Van Tripping: Part 3

Waking up in San Sebastian with a view straight out across the ocean was awesome. Admittedly, the view was tempered slightly by the hangover, the drizzle and the damp clothes, but still…

With the rain starting to clear once more, we got our chairs out and, following English tradition, fired up the camping stove for a nice cup of tea, before piling into the vans to head back up into France. It was time to get some surf in, and with the swell due to arrive at the same time as the sun, we were all feeling pretty excited.

Wave Aquitaine surfing sandbars

Our destination was St Girons Plage, about halfway up the coast between Biarritz and Biscarosse. There’s not much there, just a great beach, a lot of trees, a tiny supermarket and a few restaurants… perfect. We booked into a campsite tucked into the pine forest behind the dunes and headed straight out.

Pine trees woods Aquitaine Landes

The sun was finally shining and the beach looked incredible, stretching for miles and miles. The surf was quite small, but great fun, and there was nobody else in the water.

The campsite was pretty much empty, apart from a couple of German surf camps who seemed to spend a lot more time re-enacting the volleyball scene from Top Gun than actually surfing. It kept the girls in our party entertained and meant more waves for us so I’m not complaining. I couldn’t get “Playing with the boys” out of my head the whole time we were there though…

Vantripper Aquitaine Landes France Camper

The following three days all merge into one hazy mess of surfing, playing guitar, walking Otto on the beach, sitting around outside the vans, drinking beer and listening to weird grunting noises echoing across the woods from the volleyball court. The swell did arrive, but the sandbanks that it breaks over weren’t quite working. Still, we had a few good sessions, got a bit sunburnt and achy and, most of all, relaxed. A lot. This was what I had pictured.

Beach France dog surf

As our trip neared its end, my wife even started talking about how we would kit out ‘our’ campervan. I’m still not sure she’s that keen to do it again, but once the sun finally came out, I think she enjoyed it a lot more than she had expected, so I’ll take that as a moral victory and keep badgering her to let me buy one.

Schnauzer football beach jumping

After heading up to the Dordogne for a couple of days for a great family wedding (our excuse for taking this trip in the first place), we set off on the long drive back to Italy. France is massive. Like, really, really big. I knew it was quite big, but seriously… it just doesn’t need to be that big!

Anyway, the long drive gave me a lot of time for reflection, and I realised I was actually quite looking forward to going ‘home’. France is a great country (apart from being too big), but everyone drives too slowly, the food really isn’t that great, there are far too many roundabouts and then there’s the people, most of whom are just too… well, French. No offence to any of my French friends, I like you, honest, but how do you manage to be so helpful and friendly while at the same time being so awkward and condescending?

A few days away and I was actually longing for Italy… for the pot-holed roads, the crazy drivers, the intrusive questions and, of course, the good pizza. What is happening to me?

We hired our campervan through Vantripper. It’s a great way to see that part of Europe, and it’s a great part of Europe! Go check them out…

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8 responses to “Van Tripping: Part 3

  1. Well, nearly is good enough I reckon! I still think France could afford to lose a few hundred kilometres in the middle. There would still be plenty of space for the cheese and the strikers, and everyone knows the Italians make better wine anyway! 😉

  2. Great photos, as always! Road tripping and surfing. What a combo, right up there with heavy drinking and a loving woman who’ll undress you and tuck you in when you pass out. Been too long since I did either. Nice post.

    • Thanks! Too true… it’s a great combination and one I really must do more often. I’m getting too old for the heavy drinking, and been married too long for the tucking in when I pass out, but I can still just about manage a surf! You’re surely pretty well situated there for some great surf trips… no excuses!

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