Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nature Walk; The Mobile Home Beach, Salt Industry plus Snakes and Spice

11.06.11 Nature Walk; The Mobile Home Beach, Salt Industry plus Snakes and Spice at the Saturday Market
Let me start with a walk on the wild side. Missed the pony rides at Domaine de la Palissade in a place about as far south as you can go in the Camargue. So settled for a walk and then added another one in this nature reserve which includes many hectares of typical Camargue countryside.


Temperatures this afternoon were about 25 degrees as we strolled out. Took in three hides but not much luck, spotting just an avocet and an egret at the first one, a family of swans at the third and a view of the Grand Rhone at the second. In between, a startled pheasant crossed our path and then a family of goldfinch displayed their considerable style in flight. All in all, an interesting walk, or two!, through the scrubby Camargue, all for just 3 euro.
Earlier we had halted at a view point for the salt industry, and it is an industry. The view was close to a village called Salin de Giraud. Flat shallow lagoons, all of a pinkish colour, full with sea water which then evaporates in the hot sun, leaving behind huge salt deposits, seemingly easy pickings for the industry.
We finished the trip a few miles past the nature reserve on a wild beach, huge and surrounded by hundreds of mobile homes. Sun, sand and waves all over the place and just one bar cum restaurant cum shop: Chez Cathy. Otherwise, no facilities whatsoever but the mobile home owners were having a ball in this free-for-all, some settling in for the season by building semi-permanent surrounds. Remember the Ford boxes in Crosser?
In the morning, when the temperatures were about 22 degrees, we visited the Saturday Market in Arles. It was big last week, even bigger this time. Won’t bore you with the shopping details but in addition to the mundane essentials, we stocked up on spices and herbs and this time bought the smaller mussels, always a better tastier bet than the big ones!