2018 Day 100 – An exercise in frustration

Day 100. It really should have been a milestone for celebration, but instead it serves as a lesson in abject frustration.

Fresh from our decision for a preference to not fall off a mountain roads driving to hilltop Les Plus Beaux Villages in poor conditions, we instead aim for Arles.

Our reasoning being that three years ago we enjoyed a fabulous couple of days there, albeit in scorching heat. Given the cool, and forecast rain, our reasoning is that we can wander in peace, find a nice place for lunch and chill out for the day. Good plan, right?

Arriving in recommended parking across the river gives us pause.

Permanent residents have set up and it looks an unsafe place to leave the motorhome. A closer review of recent comments on the site note a spate of break-ins, so that’s out. I am somewhat paranoid about losing passports and electronics, not to mention the pain and delay of repairs, not being able to lock the vehicle, etc.

No problem, we’ll go to where we parked last time, across the river, a five minute walk from town. Meanwhile, light rain starts, adding to the bitter cold and wind outside. Smart people would have seen trouble brewing there, but we persist.

A convoluted path later, we’re at the other location, only to find it full of closed carnival rides, endless trucks and support vehicles associated with them. Where they’re not, are buses. Lesson still not learnt, we drive though Arles, to find it jam packed in every carpark. So much so, that people have taken to parking anywhere, apparently with little consequence. Later, I read that there are a series of festivals on at present. That explains the overflowing parking at least.

Reluctantly we leave without a forward destination, now rather hungry, in need of lunch. Despite being in the land of baguettes, there’s no bread in the “house”. Google saves the day with a nearby restaurant recommendation.

Lunch goes a way to restoring good humour – we both have the plat du jour, a bavette steak with a shallot and red wine sauce,

with a cafe gourmand to follow, sleep be damned. Rather love the concept of this offering – an espresso and mini versions of dessert, these two being a homemade vanilla ice cream and mont blanc – chestnut puree topped with cream. Yum.

Thus fortified, we decided to tackle a low altitude Les Plus Beaux Village in the afternoon, but the weather has other plans.

Light rain turns to a downpour

then rapidly develops into a storm complete with lightening, thunder and hail.

Not ideal driving conditions.

I pull the pin citing safety and we settle in the village of Fontvieille, where neither of us is our best self, trapped indoors without escape. Just at that point in time, I’m not loving it and would cheerfully go home, where, if the weather is bad, there are endless ways of passing the day. If there’s a month more of endless rain and being trapped inside I might just go insane.

One by one, other motorhomes follow suit coming in out of the dreadful conditions. The aire slowly floods around us.

A little rain is fine, it’s umbrellas up and off we go, but these storms that open the heavens put paid to any and all activities are endlessly frustrating. Large as the motorhome is, it’s no place to be trapped day after day. Very frustrated, and thanks to my espresso, there’s no sleep. I guess I only have myself to blame for that.

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