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My Two Hour Vacation

Most days at the office, I don’t leave for lunch. I get into doing my work and I usually just end up eating my lunch at my desk and just keep working through lunch time. Sometimes I’ve even forgotten to eat lunch! Very American, right?? There have been only a few occasions where I’ve said, “This bites and I’m going to enjoy my lunch time”, but those have been few and far between occasions.

Well, the other day, Dude and I decided to cash in on my lunch savings and we headed for the local boulangerie. Like most boulangeries these days, they have something called a Menu Formule where you can have a sandwich or salad, along with a drink and dessert for around 7€50. That, folks, is a steal.

Dude opted for a salad, ice tea and a tarte framboise while I got the poulet cesear sandwich (which is oh so delicious with the dressing and feta cheese), a bottle of water and a tarte fraise with Chantilly on top. Grand total was 15€. Money well spent, I would say.

Then we headed off towards the beach in La Ciotat which happens to be about 5 whole minutes from my work. Luckily, the tourist season has not quite started yet and we were able to find some free parking close by. We only had to walk a short distance and we found a nice bench under some trees to shade us from the sun. Viola, a two hour “vacation” with a spectacular view.

It’s times like these while I’m quietly enjoying my lunch and looking out onto the Mediterranean that I ask myself why I don’t do this more often. I don’t think I’ve quite transitioned, yet, to the mind frame of taking a proper lunch to rejuvenate myself.

I was never able to do that since in The States you’re lucky if you get a whole hour for lunch (I have friends who only get 30 minutes!) and that doesn’t leave much time to enjoy your lunch when that one hour includes drive time to get to a restaurant! One always feels like their rushing and can’t really enjoy lunch let alone digest it.

I do vow to take more two hour vacations this summer. With this sort of view, how can I not?!

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Visions of Sunsets and Boats on the Mediterranean Sea

Sunset in Cassis

Sunset at Les Lecques near Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer

La Cadiere sur Mer

Another view of the sunset at Les Lecques near Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer

Ile du Petit Gaou near Six-Fours-les-Plages

Ile de Porquerolles – Le Jardin Emmanuel Lopez and La Plage

Taking our leave of the Gorge du Loup, we headed back towards the village. I was interested in seeing le Jardin Emmanuel Lopez. Entry is free and the gardens are open every day from 9:30am-12:30pm and then from 14:00pm-18:00pm.

The garden is enclosed and contains lovely trees and flowers. There are many benches along the trail on which to sit and have a rest. It would be a wonderful place to bring a book to read. While we were visiting, there was only a few other people so, like the gorge, we pretty much had the garden all to ourselves.

I pointed out the things I would love to have in my garden at home, like this beautiful iron trellis. I had visions of blooming Wisteria and grape vines overflowing at my house. Oh, how the mind starts dreaming of all the lovely things to have in a garden when you’re visiting someone else’s  garden!

I really wished the sun would have made another appearance so that I could have captured some of the colors of the flowers. I had no luck in that department. As a matter of fact, the overcast had gotten a bit thicker.

As we made our way around the trails of the garden, I noticed all the beautiful houses that bordered it on all sides. How nice for the owners to have this place as their backyard.

After visiting the garden, it was time to head for the beach. This would be our last stop of the day on the island before catching the ferry back to the mainland.

By the time we arrive, the clouds had really rolled in so the color of the water, though still a beautiful blue, was not as captivating as it had been earlier that day. There were a few boats anchored in the harbor and the beach was scarce of people. Nearly everyone was gone so once again we were able to have part of the island all to ourselves.

The island has a real, sandy beach that stretched for miles. I say ‘real’ since I don’t consider rocky beaches to be a ‘real beach’. I’m not a fan of rocky beaches. I want to feel the soft, warm sand between my toes as I stroll along. I don’t want to be in pain and watching my every step as I hobble along next to the water!

I made a mental note to come back next time just to stroll along this beach and to see where it would take me. As far as I could see, it rounded a bend. Hmm, what was on the other side? Another adventure I presumed and something to look forward to.

