Summer at altitude

 

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Summer arrived overnight. Literally, overnight. One day it’s snowing, the next it’s 30 degrees and I’m melting,

“You should be used to it.” My fellow English work mates tell me… “Yeah but not overnight!” 

But I’m not complaining… It’s been a long winter… Dan and I seem to have followed winter round the world, with a brief taste of summer in Turkey, only to be chucked right back into the thick of winter on arrival in France. And it’s glorious. 

The hills surrounding us are covered in broom, a bright yellow flower which resembles a gorse plant, it’s highly poisonous for other plants but very spectacular. On my runs round the track, taking me halfway up mount Lozere and back, the scent from the broom is so strong it’s like breathing in air freshener. Butterflies swarming, the sun beating down, bees humming… all the delightful sights and sounds of summer. 

In celebration of summer arriving, on an afternoon free, Dan, Karolina and Pete – the chefs, and Sam, our newest team member from Sydney, decide to venture to the closest beach. Upon recommendations we head to Le Grau-du-Roi, a popular resort beach.

I did wonder why there was laughter at me packing the boogie boards… But on arrival I realised that beaches on the Mediterranean don’t actually have waves…. It’s more like a knee high salt water lake. Filled with a shimmering layer of sunblock… tasty.

The beach front is lined with very ugly apartment buildings, ice cream shops-where I got a delicious KINDER ice cream!!! Swimming tog shops, and cafés. The streets behind the beachfront are filled with bars, restaurants, take away food stores and nick-nack shops (stuff you don’t actually want but convinced you need… Like a French flag t shirt.)

For all its distastefulness, I did enjoy the holiday vibe- only a three hour drive away. The swarms of holidaying french families provided an added feeling of being far…far away from home too. Reminding me that YES we are in France, even though we are surrounded by English the majority of the time. 

By the end of the afternoon, we were well and truly all sunned-out and headed to a bar for the cheapest drink on offer-as this is a holiday destination the prices are sky high… So we managed to get a jug of sangria for €12.00. SCORE.

For the following two weeks, summer continued as planned… my plan.

It was beautifully hot, generating lots of happy people, me included. (Those English don’t know what they’re missing… OR maybe they do, and enjoy knowing..and complaining)

As we are situated a 10 minute drive from Pont de Montvert, on the next best day we decided to test our luck at the swimming holes in the river running through Pont.

This decision and discovery finalised our daily activities for the rest of the year- Who would’ve thought, we had a wee paradise just down the road.. who needs the beach when they can have waterfalls, crystal clear water, no people, hot rocks to sunbathe on! 

The following week was spent frantically finishing our morning activities in order to get down to the river ASAP. Once there, we’d spend our time having jumping competitions, clambering down the rock faces, swimming in pool after pool until we found ourselves in the centre of the town… and walking back up the road to jump in again. Pure heaven.

AND THEN… winter decided to come back. It tricked us all. The rain pounded. The lightening jabbed at anything and everything it could reach… the power cut out… the thunder roared. And we sat there reminiscing of that summer, that showed its face, only to be shoo’d away again.

Thats weather at altitude for ya. 

The black dog picture, is Roxy, the laziest flat coated retriever in the world, who is hard not to love… 

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