‘[laughing] No, no, no. We prayed to Shiva to help us find the stone. It was Shiva who made you fall from sky. So you will go to Pankot Palace… and find Shivalinga… and bring back to us. Bring back to us. Bring back to us.‘ – Shaman of Maypore, – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
A recent road trip around the South of France taught me many things. In some, if not most cafes, the glass of wine comes cheaper than a glass of lemonade, that the autumnal coloured tiles of the rooftops in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie became birth to Cezanne’s impressionism and that escargot tastes like the under carriage of my dogs nutsack.
The missus elected to drive, I elected to drink. Our first night we spent in the Hotel Flots D’azur, along the forever tainted promenade of Nice. Chivalry is not a word best described the owner of Flots D’azur as he watched on whilst his female counterpart struggled the stairs with our luggage.
The room had no kettle.
“I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a room without a kettle.” I say to the missus as I probe for something positive to say.
“Well what do you expect for €150 Euros a night?” She said.
“A fucking kettle to start.”
In the morning we quested north up the coast to Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat and hit the restaurant La Cabane de L’Ecailler for lunch. We were presented a tray of scorpion fish and asked to sample the local wine. I was fairly unaccustomed to this level of service. I did think maybe they’d confused me with some righteous mercenary come to save the village from some wicked tyrannical rule. (See Temple of Doom, Magnificent Seven or every Clint Eastwood film).
After we took a rather featureless road to the French province, Entrecasteaux. There we set up camp for the duration in chateaux Lavandaline, high up the mountains in a bivouac of idyllic French countryside. Amongst the campestral vineyards and away from the trappings of suburban distractions, the missus and I spent hours talking candidly about our emotions, our hearts like supplicating hands being cascaded with promises of unconditional love. Wait no sorry, that’s not what happened at all. I complained about the lack of a fridge and spent an entire afternoon looking up women on Instagram who dress like Jessica Rabbit.
After a couple of days admiring the pool but not getting in it, we drove an hour north to the Gorges Du Verdon; reportedly one of the most beautiful Gorges in all of Europe. We stopped off at Tourtour, had some aforementioned escargot and wondered around the village which was undeniably beautiful, yet bereft of entertainment.
“We could just stay here and I could get pissed?” I perked.
“Why don’t we do something different today.” The missus enquired.
For those contemplating taking this route, I’d skip the town of Bauduen and head straight to the rictus of selfie central, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a ravine to a depth of 700 meters through the limestone mass. At the end of the canyon, the Verdon River flows into the artificial lake of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon. We ate crepes, drank banana beer, before heading back to the airport. I neglected my navigational duties and slept blissfully. On the flight back I confessed to the missus ‘every time the plane shakes, I shit myself, and every time I say I’m ok, regardless of turbulence, I’m not.’