Last week, my wife and I went away for a cheap holiday in the South of France. Whilst there, we ate delicious food, met some very kind and friendly locals (more about them in another blog perhaps), enjoyed some lovely sunshine and saw some stunning scenery.
We decided to visit what had been billed as the “most beautiful beach in the South of France” and for some reason, got it into our heads that as with one or two other beaches we had visited on this trip, we would be able to park up, walk for a few minutes perhaps and buy some food and drink in the cafe that would surely overlook the beach.
The destination for said beautiful beach was Port Pin, via the calanque of Port Miou just outside the beautiful coastal town of Cassis. The man at the car park told us to simply follow the green arrows. It didn’t take us long to realise this was not going to be as simple as we had hoped.
My wife was wearing those platform, summer sort of heels and I had my trusty flip flops. Neither of which are even remotely appropriate footwear for what we were about to embark upon. The pathway quickly turned into a steep, gravelly descent with a variety of rocks that were simultaneously tricky to avoid slipping on and at other times, handy to hold on to.
A good number of other people were making the same pilgrimage to this unique beach and most of them took the time to glance down at our footwear with an unsubtle grin or amused comment. We heard one or two mutter, “Touristique!” Whilst I had probably had the slight advantage when it came to dangerous footwear, I volunteered for the absolute humiliation of carrying a plastic bag with our towels and a solitary bottle of half drunk orange juice.
We had accidentally left our daypack at home, which ordinarily would have taken care of everything we needed to bring with us. This was one reason why we had not bothered to bring a packed lunch – assuming there would be a cafe ready to take our Euros – like all the other places we had visited thus far.
Alas, when we arrived after almost an hour or more perhaps of walking, trekking up and downhill, gripping the rocks and/or the gravel in that way that forces your toes to push down as if they’re hanging on for dear life!
The beach itself was indeed beautiful but I’m not sure I would even call it a beach at all. It looked more like a cove, surrounded by rocks, with the water leading out eventually to the sea. You can judge for yourself…
Once sat down, we instantly regretted not packing a lunch as you’ve guessed it, there was no cafe to be seen anywhere. We enjoyed the space and watched the young children enjoying the beautifully turquoise, albeit, still rather cold water, as well as a couple of dogs trying to come to terms with maybe their first swim of the season.
We took a different route back (given that the one we opted for earlier had signs saying “Danger of Falling Rocks”) and appreciated the truly stunning scenery looking out across the water from higher ground.
The lessons for us were obvious…
Remember to bring the day pack – on the holiday itself – let alone, the day trip!
If in doubt, bring trainers or anything more appropriate than what we had.
Never assume there will be a cafe.
Most of all however, despite the looks from what felt like every other human being we came across with their hiking boots, mountaineering daypacks, with water pipes feeding through to their lycra tops and velcro pockets, we still made it.
And the truth is, not with that much effort.
It just felt at the time like we were severely disadvantaged by comparison.
In fact, given the footwear we found ourselves in, we did pretty well.
Better than most people might have expected.
So, when all you’ve got are flip flops and heels, keep on keeping on anyway.