Camel Valley

The tour and tasting at the Camel Valley Vineyard is to be highly recommended.  Professionally performed with a masterful blend of education and humour, you learn about the process of making wine, view the facilities and most importantly, get to taste the end product.

Bob and Annie Lindo planted the first vines in 1989 and it is still very much a family run business; Annie made the delicious bread sticks that were provided at the tasting and son Sam, led the tour.

Part of the success of their wine comes from selecting the most suitable grapes for the changeable Cornish climate.  Picking is about to start, so fingers crossed for a bumper harvest and I look forward very much to sampling the results!!

British Firework Championships 2017 Day 1

I thought this was a great viewing location for the fireworks, for a change from QAB, as it gave a sense of perspective looking out across the Sound, however other party factions were not so impressed.  Unfortunately I forgot the crucial small square metal bit, that attached my camera to the tripod, so I was only able to take pictures at the very beginning, before things got too blurry!

Usually with a SW wind, the coast path would simply get all the smoke.  Here’s hoping the wind keeps from the NNW and that I can revisit this evening to get some sharper images.

Wembury Wander

Heading west along the coast path from Wembury, we started with an ice cream and ended with a nice cuppa.  The amazing weather brought out plenty of other walkers and wildlife.

Wembury Church

The well beaten ‘path’ between Plymouth and the Yealm river was evident, on such a sunny day with fair winds.

Towards the Yealm

You can’t see me

Cows

Beach

Grazing

Clear water

Bovisand Dive

Last weekend saw a visit to Fort Bovisand and a familiarisation dive in the harbour, following an eight year gap.  I was top side support.

Carcassonne

Our last afternoon and following morning were spent in Carcassonne, exploring La Cite.  This medieval fortress gradually fell into disrepair until the mid 1800’s when it was largely restored by  architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

Porte nabonnaise

Legions of biscuits, closely monitored by the saleswomen, so that any gaps are filled with military precision.

Confectionery

Chateau Comtal entrance

Port d’Aude

La Cite

Marked as a World Heritage site, the city is surrounded by vineyards, and wine and tourism are key industries.

Le Bars a Vins

A truly scrumptious meal was had here; huge salads, frites and pastis.  We just about managed to get home without getting soaked as the sweltering, muggy weather finally broke.

Precarious perch

Carcassonne sunset

Slightly cooler and dull the next morning, we timed the showers to perfection and really did just manage to miss getting sodden.

Carcassonne morning

Port d’Aude

From Pont Vieux

Courtyard Chateau Comtal

Toward the Basilique

This looks suspiciously Celtic to me…

Those Celts get everywhere!

Arles

Arles bustles with a massive market each Saturday morning, selling anything and everything; from locally produced fruit and vegetables, to lavender, cheese, meat, olives, pastries and sweets, to colourful baskets, clothing and cloth, housewares, trinkets and much more….

Market from the cafe

Fromage!

Dried fruits

Pastries

Olives

Lions in the Place de la Republique

Arles has many designated Unesco World Heritage sites; the arena or amphitheatre and the Gallo-Roman theatre being two.

Arles arena inner

Arles arena pens

Arles arena

Rhone view from the tower

View from the tower

Arena outside

Arles theatre

We stayed in Mas Thibert for two nights, visiting Arles the second day and exploring the east side of the Camargue late afternoon and the following morning.  We crossed the Rhone each time, using the Bac de Barcarin (kind of Spanish France meets Torpoint ferry) and finally drove out through Villeneuve and St Gille, to the toll roads, then headed south.  I didn’t realise how close we were to Spain and in earlier times the boundaries were even further north, just outside Carcassonne, accounting for the massive Spanish influence of the region.

 

La Camargue

Our stay in the Camargue was at beautiful Gîtes du Mas du Moulin in Mas Thibert, with the very hospitable Carole and Patrice, and their menagerie of goats, chickens, sheep, horses, dogs and of course donkeys.  Manon et Antoine produced Charlie a month ago and he is the apple of his (human) parents’ eyes!

Carole explained that true Provencal donkeys have the cross of St Andrew on their backs… along with heaps of very soft baby donkey hair.  If only there had been room in the car for him!

Charlie

Manon et Charlie

Showing his best side?

Another baby

The Gite

For details of the gite, take a look at their page Gîte du Mas du Moulin

There is plenty to see in the water and wetlands of the Rhône Delta, or Camargue; from the pink lakes of the salt pans and their pink inhabitants, to the Spanish bulls and horses (of which the wild ones remained elusive).

Salt

The ‘Mistral’ wind was a constant during our stay and was welcome for its cooling properties and for keeping mosquitoes at bay – sort of. Mas du Moulin was originally a wind generated mill and built to both harness and protect.  With such consistent wind it’s very popular with kite and windsurfers and a special canal has been built in which surfers set world speed records.

Flamingoes

Etang du Faisangier

Pink pair

Villeneuve bulls

Sunflowers and vines bask in the heat and light.  Van Gogh stayed in Arles in 1888 and painted sunflowers in the area.  Perhaps less well known is that the Camargue also produces around 5% of Europe’s rice.

Sunflowers

A mass of sunflowers

Provence has plentiful vineyards, producing mainly rosé and red wine.

Mmmmm, grapes

La Belle Provence

If you’ve never watched the film ‘A Good Year’, do!  For me it’s a favourite; a gentle, feel-good movie with wonderful scenery, that I can watch again and again.  Apparently it is mostly filmed within a ten minute radius of Ridley Scott’s home and we passed Château La Canorgue, or ‘Château la Siroque’ on our way out of Bonnieux.

Our visit was on the back of the 29 degree heat wave in the UK and we were very relieved to have a car with air-con, when it informed us the temperature outside  in Loumarin was 44 degrees!

From Marseille we drove north along the lavender route via Pertuis,  Loumarin, Bonnieux, Roussillon and stayed in Sault overnight.  Sault is a popular cycling destination with winding gorge roads leading in and out and you can see across the valley floor of vineyards and lavender fields to Mont Ventoux.

From there we travelled west to Senanque Abbey, Gordes and Carpentras market.  Then a leisurely afternoon was spent at Pont du Gard, luxuriating in the shade and watching others enjoying themselves in the river Gardon, before heading to overnight in Mas Thibert.  The whole Roman aqueduct was built to carry water 50km from the spring in Uzes to Nimes and descends only 12.6m its entire length, with the aqueduct bridge only descending 2.5 cm from end to end.

Art and Photography