Saturday, July 11, 2020

French déconfinement, day 62:

10,305 steps (plus lots of swimming!)

We had a magical day at the Pont de la Cerise, hiking and swimming in the Estéron river. Several locals had recommended it to us, as well as our "Wild Swimming in France" book. It was only 43 km away, so we finally tried it out today.

It was incredible--one of my favorite places, ever. The water was perfectly comfortable, unlike the glacial water at les Gorges du Loup. We swam for several hours and never got cold.

There was a 30-minute hike down to the river, just enough to feel like a hike but not so much that the kids were exhausted. When everyone is a bit bigger, we might brave the narrow river gorge that starts right at the bridge. You can swim/canyon downstream and meet up with a hiking path about 1 km down the river, with the proper equipment and someone who's done it before.

But for this year, we stayed a upstream and swam in the safer parts. Eric jumped in the narrow gorge right underneath the bridge. We didn't dare let the kids in, even though they were begging, because they'd have to swim upstream against a strong current to get back.

The Estéron is one of the cleanest rivers in all of Europe. The water has no smell at all, tastes sweet, and is a beautiful turquoise.

The kids were begging to go again--tomorrow! I heard Inga say, "This is my favorite place in the world. I want to live here forever."

Just for fun, here is the day as narrated by Zari and Dio in their journals. Zari goes for long and detailed:

"Today was another wild swimming day. This time we went to the Pont de la Cerise. It was also a 45-min drive and went through the medieval village of Gillette. The hike down to the river was about 20 mins long going down and I took pictures of flowers (of course!). The river was awesome! It reminded me of Slide Rock in that there were lots of small rapids perfect for taking a ride on the current. We stayed at a place 200 meters away from the bridge, where there were rapids that were really fun to ride the current in. We did that a lot, then me and Papa went upstream to explore. It was GREAT!!! We found clay, a deep pool we could jump in, and an awesome deep current-waterslide! The water in the river was maybe only slightly colder than the sea, so we swam a LOT and had a ton of fun. Then me & Papa came back from our exploring. We ate lunch: risotto, pains au chocolat (the "fake" ones [factory-made ones]), breakfast cookies, & peanuts. No fruit because mama plans on making a plum tart. After lunch we went down to the part of the river under the bridge."

[And she ran out of time be continued tomorrow]

And Dio wrote this. It's classic Dio: as short and under-detailed as possible:

"Today was a great day. We went to Pont des Cerises. It was so fun!"


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