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    CHICCHANTAL   27,408
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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I said I had overdone things earlier, I got loads of sympathy that wasn't particularly deserved because one of the things I overdid was lunch.

Here's how it happened, and how I came to overdo other things too today. The gory details.

It's the last day of my holiday today so I got up earlyish, went out for coffee and croissant and took all the maps etc with me to plot a nice walk. So, coffee, croissant, brain in gear and I'm looking for the bus stop for the bus to Les Salins, another set of salt pans, these ones to the east of Hyeres.

Lo and behold there's an artyfarty market on today, selling things like spirulina (no don't ask me, I haven't a clue, ask Google), olive wood toys - and soap. In particular the cheapn nasty soap in dozens of flavours that is specifically aimed at the tourist trade ie me. This is the soap I was hoping for on Saturday. So I identify bus stop, discover it's 50 minutes till the next bus goes, and wander over to the market to choose 16 soaps. This is the stall after I've finished: the holes in the display are where I removed soaps.

I got vanilla, rose, orange and grapefruit, strawberry, orange flower, olive, cherry, bitter almond, apricot jasmine, mimosa, red berries, honeysuckle, limeflower, cinnamon and orange, and (loud cheer everyone!) lavender.

Soap is a traditional industry in Marseille, just along the coast, and of course the tourist trade capitalises on it. I'm a willing victim. This lot will keep me going for about eight months if I'm careful.

So, take the soaps back to the hotel, return to the bus stop, bus is already there, get on the bus, ten minutes later get off the bus. I'm in a bit of Hyeres I've never been to before, but it's easy enough to find my way as the path I want is part of the sentier littoral (coastal path).

Fab weather today, wonderful glittery sea, the sand here is - ahem - sand-coloured. The temperature is nearly 80F. I've got sea on my right, saltings on my left, lovely scenery. I walk along the path for a bit and there are HUGE dragonflies, like the ones in the UK, blue bodies, green heads, I suppose if you like that sort of thing you'd be thrilled. Also many butterflies, I see a bright yellow one that in England would be a brimstone yellow. I've no idea if it is in France. No flamingoes though.

Step over to walk along the beach for a while. I can see the Giens peninsula and La Capte where I had lunch on Sunday. There are people sunbathing and swimming in the sea, and as I get closer I'm thinking to myself 'That guy standing there is wearing very minimalist shorts . . .' and a moment later I realise he's not wearing any at all and in the same second see the notice that says 'Start of naturist beach'.

Ah. Aha. Ahaha hah. I didn't realise there was one of those along here. I'm guessing the people that use this beach are quite accustomed to the reaction that I am displaying. I'm guessing I'm typical:

stop in my tracks
avert my eyes
take a sharp left turn back to the path which runs behind the sand dune behind this beach.

Well honestly! I mean, I don't know what to say! Actually I could say quite a few things but not on here. I mean, I've been taking PHOTOGRAPHS all the way along the beach, I even took a bit of video. Visualise getting mobbed by 20 angry naturists.

I keep walking and after about half a mile more, with more photos, decide to turn back because it's really hot and I have nothing to drink with me and also it's gone 12 so by the time I get to a restaurant it will be time for lunch. Have got a huge appetite, oddly. Had intended to go along to La Capte and eat at the resto where I had the fish stew in Sunday but come to a very nice-looking one with a prix fixe menu for 20 euro.

It's nearly empty so I get a nice table by the window. Do I want an aperitif? 'Pourquoi pas?' I say, it's my last lunch after all, and order a pastis (if you've had Pernod you've had a pastis but NB pastis is drunk with water in France, not coke or blackcurrant cordial or any of the other things you might have had in it as a student. Got the tshirt on this myself). Glass of pink wine.

I order the 20 euro menu: fish soup which comes in a tureen (enough for two people but of course I try to eat it all), with garlic cloves to rub on the croutons (they are had so it's like sandpaper to the garlic), aioli (see previous blog for explanation), grated cheese and bread. This is just the first course you understand.

Make utter pig of self and also spatter front of second best blouse with soup which will be murder to get out in the wash as it's full of saffron.

Move on to shellfish gratin with rice and manage to eat the whole gratin but not much of the rice.

Finish with creme brulee and coffee.

Reel out of the resto and find as I suspected I have just missed the bus back. Decide at this point I don't want to sit around waiting for next bus, but will walk up the road a bit. In retrospect, mixed reviews for this decision.

Walk along a cycle track by some marshes and see an egret.

It views me with a reserved expression and paddles away a bit, up the channel. I don't blame it. By now my face will be resembling a tomato (heat, sun, too much food, alcohol, you get the picture) and the rest of me isn't what the doctor ordered either. Plod on. Look at time and realise next bus is due to get to the next bus stop in about 9 minutes and I have no idea where the next bus stop is, and it's certainly nowhere in sight.