The water was calm, but surprisingly cold for this time of year. They day had been warm so I assumed the water would have been warmer than what it was.

There was one enormous yacht anchored not far from where we were.

We decided to have some fun with picture taking.

Believe it or not, this is harder than it looks and I didn’t get the photo exactly perfect like I had wanted, but it turned out okay. I was my first attempt at trying something I had seen others do with the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, etc. I must try and perfect this technique as it is fun to do and when done right, the pictures end up coming out terrifically.

It was finally time to head back to the ferry. On our way, we spotted a restaurant whose many, different, colored tables lined the edge of the water. Now that would be a nice place to have lunch!

My list of things to do on my next visit was growing ever larger. I had now planned to do a biking tour, visit the other forts on the island, take a stroll along the beach to see what was around the bend and dine at a restaurant near the water’s edge.

Yup, I’d say all of those were the best reasons to come back for a visit.

If you’ve been to the Ile de Porquerolles, I’d love to hear what you found interesting to do. There is always room on my list to add a few more things 🙂

 

Lovely Le Lavandou

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to go out and take a nice stroll along the beach. The weather here has been so perfect and I just didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go to one of my favorite beaches. I have already written about Le Lavandou in another post (click here), but I thought I would show a couple of pictures of our walk along the beach today.

I had taken our badminton rackets and birdies in hopes that it would not be too breezy to play a game on the beach. Unfortunately, it was too windy so we happily strolled along the boardwalk instead. I love this beach because it is one of the few beaches near me that is actually large and sandy, not rocky. This time of year is great to go and visit for a day out since the weather is usually nice and the tourists haven’t flocked here for vacation, yet.

Just look how we had the whole beach and walkway practically all to ourselves. The water almost looks like a giant lake and was so calm and inviting.

Beach Day Mistake

Today we set out to the beach and port at Cassis. This was a big mistake. Hitting the beach on the first holiday weekend of “les grands vacances” was not really well thought out. There were people everywhere. This is a tiny little seaside town that, apparently, attracts all tourists and locals alike. Originally we went to check out a local shop that sells a certain brand of shoe that Tinki has been wanting for some time now and has not been able to find them. She spotted them the night we went to Cassis to check out the fireworks and today, wanted to go back and check them out before we took a look at the beach and walked along the port.

Little did we know that the crowds had gathered throughout the day.  It is really hot here during the day so we have been venturing out later in the afternoon. Today it was 3pm and, I guess, that was plenty of time for everyone else to make it before us.

First off, there was no parking available. This was clue #1 that we were in trouble. Then when we hit the village and the streets were packed with pizza and ice cream eating tourists. Okay, clue #2.

Tinki ended up finding the store and spotted the shoes she was interested in, only to find out that they didn’t even have her size! Tant pis pour elle (remember the word of the day).

So off we went to check out the beach and this is what we saw.

There were so many people that it was quite sickening! They were EVERYWHERE! Like ants drawn to a piece of fruit, they covered the beach! I didn’t know the beach could support that many people. Given the case, we walked along the port and over to the lighthouse for some relief from the crowd and shade from the heat. Across from the lighthouse, there is a cliff in which an area juts outs and makes a small flat surface. To my surprise, that was covered with people, too! They simply find any spot they can and plunk themselves down regardless if there is space or not. They really don’t have a sense of personal space here! I was claustrophobic just looking at them and not even in the midst of all of it!

Well, our trip was short lived. The walk was nice, but with the clouds coming in and the humidity increasing, not to mention more people arriving to eat at the restaurants, we decided to take our leave for the long walk back to the car.

I have learned my lesson. No beach during tourist season unless I get there around 8pm. Then everyone should be gone and I can have it all to myself. Heck, it’s still warm out at that hour and I got nothing on the weekend nights to rush home to. I’ll let you know how my plan pans out.

 

 

La Cavalaire-sur-Mer and La Cavalaire Beach

Wow-No, No Gramps

I think that Grandma wasn’t around when grandpa left the house to go to the beach on this day. YOWZA!

 

 

Sanary sur Mer

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