Provence, France Day 13

Short workout and some fine, hot jets before what turned into a marathon touring day.

Our sights are set on Gorges du Verdon, and the helpful concierge desk gives us a route, so off we go.

I take a half a Dramamine, and Kat opts to depend on her mints. Both of us suffer from motion sickness, and the route’s windy.

My Dramamine outlasts Kat’s mints by a thread, and just under two hours in, BW pulls over so she can get out and breathe, walk, settle. Then she takes the wheel as it helps to drive.

There’s a big fortress on a high hill, little villages, larger ones. Landscape that goes from woodsy to pastoral to rocky and steep. Now the road isn’t just windy. It’s sinuous, snaky, switchbacky–and all the Dramamine in the world isn’t going to handle it.

We stop often, which is good. End up turning on a little, skinny road already lined with cars that turns out to be a route down to a beach–and a jump-off point for white-water rafting.

No thanks!

Crowds of people, high cliffs, so many crisped trees from this long drought. We stop again, a couple little stands, lots of people, and walk. Walking good!! Everything’s so dry, and the landscape’s like the moon. Gray and stony as we climb, but the views are awesome. Wild rock formations–one so big and smooth and level it looks hewed by a giant’s axe then polished. Others are rough and tumbled, high and rounded, and it’s such a clear day it seems you can see for miles and miles and miles.

Straight down. Photo by BW.

 I buy chips at a stand as salt sometimes keeps things settled. They help some.

Up, up, up. The gorge is pretty amazing. We get out for a overlook. By now my legs are shaky–a side-effect of the queazies, but the being out in the air’s better. My mistake? Looking down even for a flash at the overlook.

Not sure if Nora’s signaling that BW is close to the edge. It would be a long way down. Photo by BW.
Cute selfie at the Gorge. Photo by kat.
Selfie with a view. Photo by BW’s phone.

Holy crap!!! Uneasy stomach drops to knees, whines: Don’t do that!

We’re seriously high here. There’s a guy whose vertigo must be worse than mine sitting on the platform, holding onto the rail and obviously working himself up to look. I opt to look out, just out and absolutely not down. And that’s another painting.

The river is that strange, beautiful teal where the river cuts its curving path through the steep, green cliffs. It’s lined with brown as it must be considerably more shallow now than usual. From this height it looks as though you could walk across it.

A river runs through it. Photo by kat.
A river runs through it. Photo by BW.
Straight down. Photo by BW.
River and mesa. Photo by BW.

Kat points out getting back up once on the other side would be a serious issue.

It looks–what I see down from looking out–like one of those toy landscapes on a model train set. You know those trees are tall and huge, but they look so tiny, and make a deep green, bumpy carpet on the sheer rise.

The cliffs rise up higher and higher, and the green gives way to stone or vegetation burned brown by the sun. Hawks circle in the sky.

We go through rock tunnels–literally rock with rough, stony arches–and odd stone  juts like free-form rock awnings, skinny, ever-winding roads, climbing higher. For a while we follow a little blue car in a parking game. We seem to arrive at a pull-out just as the car leaves, and slide into his spot. Handy.

I see a sign that puts us at 1285 meters. That’s high, even this math and distance declined woman knows that’s high. Between the height and the constant swerving road my system has failed.

Anyone who experiences motion sickness knows once you pass a certain point, that’s just it. You’re going to be queasy and off for the duration.

We make our descent, the mountains high around us, and finally into a pretty hill village–a pretty big one–at roughly four in the afternoon. Too late for lunch, too early for dinner for most restaurants. But we park, and we walk. I know my family asked what I wanted to do, but I had to tell them: I need to be led. My mind is mush, and can’t make any rational decision.

We walk. It’s a pretty town, I can see that. Color, movement, shops with their wares displayed, people walking dogs. And a beautiful, shady promenade on the way to the only restaurant we can find serving at this odd hour.

It’s busy and noisy, but we can order. I think plain, simple pizza as it might soothe. One slice is all my system accepts. I distract myself watching the waitress who hustles and looks distracted and out of sorts. And when I see her go into the bathroom, come out in a different outfit, I wonder why.

As she continues to take orders and serve, she’s not off-shift. Maybe it’s her evening waitress outfit. The bar and its tender are busy throughout in this little place. Jason comments I must be sick because I don’t even look at the gelato display.

Food bad.

No poking in the shops for me either at this point. My goal is home where the world will be still.

But we’re nearly two hours from that paradise.

Still, the route back is straighter for the most part, and heads down (or winds) through forest and farmland. Gorgeous green stands of trees, quiet fields. We wonder at the lack of livestock. We haven’t seen a cow or sheep so far in Provence. Horses, but no other livestock.

Vineyards, forests, pretty houses. Kat is steady on the wheel.

A huge lake–that wonderful color–with a beach and the people spread on it. Boats on the water, swimmers all making a living postcard.

And at last, the road home. There’s our market. And finally our turn into the resort.

