I don’t think you ever realise how manacled we are to the internet until you’re away from it for a while. This is what found Clive, Martin, and I driving around a wine store in a random little French town called St Chinian trying to get the best signal from the unsecured Wi-Fi network inside. Martin had bought along his IPod which proved to be invaluable for the internet. Sometimes we’d be walking around the most beautiful city just looking for an unsecured network. Wi-Fi Rangers all the way!
Staying for three days with Uncle Gerard from Holland at his holiday house in Babeau, Southern France was so good. A perfect break during our sometimes taxing travel, especially after Morocco. There’s something therapeutic about staying amongst vineyards, meandering rivers, cute villages, and genuine rural French people. A bit of a taste of rural France before heading to the utterly pretentious Cote d’Azur.
Another travelling lesson, always ask the price of food or drinks before you order them! Avignon was a very beautiful city and we decided to order three coffees. Admittedly they were pretty gourmet coffees but then came the bill. Six euros each! Unbelievable. And the café proprietor? Algerian, pretty much the next closest thing to Moroccan. What were Clive and I thinking, we should have seen that coming! Maybe some of our Moroccan savvy is wearing off.
On that note I know why that is. Nobody hassled us whatsoever! We were safe to stop and take photos without someone magically appearing to solicit their wares. As a matter of fact, it was such hassle free travelling in that respect but you also wouldn’t get to know the local customs and people that easily.
Just north of Cote d’Azur lies Aix-en-Provence and some surrounding villages in Provence itself. What a beautiful area! Except for Aix-en-Provence city which is a nightmare for a car and trying to find a campground as was made very clear to us. But stay near the little villages and you’ll be fine.
We visited three. Fontaine de Vaucluse was amazing with a short hike up to ‘The Source’ which is a spring that feeds a river running through the town. I think we saw the tree of Gondor there. Gordes was another town built entirely from stone and perched precariously on a mountain top. Then we were on to the coast.
Cannes found us wandering the streets seeking out a Wi-Fi signal whilst trying to avoid fringe stars and their imitators. Unfortunately or fortunately we didn’t actually see any real stars although I did hear rumours of Mini-me wandering the streets.
As luck would have it the F1 was on in Monaco as well so we got to watch a bit of that. Monaco proved once again to be one of my favourite places and I can’t quite explain why. I guess it’s just because it’s so neat, orderly, and with very nice cars. The whole coast from St Tropez to Monaco was extremely luxurious and wealthy but you always felt like people were judging you. I wouldn’t feel completely comfortable unless I was driving an Aston Martin, wearing designer clothes, and sitting next to a trophy wife. Maybe next year then.