Wednesday 26 June 2019
Nido’s parked up on a basic aire, but it has all we need - some shade thanks to a large willow tree, unlimited fresh water and even a shower to allow for more than a ‘submariner’s dhoby’ in the van. The aire is in Les Salles-sur-Verdon, close to the shore of Lac de St Croix in Provence, close to the Verdon Gorge. It’s run by the owners of a small supermarket (which has been shut all the time we’ve been here) and has a pizzeria next door (also shut today!) and a hotel just above us of which, apparently, we have use of their pool. It’s mega-hot - in the high 30s today - and still in the 30s at 2000, so we’re grateful for the shade and a little bit of evening breeze; the cicadas have started up their sounds and a few butterflies (and the usual annoying house flies) are flying around us. The original plan was to head for some wild-swimming spots along the Verdon Gorge, but when I read about the long, tortuous road with hairpin bends and sheer drops of 100s of metres to get to the swimming spot, I had flashbacks to yesterday and decided to give it a miss!
The journey from our last stop was easy, on wide roads with no sheer drops today! As we dropped down we drove into the lavender fields Provence is famous for, although it’s not in full bloom - give it a couple of weeks and it’ll be amazing. We didn’t get the opportunity to pull over and take any photos, but we did stop at a roadside shop to buy some lavender products as presents for our lovely next door neighbours. The oils are very powerful and are already filling the van with a lovely scent. We’ve definitely moved into the Mediterranean area; we can tell by the honey-coloured buildings with their clay tiled roofs, dry fields and olive trees.
Looking down on the electric blue of Lac de St Croix as we drove down, we pulled into a large car park and headed for the beach. The water was clear and deliciously cool, soothing some of the insect bites we’ve suffered over the past few hot nights. I popped back to the van to make some lunch enjoyed sat on our beach chairs, with some fruit and more water. We spent a couple of hours swimming and sunbathing. I checked out one of the companies hiring kayaks to paddle into the Verdon Gorge and we’ll be there at 0900 tomorrow to hire one and enjoy the cooler part of the day on the water, when most people are still having breakfast.
There was a sign for an aire opposite the parking area, run by the adjacent municipal campsite - Le Galletas. We drove up to get in but were told it’s still closed - in the 3rd week of June! We tried the campsite but a combination of a rude receptionist and hot, sloping pitches put us off, so it was back to the original plan for this aire at Les Salles-sur-Verdon. There were three large vans here already and I was surprised that nobody had bagged the shady spot in the corner - that’s now ours! Supper was eaten outside in the hot air - I think it’ll be a difficult sleep tonight unless it cools down in the early hours. Still - it beats working!