Walk to the villa, breathe, sit in a seat that doesn’t move. Heaven.

We watch livestream from the States on the eclipse, and that’s pretty amazing. I think about food, decide to avoid that and just sit and relax until bed.

This will be my last adventure involving hours of serpentine roads.

Today I’ll happily stay put, workout, maybe take a swim. If my system’s fully recovered, it may be a good day to write for a couple hours. I think my traveling companions are ready for a vacate day as well. We left before eleven yesterday, returned about seven. That’s a long day.

Some answers to questions I’ve seen in comments:

No, I really don’t get recognized, and am grateful. Most people don’t recognize writers, so it makes it easy.

Yes, I think the proximity to Italy–esp in Eze–was an influence on the cuisine. Italian food is everywhere. (and yummy.)

I’m reading New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson–science fiction about NY, and a particular group in a particular building–decades after climate change has flooded the city.

And to add Jason and Kat nipped me by under a hundred steps (both of them) on our Weekend Warrior challenge. I’m working on defending my title for the Workweek Hustle.


In today’s #randomkatness:

Bird by kat.

In case you want to experience some tiny portion of Nora’s motion sickness, watch BW’s gif over and over.  I dare you!  ~Laura

Trigance on the way to Verdon du Gorge. Photo by BW

32 thoughts on “Provence, France Day 13”

  1. It sounds lovely, except for the motion sickness! I too suffer from it and it wasn’t until I learned to drive at 30yrs old (born, raised, educated, work in NYC, no need for a car), did I learn that being in control behind the wheel alleviated my sickness.
    I’m glad you and your family can enjoy all the beautiful sites without being hassled by the paparazzi! Keep posting pics, we’re all living vicariously 🙂 .

  2. Hope you’re feeling better Nora. Thanks for the pics, they are beautiful. Your descriptions are wonderful.

  3. So beautiful! I’m loving your posts!! Interesting about food though – when I was in south of France, near Beziers at the Les Chateau Carrassess in April, the food was just okay. I was quite disappointed, as were other writing retreaters. I love local cuisine and an adventurous foodie, but… everything was curry and I had to ask up front “no curry” – not a fan of it. The food at the chateau was the only downside to the experience of S of France and Barcelona.

  4. My heart goes out to you suffering on such an awesome vacation. Sounds like a beautiful trip, though. You are really looking fit also! Workouts paying off, good for you!

  5. Eating my morning oatmeal while enjoy the blog. I look forward to them. I will be as sorry as all of them when their trip is over. Hope you feel better, Nora! I am lucky in that I have never suffered motion sickness. Enjoy your day!

  6. Ginger is helpful for motion sickness!!! That being said, once it takes hold….there goes the day! So sorry this happened!

    Love living vicariously through the travel dialogue!!

    Thank you!

  7. Yikes. Motion sickness is my personal hell. I salute you for hanging on. The photos are amazing. Thank you. Hopefully the rest of the trip will be easier on the stomach.

  8. I feel your pain Nora! Luckily the car sickness has eased off as i got older, (depends on circumstances) but i still get sea sick in certain cases. Aware and try to avoid as much as possinle. Such a horrible feelng! I hope you are feeling vetter today.

    Love reading about your adventures! Thanks for sharing them!

  9. Hope you are feeling better! Motion sickness is the worst. The pics are amazing! Thank you for taking us along. No offense meant concerning laundry. My feeble attempt at humor.

  10. My husband suffers from motion sickness, and like Kat can keep it in check if he does the driving. Unfortunately that left me incharge of kids and pets when we traveled! Bummer. Our youngest son also suffered and we tried everything! He preferred candied ginger. He hates being doped up.

  11. Have you ever tried the motion sickness bracelets. they work so well and have for several people in my family who suffer from motion sickness. they are inexpensive and priceless for there results.

  12. Oh, I feel your pain with the motion sickness. Straight roads don’t bother me and neither do heights, but the winding, curvy mountainous ones do. I doesn’t help that my husband (he who insists on doing all the driving!) cannot stand to be behind other drivers and has to weave in and out of traffic through the mountains in order to be lead dog. I sympathize at your relief upon finding a quiet stationary place to rest after that assault on your system. The views in the photos are gorgeous, but you will probably appreciate those more in hindsight! Give me a flat, lackluster interstate every time!

  13. I too thank you for taking time during your vacation to share your views and your thoughts. I, like others here, am living vicariously. Merci!
    I really like the “River and Mesa” photo-the contrasts and colors…just gorgeous.
    Did we ever hear if the lizard was real or not?

  14. I was wondering what the time difference is between me in CST USA and Nora in France?

      1. Laura, So Sorry It did post! I went through the registration process wrong! Oh well fixed now. Thank you for response!

  15. I commiserate with Nora and Kat on the motion sickness as I, too, suffer from the malady. I looked up pictures of the Gorges Du Verdon, and seeing the pictures, I can see the effects of the drought. All the pictures are gorgeous and make the trip worthwhile. A day to vacate will help settle your system. I like the bird picture.

