A Walk Down to the Seaside

The afternoon was pleasant and sunny. Bright and warmish in the direct sun, but cool almost to the point of chilly in the shade.

After yet another marvelous, very rich lunch, we decided to head down to the Mediterranean at the bottom of the estate. This is actually not something undertaken lightly, as the route is a highly circuitous path that winds its way down to the water, via an old, crumbling boat house. The girls love it because there are always shells to collect, and Erika likes it for the substantial exercise it provides when coming back up. I like the photo opportunities it usually provides, so we all went together. Little Cassandra also joined us, and though she was not as fast as the main party, doggedly walked all the way down and a good chunk of the way back as well. The two big Dobermans also accompanied us, despite the fact that both had been mauled and were still recovering from one of the nastier local sanglier that seems to have it in for the dogs on the estate.

The walk down was pleasant, and I took a number of pictures of some of the just-flowering plants, the chateau and the family as the opportunities arose.

The Chateau as Seen from the Terraced Garden
The Chateau as Seen from the Terraced Garden

Trees Blooming Alongside the Path
Trees Blooming Alongside the Path

One of the bet things about being here in the south of France this time of year is the fact that it is not too hot, (which would make the eventual trip back up the hillside easier), and that many of the plants and trees were just coming into their own.

We passed a couple of other people trekking in the area, who were looking into the undergrowth for fresh wild asparagus. We stopped briefly to see exactly what they were picking and where they were picking it from, giving us a better sense as to what to look for on the way back.

We eventually made it to the old boathouse, its concrete launch slowly being crumbled away by time and tide, in the water could be seen bits of old railing and the occasional large piece of gearing or other metal, now rusted and covered in algae, resting in the water.

Rusted Boat Launching Machinery by the Seaside
Rusted Boat Launching Machinery by the Seaside

All of the girls settled in to collecting seashells and beach glass. Erika took off her top and caught some sun while the dogs stood watch. I took my camera and took photos, hoping to spot interesting marine life in the tide pools, but in the end not coming up with much.

Things In The Tidepool
“Things” in the Tidepool

I did find a shattered – and somehow still living – piece of a sea urchin which had evidently been largely munched by something much bigger and not intimidated by its spikes, of which there were only small nubs left between the still-wriggling small feet. It was tossed back in the water, in the likely vain hope that it might regenerate.

On the way back up we started looking for wild asparagus. Erika and Vanessa ventured into the sometimes spiky undergrowth and came back with several handfuls of the stuff. I went ahead and continued to push Annie, who was in a stroller, and little Cassandra marched on up beside us.

Vanessa Proudly Showing Off the Wild Asparagus She's Collected
Vanessa Proudly Showing Off the Wild Asparagus She’s Collected

We met Josef on a scooter when we were in easy striking distance of the Chateau. He first gave Cassandra a ride back, and then in turn a thrilled Annie and then Vanessa.

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