After 14 hours straight on the big highways the day before, we were thrilled to spend a day exploring the countryside on small roads and really get an intimate view of France’s landscape. We had the luxury of being able to just point up to a castle on a hill and say, “hey, let’s go up there!” or cut off onto hidden gravel roads, “I wonder what’s over here!” and drive through the fields and tree lined and streets, stopping whenever we pleased for photo session #1,000!
We got out and ran through mustard fields and the legendary vineyards, their knotted stems tied up in perfect rows in puzzled shapes on the uneven hills, snow capped Pyrenees mountains jutting up on the horizon.
We climbed on the car to get that perfect castle shot over the stone wall, walked around a tiny village’s Abby and looked down on their ancestors in the cemetery below, each tombstone as unique as the ones laying beneath them.
We passed through dozens of villages, ones I’m sure Tripadvisors won’t even have on their “Places I’ve Been” maps. It wasn’t until Mom pointed out how clean and empty the streets were that I realized French towns are practically ghost towns. And I had to laugh when Mom pointed excitedly as we passed through a town, “Oh look! A little French boy.” It was rare to ever see a person, man, woman or child, walking in the streets.
After a lovely two night “stop-over” with our old friend Philippe on a walnut orchard just outside the small village Villesiscle, we made our way down to Lloret de Mar, Spain for #TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange).
With Philippe’s thick French accent still fresh in my mind, we ventured further into the French countryside to discover more than just the typical vineyard hills. Philippe had routed our GPS through back roads which avoided the main highways and tolls. If you’re ever travelling in France, here’s a heads up, you will be paying big bucks to use their highways. Driving down ended up costing us as much as flying two people. But no worries, for me, this is the ideal way to travel and I’m so gad we made this into a road trip. I’ve driven these roads in parts as well as in full several times but am always appreciative and amazed with my nose constantly pressed up to the window, camera clutched like precious stone in my hands.
There’s nothing like the freedom of having your own car to explore the countryside and discover the little corners you otherwise never would have. Highways are fantastic when you need to get from point A to B, but if you take the time, there’s so much to take in on the smaller roads. Passing under natural tunnels, the narrow winding road towards Spain was uniquely carved through the mountainside. Arched over the flowing rivers below, the bridges made entirely of stone were equally as impressive.
Though I tried to concentrate on writing, this global office was more distracting than I’d expected. How could I keep my eyes on the screen while there was so much beauty just outside the window.
The twisting road leading south to Spain took us through narrow, lush green canyons and mountains all the way to the sapphire depths of the Mediterranean Sea. Arriving at the Rigat Hotel in Lloret de Mar was the grand finale of a successful 1,600 km drive. I was blown away by the hotel, even before we drove through it’s gates. Hotel Rigat is situated at the end of a street that meets the beach like a grand palace taking up an entire block, waiting for us with open arms. I’m not going to say more about this, because I have enough to write a blog just on this location, so I will save that for later but leave you with a few photos.
Some people wait their whole life’s to do a road trip like this; Driving from Holland to Spain seeing the tulip fields in all colours in full bloom, the vibrant mustard fields on rolling hills, vineyards, castles and churches of France and the shining blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea from a Spanish resort town. I feel truly blessed and fortunate. I hope these posts help you to find that courage you need take that step to make your dream trip happen!
Categories: Savannah Grace