Friday, November 29, 2013

The Camargue

   The Camargue is an area in the Bouches du Rhones, south of Arles, covered with saline marshlands, ponds and bordering the sea. I have been wanting to go since arriving in France but knew it can be swelteringly hot there as well as provide a haven for bird-sized mosquitoes. The Camargue is famous for wild horses, black bulls and pink flamingos.
  We went to Saintes Maries de la Mer a few weeks ago. After our harrowing drive with the road blockage and many extra hours on the highway, we arrived in the sleepy town and our adorable motel. Needless to say, it was dark but we could still see a white horse from the patio of our room.
   The weather was not the most favorable the weekend we were there, but after a great hotel breakfast, we donned hats, gloves and parkas and hit the beach. As you know, we love the water so no matter what season, we have fun chasing waves, collecting shells and wandering over the sand. The town was pretty boarded up as the season was over, but it looked to be full of fun shops and restaurants. We found a great mussel lunch which pleased all of us-even Middle Child decided on that day that she liked mussels- a major breakthrough to expanding her limited culinary repertoire.
   The hotel owner arranged a trail ride for us in the afternoon. We were a string of about 12 riders of varying ability all on the famous white horses. Unfortunately, for Youngest Child's birthday, he got thrown off, something he was not at all happy about. At least he will remember the adventure.
   We did not see the black bulls famous in the region, but we went to an ornithological park where there were thousands of pink flamingos as well as other migratory birds that attract visitors from all over France. Trails zigzag throughout the park, making it easy to wander for hours through the salt marshes, admiring these gorgeous birds.
   We all want to visit the Camargue again in the spring. The hotel owners suggested April-before the crowds and the mosquitoes arrive. We will certainly try to fit another trip in before departure time.
Jumping for joy
Hard to imagine this parking lot overflowing with cars
St. Maries de la Mer is also a fishing village
Wishing I had a kitchen
thousands of them.. 
Our string of white horses
Aren't they great looking?
Wandering the docks

No comments: