August. The long-awaited holidays.
Finally, we leave!
This year our journey will be a surprise
with a bit of adventure: day after day we will discover where and when.
And how? That yes, we chose it: with a Maggiolina.
For those who do not know it, Maggiolina is not an insect
nor the name of a doll (as the title could remind to an Italian guy):
instead, it is a curtain that opens in a concise time
on the roof of the car by turning a crank.
A refuge of your own, available at any time and place,
a corner to relax after a long journey
or shelter from a storm,
but overall a way that allows you to stay
in areas you want, without booking a hotel or b&b.
In practice this summer, a bit like snails
that bring the house everywhere, we have also experienced the experience
to bring a little piece of home with us.
It's nice to be aware that many things are not needed
to be happy and to enjoy a holiday in peace and without worries.
Wanting to reconcile the passion for mountain activities
with aquatic ones, but above all, wanting to escape
from the African heat and the Augustan crowd,
we decided to explore the Gorges du Verdon
(Gorges of the Verdon), in the South of France.
Not far from the catwalks of Cannes and St. Tropez,
this corner of paradise, wild and not very urbanized,
it develops along the Verdon river,
a refreshing stream of rushing water
among the highest canyons in Europe (up to 700 meters high!)
and is a
canyoning, climbing, and kayaking.
Our tour starts from the top of the Gorges,
where there is an artificial lake called Castillon.
and the desire for a dive is immediate. Freshwater is regenerating
and the landscape, so green and uncontaminated,
It is good for the eyes and the soul.
In a place so wild and little frequented
care must be taken to always carry the necessities with them.
Since there are not many facilities, except for the campsites that are lots,
we must be well organized.
For example, we did the shopping at the supermarket in St. André Les Alpes,
a small mountain town that takes you back to old France:
all the inhabitants who greet you when they meet you and meet each other every night,
young and old, for a game in Pétanque
(the game of bowls to be precise) in the gardens of the village,
under the most beautiful starry sky, I've ever seen.
A bit 'more tourist and "alive," for sports activities,
instead, it is Castellane, a town where the little church of Notre Dame du Roc watches:
to reach it you can do a short half-hour trek,
with great steps, but the effort is repaid
from the lookout that opens in front of you as soon as you arrive.
Even motorcycle enthusiasts can have
many satisfactions from the Gorges du Verdon,
in particular by following the Route des Cretes,
a 23 km panoramic road with many observation points,
great especially for taking pictures and watching,
more strictly, the flight of eagles that have found their habitat here.
Going further south, always following the river,
we arrive at the Sainte Croix lake.
Also, in this case, it is an artificial basin,
calm and suitable for water activities:
canoe, pedal boat, sailboat and SUP (which is now a bit 'everywhere).
The country closest to the lake we have chosen as a base
for our excursions is Moustiers Sainte Marie,
famous all over the world for its ceramics
and considered one of the most beautiful villages in France.
From its narrow and characteristic lanes, there are many ideal paths
for longer or shorter walks.
We too, like so many, walking shoes,
we ventured along the path
which after 262 steps reaches the chapel of Notre Dame
and then it continues, higher and higher, along with the crest of the mountain,
up to the fork (through the launch area dedicated to paragliders)
and then go back down with a gentle circular route to the town of Moustiers.
The last stop of our "Tour de France."
leave the mountains behind and go down to the sea.
Cassis twinned not by chance with Portofino,
it is a jewel that is at the beginning of the Calanques:
nine white rock cliffs, overlooking the sea,
all to "conquer" through more or less long paths
or by sea, paddling on a canoe.
Thanks to Maggiolina we managed to have a holiday in beautiful places,
pristine and sometimes exclusive that otherwise, we would not be able to visit.
Surely it is an experience to be repeated!
Alice e Francesco