We survived our first camping adventure! I must confess that although I couldn’t wait for a private bathroom and a comfy bed (I forgot my pillow), I really enjoyed this whole experience. It was the best way to relax and get away from our fast paced lives. Our journey started in Le Gorges du Verdon.

After packing and repacking the VW beetle like it was some sort of 3D jigsaw puzzle we had to ditch the BBQ and hit the road. What should have been a 4 hour drive became nearly 10 hours. That may be due to our backtracking, forgotten license at home, slow and weighed down bug and many bathroom pit-stops along the way including a dip in the sea. I even gave driving a try on these windy roads but ended up in tears for fear. Dusk creeped up on us just as we arrived at our destination, a tiny town on the Northern part of the Gorge called Moustiers Sainte-Marie.

We decided to do everything vintage. Vintage car, vintage camping gear, vintage radio and a vintage map. This meant none of my usual over-planning and obsessive reading of guidebooks and gave it that spark and spontaneity we were looking for. We saw many campsites along the way but nearly all of them were “complet”. Luckily we found one last pitch available down the road, set up shop in the dark and made do with the food we had brought from home. Like true “Italians” we came supplied with tomatoes, Claudio’s mom’s preserved veggies, and pasta!

The next few days we stayed put and explored the canyon by kayaking through a part of the gorge. It must have been because of our last camera tragedy during our Paris trip that I was overly FREAKING out about our new lens the whole time. That is why I thought taking a relaxing ride on a paddle boat would be a great and safe way to see the canyon. But the kayaks drew us in and we ventured into the Gorge with our camera equipment and oars. Between the colliding with other kayakers, and intensifying water currents, I was practically hyperventilating (and for no reason obviously!).

There is something really special about camping and overlooking the lake with the starry sky above you. No TVs, no internet, just a bunch of people playing cards and enjoying the outdoors. The bathrooms were not too bad and walking around with a roll of toilet paper seemed just like carrying around an everyday purse. We all got good night’s rest and woke up with the rising sun and our essential morning baguette, nutella and Italian coffee made in our own Moka. All in all camping was not so bad! Oh yea… and I even found an abundance of Haas avocados which we ate every day just like back in Cali.

Looking down at the Gorge from the edge of the street while driving was another adventure. It was hot but we had our straw hats on and the top down. I hadn’t expected much but some of these views rivaled those of the Grand Canyon European style. Spectacular!

We can’t forget about food and wine. Well, I was happy eating my avocado and tomato salads on the campsite along with some good supermarket Chevrè. As far as drinks go, we immediately found our spot in the center of town where they made their own beer with Provencal honey. It was only 2.50 € a glass so this became our little hangout “downtown”right away. After 3 nights and a grand total of spending 45 euros we set out for Avignon area.