French roadtrip – un cola, por favor!

To bridge the time between the summer and the winter, my boyfriend and I travelled for a week with our campervan. The motto was – as always – somewhere where it’s warm and to fly or kite if possible. So our trip went to France.

The campervan packed with all the toys and my knitting, we drove to the west coast of France, at the Dune du Pyla, where I was last year. In the middle of the night we arrived at the gate to the campsite. A friend was already on the campsite and said that the night attendant was always there and that it takes only about 15 minutes until he came. One must just wait a bit. Well, that’s what we did. However, after a twelve hour journey we struggled to keep the eyes open. A half hour we waited. What the heck! We parked in the parking lot, shut everything off, blinds down and went to bed, to the well-deserved sleep. At half past two we heard a light tapping. Oh what. Just a dream. Go back to sleep. The knocking grew louder. Ignore. The knocking was very loud. Unmistakable. The camp guards stood outside our door and said it was forbidden to camp out here. So he showed us the car park beside the shop of the campsite, where we could spend the night officially the first night.

dune du pyla paragliding paraglider

After a restful night, we packed up the next day our paragliders and went to the launch site at the cliff. As we were about to unpack, a pilot was in search of blackberries and promptly landed in a huge blackberry bush with even greater thorns. He had obviously misjudged the height. He wanted to land but stopped before the landing/launching site. After a one-hour bailout, we rescued him and his paraglider from the thorns. Trembling like a leaf, he sat down afterwards to clean his scratches. And we were finally able to go flying.

dune du pyla paragliding paraglider

We enjoyed the late summer sun at 30 ° Celsius. From time to time we flew on down the beach, cooled us off in the Atlantic and played again with our shades. In the evening we cooked in the campervan or went to one of the restaurants at the campsite. With a lot of thirst – and so little brain – I ordered at the restaurant: un cola, por favor! God, I’m stupid!!! I had probably the Spanish language CD in my drive! My Coke came anyway and we laughed ourselves crooked.

French Roadtrip - happy camping on Ile de Ré

A large low-pressure area over the Atlantic Ocean led to majority blowing wind from the east. This was thoughtfully bad for the dune because there needs to west wind. So we moved on to the north, about 200km north of Bordeaux, where the Ile de Ré is located. The small island is accessible via a bridge. Arriving in the evening we were looking for a quiet place near the shore. The next day we discovered that the island-dwellers mainly devoted to the search for shells at low tide and like to slurp oysters at high tide. Accordingly, we felt out of place. We moved on in search of wind for kitesurfing.

French Roadtrip - le mont saint michel

The trip took us to the north. Before we went to Normandy, we made a trip to Le Mont-Saint-Michel. This is a 90m high rock in the sea, which is accessible only at low tide. On the rock, a church was built around 1000. Later there were other houses. The visit of the Monts (mountain) is dependent on the tide, because the tidal differences be partially up to 14m (!).

French Roadtrip - omonville paragliding

Saturated of culture and tourism, the trip took us to Normandy, where we were headed Urville. This is a small village at the most northerly corner of Normandy. When we arrived, some kiters were already on the water. However, it was not enough wind for our small kites. When I landed a kiter the kite, we got to talking – as good as it was with my French skills :-) It turned out that he also flies paraglider and he drove up to a launch site after packing his kite stuff. We gladly followed him to one of the many hills. But the wind was too strong to fly. We followed the tip of the Frenchman to go to Vauville and to spend the night there. The campsite is located right on the beach. The next day brought more wind. So my boyfriend and I could kite with our small screens.

Zürich Zurich Uetliberg paragliding paraglider

When we checked after the kite session the wind forecasts for France and Switzerland, we realized that the next day excellent wind blowed in Zurich to fly on Uetliberg. The campervan was quickly made ready, stowed everything and we drove back to Switzerland. Without passing previously home, we drove with the campervan directly to the landing site. The steep walk up to the starting site and the generous soreness from the previous day did not prevent us to get a view over Zurich. This weekend the “Knabenschiessen” took place, which was celebrated with a fun fair. High up in the air we could smell the scent of gingerbread and roasted almonds. Very special! And a great end to our holiday.

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