With: Rosa (born 1963)
Date: 22 October 2016
Where: Camargue, France
Rosa flew down to the south of France to meet me for a long weekend during which we stayed on 'a (small) yacht on the Cote d'Azur' she'd found on AirBnB. A very fun and different experience!
As Rosa was keen to see the Camargue national park we drove to Salin de Giraud and took the car as close to the etangs (lagoons) as we could. Rosa was cautious about the many signs telling us not to park, but I felt confident these were aimed at the summertime crowds and indeed nobody bothered us.
We'd read in Rosa's guidebook that the mosquitoes are prolific in the Camargue even as late as November, but somehow we'd managed to forget to bring along any repellent. And they were, indeed, utterly horrendous! We did our very best to be all zen about them, but ultimately had to turn back before we'd even reached the water. Though I seemed to get bitten more and had blood splats on the backs of my knees I was remarkably, er, sanguine. Rosa on the other hand found the persistent little fuckers completely unbearable and joked 'this will probably be the shortest walk in your series', to which I replied that Rachel had already scooped that honour, for similarly entomic reasons!
Nevertheless we did get a bit of a sense of the atmosphere of the Camargue landscape, saw some pampas grasses and white horses. Later in the day we stopped the car again, this time at the exact spot I'd camped a year before, and managed to get a quick look at the water before mosquitoes drove us back to the car!
What did we talk about during our walk? Mosquitoes I think, mostly! It was impossible to be relaxed enough to chat! In the car and over lunch in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mar I think Rosa listened patiently while I talked a lot about a recent AFOG. In the afternoon we chanced upon the same bizarre festivities in Aigues-Mortes I'd experienced the year before, which seemed to consist mainly of youthful residents dressing up in entirely random costumes, getting drunk and driving - with a police escort - round the old walled town sitting on top of old bangers! All rather surreal.
Thank you Rosa for coming all the way to France to spend time with me and for our memorable, if short, walk in the famous Camargue!