As well as visiting towns and villages nearby, I’ve recently been trying to do more hiking/walking (also in light of drinking less alcohol, which I am succeeding in). So far, I’ve done two hikes in the past two weeks and I have another two planned in the near future. I want to explore as many places as possible whilst I’m here, and the exercise doesn’t go a miss. It’s easy to get caught up in la vie d’Aix and decide to just stay where you’re comfortable, but after discovering that both of these stunning places are literally a half hour drive, I have a thirst for more nearby exploring.
Barrage de Bimont
First of all, we went to Barrage de Bimont. Basically, this is a barrage. Being the stupid person that I am, I was more focused on getting exercise than getting pictures so I didn’t take my camera or my iPhone and I had no access to a camera apart from on my (awful) Windows ‘smart’ phone that I am using whilst here. So, the pictures are not of the best quality I’m sorry to say.
It was one of the most beautiful days in winter to go. There was not a cloud in the sky the whole day, it was perfect. And when we first arrived, we were welcomed with crispy clear blue water below tree-filled mountains.
And of course, the barrage. It was bigger than I expected, and as you looked out to the barrage, there was a lovely view of my main man, Saint. Victoire.
After hating myself for ten minutes at the fact we had no good form of photography (although, the pictures aren’t too bad), we started on the hike. There were actually many options, but we opted for the hike that would take us to the second barrage, Zola. After 5km or so of picking up Provençal herbs and beginning to work up a sweat, we arrived at Barrage Zola, or as near to it as we could get.
As you can see in the photo, the water below was extraordinarily blue and the whole scene was just stunning.
Follow on a little more, and we reached a view point. It looked out on to a lot of vineyards with the rolling Provençal hills as a background. Pretty breathtaking.
And with that, our first hike was finished that day. Barrage de Bimont was a moderate-intensity workout which I will definitely be doing again.
Vauvenargues – Le Prieuré
Our new found love for doing exercise instead of lying in bed all day was continued the week after as we decided we wanted to do another hike. Since my boyfriend is the expert of Provence, I decided to let him choose where we would be going. I did not look at the agenda for the hike, but looking back I should have. It was around 2 hours of an almost vertical mountain battle. We only made it an hour up before we practically collapsed, but there were some stunning, stunning views (and my calves thanked me). And this time, I took my camera!
Really not much to say about the actual hike apart from the views. It was all the same for the hour we climbed, just uphill, and all I saw were the rocks on the ground, trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. However, when I decided to raise my head, what I saw was pretty goddamn breathtaking. Here’s my favourites…
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the hiking and are inspired to do some hiking if you ever visit this area, I would highly recommend Barrage de Bimont and Vauvenargues if you are up for the challenge.
I am enjoying sharing my moments through this blog greatly. The first couple of months were a complete whirlwind of trying to sort out everything out for our apartment, trying to get to grips with being a teacher, eating cheese and drinking a lot, and I mean a lot, of wine with my friends. I have also already had three seperate visits which has distracted me from the blog. I will now be posting weekly to share recent things in my life. I have a humongous backlog of stories and experiences I want to share but they will all be shared with you. And if anything, it’s an amazing sign that I have so many experiences to share.
As I am writing this, I have finished my last teaching day before the Christmas holidays, which means, in theory, I am half way finished. Well, half way finished the teaching side of things. I am having the most incredible time here and I am doing so many things I only dreamed of doing and I still can’t believe how lucky I am.
If you aren’t already jealous enough, here are some pictures from yesterday (18th December 2014) of the sunrise of Aix on my way to work in Fuveau (a town nearby to Aix; I work there on Thursdays). Just to add to the jealousy a little more, it was 17 degrees celsius this day, and these pictures are unedited. I am completely in love with this whole area and lifestyle and I hope you can appreciate the beauty of these stunning pictures below.
That’s it from me for now.