'Imagination will take you everywhere'
Following the action-packed camping frenzy of week 1, the second week of our French extravaganza was considerably subdued. The reason? Fortunately we had the luxury of staying in a villa; no more getting up at the crack of dawn and having to endure the questionable hygiene levels of various sanitary blocks. Instead the week was spent recharging our batteries; eating, reading, swimming, sunbathing and exploring the surrounding area.
Nestled amongst the undulating hills of the Gers region in Gascony, the villa (called Le Lavay) had the most spectacular view. A carpet of sunflowers rolled down from our garden into the distance; their golden heads pointed to the sun, drinking up the rays like a bee sucks nectar. A grand châteaux loomed on the horizon, which was illuminated at night – a small glare in a mist of sparkling stars. During the day, we watched the sun make its way from the east to the west – all the while adjusting our sun-loungers to best accommodate the sun’s rays. Above us, Kites swooped and soared – their piercing call mingled with the buzzing of bees to form the ambient music of our holiday. Being so close to nature made me feel refreshed and revitalised. The definition of peacefulness.
On more adventurous days we’d mooch about the local towns, where we’d always find a market in full swing. Fat, juicy vegetables in a kaleidoscope of colours tempted us from the stalls – fresh from the fields that day. Being a vegetable fanatic, I was in pure heaven. There were also handmade crafts for sale, like jewellery and beautifully woven baskets. I picked up a sweet-smelling bar of soap from one market – it smells of the lavender fields in Provence. After that we’d stumble over the cobble stones and weave through the maze of streets, climbing steps to reach the church at the top of the hill and look out over the countryside below.
South west France is such a picturesque place – no postcard will do it justice, you have to see for yourself.