The pandemic hit the world harder than anybody expected. Cancelled plans, empty hotels, and travelling from the kitchen to your bedroom became the new norm. We’ve been riding the pandemic waves one after the other and a break is equivalent to hitting a gold mine. I was blessed with one such break and we decided to make the most of it. The foremost important part was
a) we have to travel responsibly and,
b) It should be away from the crowd.
So, what better place than the hidden gem of France: Provence.
The one where we travelled post-pandemic
Provence is a region in Southern France, located right above the cote d’Azur (French Riviera). It borders Italy and is known to be the home of the Southern Alps, lush green vineyards, lavender fields, olive fields, and beautiful pine forests. It has everything you are looking for. From the Mountains to the beaches of Nice, Provence has got you covered.
The trip started with the stay at the most scenic Air BnB situated in the heart of vineyards. We spent our day relaxing in the pool, sipping freshly squeezed juices and picking strawberries. The south of France has an abundance of sunshine that I dearly missed in Paris. During summer, the sunsets happen after 10 pm which gives you plenty of daylight. The evenings were spent playing a typically French game called “Petanque” in bikinis, trying to sunbathe till the end, and finally eating those fresh strawberries. This was the perfect beginning to our post-Covid travel.
On day two as we drove through the mountains of Gorge du Verdon, I saw a side to the French elegance that is hidden from the rest of the world. The Rocky Mountains splashed with green every few miles and the dwindling roads leading to unmatched beauty.
Gorge du Verdon doesn’t stop there but you could actually Kayak, River Raft, or go paddle boating through the gorges. We chose to paddle the boat as there were five of us.
Paddling through the icy turquoise waters along rocky edges of the mountains is an experience to live through. The brave ones from the group jumped, swam, and splashed us all with the freshwater which was welcome in the scorching southern heat.
Getting out of this fun-filled day was impossible and we were the last ones to leave the gorges before the coast guard would be on rounds.
On day three we chose to drive to the highest point for bungee jumping in Europe; Pont de l'Artuby. This is bridge is 182 meters high (approximately 600 feet) and I knew I had to do this. I’ve lived all my life with acrophobia and this was my chance to get over it. When I finally jumped on my THIRD attempt, I was free. The first few seconds after the jump I didn’t even know I had done it, then the fear hit, and finally, I was liberated from all of it and screaming from happiness. Hanging upside down, waiting to be bought down the famous proverb hit me “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. The hike back up the mountain was equally enthralling. I still hear myself scream and feel every emotion when I see my video.
To end the day, we walked around the city of Aix en Provence which is a gorgeous French town. Chilled beer on a warm summer evening with live French street music and good friends, this is what life is really about.
For the fourth day, we kept the best of the lot! We visited the lavender fields of Notre-Dame de Senanque and the plateau de Valensole. This is a place where monks reside so to access the church there is a minor fee. The good news is that the fields have free access.
You don’t have to follow google maps to find the lavender fields. All you have to do is roll down the windows and follow the aroma of lavender. We arrived at Valensole just before the sunset and we nailed our timing. The floor was lavender as far as eyes could see and it was merging with the fiery sunset across the horizon.
Covid-19 took away a couple of years from the prime of our lives but it gave us time to reflect on ourselves. It allowed us to understand the importance travel holds in our lives and the privilege we are blessed with. The post Covid-19 trip will forever be cherished as the escape that we looked forward to. Hereupon every time I book tickets, I will remind myself of the time when we couldn’t do it.
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