Friday, 28 August 2009

Indian Summers

Southwest France is famous for its late Indian Summers, with long hot days, surfing in boardies, morning offshores, early autumn swells and evenings spent sipping red wine, making it a perfect camping trip. For Alexa and I, it has been an annual habit, packing up the van in september and making the run down to Biarritz. Enjoying the sense of freedom from being on the open road.
Crossing the river Ardour from the Landes region to the north after the long drive down through France, the landscape begins to transform from a flat landscape dense with the famous pine tress to verdant hills, rolling inland across the hinterland towards the Pyrenees which rise steeply in the distance as if they are watching over this region. Cliffs, reefs, points and rocky headlands intersperse the coast creating a breathtaking coastline with a myriad of waves and offering options in a variety conditions. This variety suits us and we pack our quiver accordingly- fishes, single fins, shortboards and longboards all crammed in the van. Whether its mellow peeling Basque beach breaks and reefs, grinding Hossegor or Anglet barrels, big drops at Guethary or the reeling point of Lafetania, there is something for everyone - a smorgasboard of surfing delights.
Only a short drive inland the Pyrenees offer an alternative to surfing particulary if it is flat. Truly wild camping is possible up in the mountains among the rivers and forests. Epic mountain biking, scenic walks and a healthy dose of nature are all on offer.
Not forgetting the amazing des supermarche, le vin rouge, le fromage and other culinary delights. Where else in the world do bakery’s and supermarkets shut for lunch? You have to love a country with a two hour lunch break and a thirty five hour working week!
But alas there will be no euro road trip for us this summer as we have spent all our money buying a Cornish cottage and will be spending our September break renovating, so here we are dreaming of an Indian Summer...

Photo by Alexa Poppe

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