Put on a spurt. Get to road junction and see bus stop across a car park. I won't say I moved like greased lightening because it wouldn't be true. However I advanced on the bus stop like an offroad vehicle on a spree. Collapse on the seat and lean hot flesh (mine) against the cold glass. About two minutes later, bus appears. A narrow squeak by any measure.

Get back to town and actually have to sit in the square for 20 minutes before I have the energy to walk back to the hotel. Once there have a long cold drink of water and flake out.

It's the excitement, you know. At my age, you can only deal with so much.

Mind you, there's a goal to add: be thin and confident enough to use naturist beach.

I'll get back to you on that one.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
EMILYDOODLE 10/13/2012 9:26PM

  Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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FAVORITEAUNT84 10/7/2012 1:54AM

    Hahaha, we are so human, aren't we? Thank you for sharing your story, I can see myself doing much the same things. emoticon

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EWL978 10/6/2012 10:28PM

    Sounds like a good time was had by all !! Particularly enjoyed our visit to the beach!! Thanx for the memories you made.


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LIS193 10/6/2012 12:57PM

    Lovely soaps! What a great way to end your holiday, lovely scenery, a great lunch and a walk to round it out.

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JLEMUS1 10/6/2012 12:02PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SKMINNY 10/6/2012 10:55AM

    The memories u are going to have from this trip! Nature beaches, and all that lovely soap! BTW lovely pictures!

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IFEOMA4 10/6/2012 4:43AM

  emoticon ooohhhhhhhhhhhhh. emoticon

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LEXIE63 10/5/2012 4:29PM

    *pulls out magnifying glass to check photos for nudists*
Thankyou for sharing your adventure with us. Most inspiring! :-)
Lex xxx

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JLLOVETT 10/5/2012 1:08PM

    emoticon would be the look on my face if I stumbled upon a "naturist" beach!!
Sound like you had a great time, great pix - I truly enjoyed your blog!!!

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SPACEBOT1 10/5/2012 5:26AM

    Lovely, booze food and gratuitous nudity who could ask for more?

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MAMAOWLS 10/4/2012 10:33PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with all of us. I will miss reading all about your adve emoticon ntures each day. As nice as vacations are I'm sure you will be happy to get home. Have a safe trip home.

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1BEACHWALKER 10/4/2012 3:50PM

    emoticon except for the nude beach! emoticon I would react the same way as you did. This reminds me a lot of our area of Florida-really nice!! emoticon
Those dragonflies have been everywhere! I feel like I am in a horror movie with them buzzing around sometimes! Alfred Hitchcock's next movie---Dragonfly attacks! emoticon

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PURSUEJOY 10/4/2012 1:48PM

    Thanks for the lovely tour! What a wonderful day ~ and I'm not even wait...yes I am!!!

Naturalist beach, hu?...

And the meal sounds just fabulous! Glad you enjoyed...any lasting results may very well have been worth it! mmmmmmm
emoticon emoticon

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ATTACKFATCAT 10/4/2012 1:36PM

    Once you started talking about the naturist, I was a little nervous to keep scrolling through you pictures ;) I love the beach pictures!

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LISALGB 10/4/2012 1:28PM

    Sounds so exciting!! I hope you enjoy the soaps. I love homemade soaps - they feel so good on my skin.
Thanks for another wonderful and beautiful blog!

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CLARALAW 10/4/2012 12:10PM

    Lovely. Welcome back home.

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ESCHLETZ 10/4/2012 11:43AM

    What a great way to end your holiday.
Great walks, great food, great *ahem* scenery. It's almost a shame you didn't post some of those pictures of the beach. You could have blacked out their faces and put amusing little stamps on the 'naughty' bits ;o)

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STHAX10 10/4/2012 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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    Great Blog! Thank you for taking me along with you on your holiday!

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BKNOCK 10/4/2012 7:56AM

    Beautiful pictures! Sounds like fun.

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TDEMAIO2 10/4/2012 7:51AM

    You sure make me giggle : ) I just love your adventures :D emoticon

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KATHIC2 10/4/2012 7:08AM

  What fun! I really enjoy your travels.

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L1ZB3TH354 10/4/2012 2:15AM

    Thanks for taking us to France. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHRIS3874 10/3/2012 10:14PM

    Wow I am certain you did enough walking to kill off all of that food.

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EABL81 10/3/2012 9:45PM

    Okay, what next? I mean, how to you keep them down on the farm, once they've been to the south of France? You'll need to take some pretty spectacular walks once you're home to keep us all entertained. Don't worry about the extra calories these past couple of days - you'll get to walk them all off in short order emoticon

Thanks for a great (and very entertaining) vacation!

