I’ve been used to sitting high up, having high ground clearance, and having tyres that would quite literally make the Michelin Man look like he needed to go on a crash diet of bacon sandwiches. All of this meant I was quite relaxed about where I was prepared to try to drive that car. It would go over the top of most things. Not so with the new one. Having driven it several thousand miles over the course of the summer I am now thoroughly convinced it’s worth every penny when it comes to cruising, but when it comes to parking in non-urban locations it’s not really at home. It’s lower down, the ground clearance isn’t great, the tyres are like strips of liquorice and the front of the bonnet is in a different time zone to the driver’s seat. All in all, I have rediscovered my liking for long and wide parking spaces on tarmac. The place down by the Pont d’Arc wasn’t like that. From the driver’s seat it looked bumpy and the drop off the tarmac of the road onto the gravel of the car park looked like I’d be hearing the horrible sound of metal on stone. In the event, we got in and out without incident, but this was one of several occasions on the holiday where I wished we’d flown somewhere and rented a car.
Once we’d parked up, Kas took the girls down to the beach while I wandered off for the daily geocache. Well, two, to be honest. It might have been four, but one was evidently not there and for another I went to the lengths of scaling a dodgy path halfway up a cliff into a cave, only to find that I couldn’t find the cache. D’oh!
Down on the beach the girls were chillin’, so I decided to join them for a while. They went swimming, which is something I do my best to avoid, so I played the old “look after the bags” card as a way of craftily avoiding the need to get wet. Anyway, I wasn’t wearing my cozzy.
Back at the car I asked if we could walk around to do a few more geocaches on the condition that we stopped at the cafe we’d have to pass and grab an ice cream. There was a look of displeasure on the kids’ faces until we mentioned the ice cream. I correct myself. There was a look of displeasure on the kids’ faces until we’d actually bought the ice creams. It had been a while since they’d eaten or drunk anything, I guess. The cafe in question was a roadside one close to the arch and next to the entrance to the “other” car park. The other car park wasn’t surfaced any better than the one we were in, and it also included the opportunity to part with some money. Anyway, the caches on this phase were all present and correct apart from the last one, which was another job that involved clambering up a cliff towards a cave. It wasn’t obvious from the hint where the cache should be, so after 5 minutes or so I wrote it off and moved on.
For the evening we went out again into Vallon Pont d’Arc. It was busy. It was market day, and Sunday’s moderate collection of souvenir stalls had been replaced by a full-on tat-fest. Some of the normal shops put stalls outside during the evening, and those ones were generally OK, but they were interspersed with vendors of utter cack. Apparently there’s a market (ha ha) for that kind of thing, so it was busy.
We tried one of the restaurants we’d looked at on Sunday night, but after getting say down we eventually got bored of waiting to receive menus and for someone to clear and clean the table we’d been given. It got so bad that we got up and left without ordering anything. We weren’t impatient. I think the 15 minutes we waited was a reasonable amount of time in which to deliver menus. Anyway, bum to that.
So we walked about 40 yards down the road and went into another place we’d looked at on Sunday. They didn’t have seats outside, which meant going inside to what was a pretty basic looking cafe, however the menu had some things that weren’t pizza and they provided us with menus pretty much as soon as we sat down. By this time it was getting quite late, so we weren’t in the mood for another long wait.
The food proved to be pretty good – I had some grilled prawns and Kas had a salad while the girls had pasta, or pizza, or burgers. I can’t really remember, but if I risk those three I’ve got a 95% chance of being right.
While we were in the restaurant we bounced a few ideas about what to do tomorrow, and the consensus was to go for a look at Avignon because, well, why not.
Kas drove home and by the time we got there, it was well past snooze o’clock.