Friday, 3 October 2014

Ascending the Dune du Pyla and picnicking by pretty fab beach

So, as you can see from the photo of Dave descending the Dune du Pilat (or du Pyla
Dave of the Dunes 
depending on which signs you read), we successfully undertook or climb of Europe's largest sand dune yesterday! The up was cunningly hidden behind an array of tat stalls through which the intrepid explorer had to pass before being confronted by a surprising otherworldly sight. The dune soars up out of the edge of a massive dark wood forest and, from one spot only, a trail of puffing tourists climb a lengthy set of plastic stairs to reach the top. I admit it sounds tackier than it actually looked and we probably wouldn't have got to the top without their aid as we didn't spot the path we eventually descended until we had walked some way along the summit. The dune stretches out into the distance for miles! We saw the alternative view of it from the beach at its foot on the side opposite the forest and the section shining white was perfectly reminiscent of the glaciers we saw from the road in Iceland. It's certainly a powerful sight.

We were discouraged from swimming under the dune by many signs warning of the danger of being entombed should it collapse. Instead we climbed down a wooden staircase to look and take photos, then pottered of to Pyla s/Mer for a picnic lunch in a park. Pyla's beach is sandy with invitingly calm waves that are chilly for a couple of minutes but soon warm up. There's benches and green space above the beach but a surprising lack of cafes. The only one we found wasn't serving. We spent a pleasant hour or two swimming and sunbathing before returning to our campsite.

You can just see the dune in the distance 

Our active day was continued with five games of table tennis in the early evening and I won some of them! It is a pretty rubbish table here with hardly any bounce and the sun angle from one end is blinding, but even so ... ! Definite improvement! We're thinking of moving on tomorrow, partly in search of a better ping pong table and a flat boule court, partly to get away from chainsaw pruning - we could be at Alvor! - and partly to avoid some rain that's headed this way. Perhaps a shame to only stay at Ker Helen four nights as it is a pretty site and has good wifi, but there's so much more out there to see.

Before I forget again, a late photo for Andy and Barbara. Dave took this outside an Asiatic restaurant on the Ile de Re. Bring back any memories?

Decorated tuk tuk on Ile de Re 

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