Comment edited on: 10/3/2012 9:46:05 PM

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JULIA1154 10/3/2012 9:29PM

  Thanks for yet another wonderful virtual vacation, complete with the lovely soaps to take home as gifts and souvenirs. I remember the fun of choosing at a lovely town on the coast of France - and the wonderful are aromas that lingered in my suitcase for months thereafter.

Have a lovely trip home.

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FRANCES-AGAPE 10/3/2012 8:55PM


! ! GOLLY ! !

That "natural" beach was just
what you needed to end with !

Im STLLL grinning

Énjoy your last night
Have a safe trip back home


> emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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ALIHIKES 10/3/2012 8:14PM

    WOW what a great blog! What an adventure! Love the photos, love the description of the lunch meal (and the naturist beach). Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 10/3/2012 8:12PM

    Not being educated in French food, I'm not sure of everything you ate (yay, Google, I will), but I loved the scenery. Glad you had a fabulous albeit hot time!

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KIPPER15 10/3/2012 8:10PM

    OOH LA LA, what a finish to "our" vacation. Lunch sounded wonderful and you did walk alot. So glad you found the soap. I am always so excited to get something like that when I have planned on it the whole time. Lavender is lovely. emoticon

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JACKIE542 10/3/2012 8:08PM

    emoticon emoticon Great pictures and great story, I think I would use some of that lavender soap for a nice hot relaxing bath. Thank you again for taking us along!

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CRANRANA 10/3/2012 8:05PM

  Dang-I'm kind of bummed that OUR vacation is nearly over! It's been a joy to read about your adventures. I may have to rethink next year's destination after your lovely blogs. Glad you had such a wonderful time in France.

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COUPONS0216 10/3/2012 7:49PM

    I'm glad your last day was fun, albeit harried at times! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures and making us feel as if we were there with you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LENIASTY 10/3/2012 7:30PM

    Very entertaining blog, LOVE IT! Thank you for giving us all a bright spark - and great pics! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIZSLIM 10/3/2012 7:19PM

    OK enough already. Too much. Now I'll just have to take me off to somewhere by the sea ASAP if not sooner.

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LINDAK25 10/3/2012 6:13PM

    You are such a hoot! I'm sorry that it's come to an end, I'm going to miss France! I've really enjoyed your vacation. I haven't been on vacation in a very long time. Thanks again for taking me along! What a beautiful place to visit.

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DNRAE1 10/3/2012 6:03PM

    And I was so full of sympathy for you...... emoticon ....and you had just overeaten!!! emoticon Loved the blog, and you deserved the meal!!! It was your last day and it was yours to enjoy. Have a safe trip home. Thanks again for taking us all on your trip to Hyeres.

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LIVEDAILY 10/3/2012 5:41PM

    Ooohhhh...last day?? It went by so quickly! I'm so glad you found your soaps! They look very nice! Haha! Lavendar! Your "last lunch" was quite a doozy, but I think, well deserved! It sounds as if you had a wonderful holiday!!

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    Enjoyed your day at the beach.... as to your last comment/goal thought...
I to would like to be comfortable enough in my skin that I would not care whether anyone saw me au naturale...
I don't believe, that how thin or round, tall or short, young or old you are, makes the real difference in regard to how covered you are on the beach/in public/in general... It really is how comfortable you are in Your skin/body.

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DALID414 10/3/2012 5:33PM

    Oh my! I was having my lunch while reading your blog, I almost choked on my rice when you realized the beach you stumbled on!! I think I would have reacted EXACTLY the same way!! emoticon

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KAREN608 10/3/2012 5:26PM

    What a last day, sun, soap, naturist beach, making the bus just in time...what a memory for you.

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NEW-CAZ 10/3/2012 5:23PM


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TARANITUP 10/3/2012 5:01PM

    How gorgeous!!!

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LYNCHD05 10/3/2012 4:56PM

    Good. Log...makes one feel like thy are there.

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KIMPY225 10/3/2012 4:52PM

    I love the pictures. Thank you for sharing.
and Artyfarty?! I am still cracking up about that one! I will probably use that from now on, thanks! emoticon

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MEDICGURL1769 10/3/2012 4:48PM

    As always, love it!

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MILLIE5522 10/3/2012 4:44PM

    I loved this! So funny!!! Got me thinking.....I wonder what I would look like with an all over tan? emoticon emoticon

Second thoughts....I'm not sure I want sand in places where the sun doesn't shine!

Comment edited on: 10/3/2012 4:46:10 PM

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JHUSTO01 10/3/2012 4:29PM


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THOMS1 10/3/2012 4:01PM

    I liked your blog. I thought it was interesting and with all of that walking maybe lunch wasen't so bad afterall. Have a wonderful rest of your vacation. emoticon

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SLUNDQUIS 10/3/2012 4:01PM

    beautiful pics

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