  16. Kat’s picture of the bird is beautiful! Is it made of wood? You can almost see it breathe. My mom found out she was afraid of heights when we visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I still remember the death grip on my arm as she dragged us kids back to the car. It really made an impression on me and thankfully, I’ve not suffered the same fate. Great photos!

  17. Again such beautiful scenery. Sorry about the sickness, I don’t suffer from it so don’t know how it feels, but know it must be debilitating. I was on a fishing trip once where everyone but three of us were sick ( it was extreme!y rough that day) . the three of us caught our limit; the others were hanging over the side of the boat! Lol!

  18. I suffer from motion sickness too. What helps me the most is Emetrol. We find it at CVS here in Texas. It’s made for children and has a cherry flavor but it works for me where the bracelets don’t, and Dramamine puts me to sleep. I can go to movies with surround sound and on our bass boat if I take it beforehand. Hope it will work for you and Kat! Thanks for letting us armchair travel along, beautiful pics!!!

  19. It’s great that you even put together any thoughts, with you having motion sickness. My husband has vertigo, which is related. The only place it hit me was the Amalfi coast, w/it’s high winding roads. Hope you feel better. I bet nothing settles you as much as sitting down and writing. Hope the rest of your vacay is calm.

  20. Oh dear motion sickness is horrible. I haven’t suffered from it in years but I remember the reality of it. I could never travel the heights you do. I am terrified just climbing up a ladder LOL.
    However I wAs determined to try and do my best at Bryce Canyon in Utah one summer and succeeded. It was so gorgeous and little later rain clouds over the canyon with little pockets of sun rays made the experience even more beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing and I hope that was the last of the motion sickness. Xx

  21. I feel for you and your tummy. I don’t get car sick but can’t take the mountains. I just returned home from a trip through N. Dakota and Washington. I was very glad to get back to my flat Indiana… I have enjoyed this travelogue very much, thanks for sharing.

  22. Oh I know about motion sickness. If you never experienced it, you have no idea! We used to have several boats throughout our married life. I was fine and never got sick until I had an inner ear infection. After that, boats, cars, buses, airplanes became big problems. Once it comes on full, you just want to say “just shoot me”. Feel better!!! Beautiful pictures as always.

  23. Thank you for sharing your wonderful vacation with your many fans. I’ve been a fan since Irish Thoroughbred and I still have the original paperback! I also suffer from motion sickness and use ginger gum by Sea Band, it helps keep things settled. I’ll be sorry when your vacation is over!

  24. How are you enjoying New York 2140? I’m in the middle of it and find the whole idea of it very intriguing. Haven’t been in NYC in years, so picturing it is a bit of a problem but doesn’t make it any less interesting. I especially find “Assisted Migration” a great idea.
    Sorry about the motion sickness. Bummer, but I also have vertigo so I can sympathize. I agree – looking out is much better than looking down.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Lovely travelogue.

  25. Thank you for posting about your vacation. Beautiful pictures. I don’t normally leave comments like this but after reading about the motion sickness I feel a little compelled to post. My brother suffers from Meniere’s so vertigo is a constant companion. Something we have noticed that can help with attacks is icy water, the more icy/cold the better. Your ears may be more involved in motion sickness than your eyes than you may think, so icing down your throat/back of the mouth by drinking ice cold water helps. I am talking slurpee/brain freeze cold. Just don’t drink it fast 🙂
    May help, may not, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to mention it in case it helps in future :). Driving up or down where your ears constantly need to adjust to pressure, its important to stay as hydrated as possible.
    If we know we are going to be driving awhile, another tidbit that I got my brother into is drinking some golden milk with double the amount of ginger prior to the trip. It may also help. Fav recipe below:
    2 cups non-dairy milk (I prefer unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
    ½ teaspoon turmeric paste (recipe below)
    ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (fresh may be used also)
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon coconut oil
    1-2 teaspoons raw honey or 5 drops pure liquid stevia

    Heat, mix well and strain before drinking if you like. Serves two people.

    Turmeric Paste:
    ¼ cup turmeric powder
    ½ cup water
    ¾ teaspoon black pepper

    Happy and safe travels to you.

  26. I don’t know of any other authors who share the way you do – and that’s continued to make you one of my favorite writers of any ilk. Thanks for the photos, the humor, and I do hope the rest of your trip goes easier on the tummy.

    Have you considered traveling to Japan? I love to travel and had that opportunity earlier this year. Amazing experience. By and large, they were so generous with helping me figure out how to ask for help. 🙂 Arigatōgozaimashita, or even just Arigato (thank you, both formal and informal) goes a long way, as I’m sure Merci does where you are.

  27. Looks amazing. I sympathise with the travel sickness – I’ve not experienced it firsthand, but in 1 three hour journey with my son we managed to get through all the (long) weekend outfits. Following that he wore a puddle suit for every journey – not sure it would suit you! Have fun x

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