The day started off (for me) rather slowly, as a result of having had too many beers too quickly the night before.
Kas went out to Intermarche in Vallon Pont d’Arc to get some provisions and came back wishing she’d taken someone with her. Not because of the shopping, but because the car park has a barrier to stop people parking in there without buying anything from the shop. The barrier was designed for someone with a left-hand drive car, and our cars aren’t.
By the time she came back she needed a break. I would say we had breakfast as a family, but we didn’t. Various members of the collective drifted in and out without there ever being four of us. It was a pleasant environment though – the apartment was on the first floor and had an outdoor terrace with a table big enough for us to sit and eat, and it had a big sunshade. The apartment block was rigged up so that all the apartments looked out to the back, and hence looked out over their gardens and the pool area. The weather was warm again.
After breakfast there was a general lack of enthusiasm followed by a wave of apathy, so eventually we decided that the girls were going to laze around by the pool, which meant I could go and do the handful of geocaches in the village. There were supposedly five, spread over the whole village, which meant I’d probably need an hour or more to do them.
The first one involved a walk right around the edge of the village heading East – a short walk along a country lane. At the end of the village I turned back in and found the first cache before walking into the oldest part of the village. I’m not sure whether the village is traditional, you would assume that it is, but the overall effect was really rather lovely. It’s composed of narrow streets with buildings made from limestone blocks which come right up to the edge of the street. Some have been “done up” to look quite clean but most were what you might describe as shabby chic.
The second cache was an easy find at the church and then the third proved a little more tricky. Salavas hosts an open-air market on a Sunday morning, and the next cache was right in the middle of it, next to a cheese stall. It took me a little while to interpret the hint, and once I had, I then had to haver around and wait a while until the stallholder went off to talk to someone. I was then able to make a quick smash-and-grab raid for the cache.
The next one was up next to some Roman ruins on the other side of town from our apartment. Another easy find. This was followed by a pleasant stroll along a narrow lane halfway up the side of the hill, which had some nice views back over the valley and the village. The final cache was supposedly next to a well. This one took me ages as I didn’t explore the meaning of the hint in enough depth. Two French lads walked by and asked me if I knew how to get back into the village, so I showed them my map (on the GPS) in exchange for them confirming my interpretation of the hint. I was about to give in but had one more look, whereupon I spotted the cache hanging in a place I’d been into at least four times already. D’oh!
When I got back to the apartment there was still a general lack of enthusiasm. I suggested we go for a little walk over to the market to see if we could buy anything interesting for lunch, but by the time we got there the market was just finishing packing up, so we went back home again. There was still a general lack of enthusiasm, so I took the bull by the horns and made the required drive down to Barjac, about 10 km away, to complete a cache in the Department of Gard. We’d driven straight through here on the previous evening when we were a bit tight for time. Barjac is bigger than Salavas by some way, and seems very typically middle-French. I parked in a grassy field reserved for tourists (on busy days), and walked up through the village to a terrace next to the town hall. There was a very easy find there. Once I’d completed Gard the caching map of France was starting to look nearly like a complete loop.
On the way home from Barjac I tried to stop for a couple more caches. One was successful, but the other, in Vagnas, was not so. It was supposedly a micro somewhere in an ivy-covered stone wall. I think it was probably a fake snail. I probably spend 30 minutes before giving in.
Back at the apartment, there was still a general lack of enthusiasm.
We planned to go out into Vallon Pont d’Arc for the evening, parking in the same place that we had done the previous night. When we got into town and noticed it was full of market stalls the kids’ enthusiasm increased a little bit. We wandered around for a while looking for a restaurant that everyone was happy with, and we settled for a nice table inside one which did some very nice burgers.
On the way back to the car the girls indulged in a bit of souvenir hunting, and that was about it for the day.