After a wonderful week in the Perigord region, we bid farewell to our amazing hosts and headed southeast towards Provence. The drive was quite long, about 6 hours and we chose to do the scenic route, through picturesque french villages and the mountains. It was a very entertaining ride but towards the end, as we were coming down the mountain on a super windy rode, I think we all just wanted to get to our next destination. And yet again, our home for the next week was a hit. We were greeted by our hosts’ parents, since they were on a holiday. Located in a little village called Blauzac, it was simply everything we wanted. Made out of a light stone, with a beautiful kitchen, a cozy living space and a little rooftop terrace - a perfect house for our family. Our hosts own an organic winery and gifted us a delicious bottle of white wine that didn’t make it past the first night : )
The first day in this region of France, we spent at Pont du Gard. It is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon river. Built in AD 50, The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts and is very well preserved. In 1985, it was added to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Seeing it in person made us marvel at how this thing was built 2000 years ago. It looks like the Romans played a beautiful game of Jenga with 1 ton stone blocks! We set down our picnic at the bank of the river, with the aqueduct right over us. It was a perfect spot to throw down a blanket and take a swim in the river. It was a warm, sunny, but very windy day. The kids really enjoyed hanging out by the river and throwing rocks into the water. Funny enough, we met our first Americans on this trip, and low and behold they are from the same city where Rick’s sister lives - what a small world! Later on we took a short hike and walked across the bridge, overlooking turquoise/green water. Did I mention how windy it was today? As we were walking across, the wind decided to take my hat right off the top of my head and send it to the river! Maybe the Romans are trying to tell me something. . .hold on for this rest of this week because you’re in for a wild ride! We snapped a bunch of pictures at this man made marvel and then took a small tour at the museum, tracing the history of the Roman aqueducts. We also found a little museum for kids, where Leo had a chance to do some educational activities. It was a very nice and relaxing day, very much needed after a day of driving.
The next day we were going to make the drive due south to the Mediterranean beaches (it was hot, 90 & sunny), but Rick always likes to take the road less traveled and found this sweet waterfall on the Vis River near the town of Saint-Laurent le Minier. We drove an hour back into the mountains and literally you pull over to the side of one of those windy roads we came down and there’s the waterfall. So that’s exactly what we did. The waterfall was awesome. We took the short hike down to the river and its an amazing display of nature. Tucked in the forest, you have this hidden gem of falls that just soothes the soul. There really wasn’t a good spot to lay a blanket here as there are no banks, just rocks & boulders and this majestic falls. The current was fairly strong, we had to keep a close eye on the kids. Leo is a fearless rascal, he just bounces from bolder to bolder on his own, shoeless. We meet a nice Swede who speaks good English and is a profession photographer. He’s been coming to this spot for 20 years and owns a summer house in the mountains. He mentions a producer who shot a movie at this site. Neither Rick or I could remember the name.
At his suggestion, we end up hiking down stream about a 1/4 of a mile where there’s a little rock beach and the current is weaker. We set up our blanket for the rest of the afternoon. There’s an small island in the middle of the river that we see kids jumping into the river. There is probably a 15 ft cliff with much deeper water. My wild side comes out and I swim over to it and take the plunge. Leo is cheering me on while Mila is screaming at mommy to get down! After a couple of jumps, Mila calms down and now Leo is asking to do it! We all swim over to the island (its walkable to get there) and allow him to jump off a much smaller platform (3ft). He probably jumps a good 20 times. Rick proceeded to get in on the action and before you know it, Mila wants to jump! Those crazy Herman’s!!! With the sun beating on us all day, we wear ourselves down by 4 and make the trek back home.
It was a great day to try something different, something that felt a bit undiscovered. That is the beauty of travel, finding experiences off the beaten path. We’ve created a ton of memories already and these moments are the ones that you can’t script.