After almost 3 weeks of exploring France, I really thought I had seen it all. Charming towns, massive monuments, ornate churches, opulent castles… All of these and more have dominated my Photo Tour schedule, and I really felt like I was getting to know France pretty well.
But you know what? That’s the funny thing about traveling – just when you think you’ve seen it all, that’s when you’re thrown a total curve ball.
Today, the Camargue was that curve ball.
Located south of Arles, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Rhône River delta, the Camargue is a natural region of France famous for its marshy terrain and abundant wildlife. With thousands of animals calling it home, this area is recognized as a regional park and nature reserve, spanning a total area of 820 km².
Imagine flying through ever-changing landscapes while stealing glances at flamingo-laden lakes, endless wheat fields, hoards of bulls and majestic herds of white Camarguais horses. I genuinely felt like I had walked into a nature documentary! Never in a million years did I think a tour of Southern France would bring me to see flamingos in their natural habitat, but watching them stretch their bright pink wings and fly off against the backdrop of a foggy lake… Now, that’s a sight I won’t ever forget!
As we drove through the region from the comfort of our coach, we made ample stops along the way to capture photos of the wildlife, while our guide provided us with interesting facts about the area and its inhabitants. For instance, did you know that the pink vibrancy of flamingo wings comes from a special type of prawn that they eat, or that there’s over 20,000 flamingos living in this region alone? I adore animals, so this visit was the best unexpected surprise ever.
We completed our excursion with a visit to the charming seaside town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Lying just along the Mediterranean Sea, this town is a quaint mass of little shops, restaurants and sandy beaches. Though our visit was brief, breathing in that sea air made this West Coast girl very happy.
And the craziest part of all this is that everything happened before we even ate lunch! Such is the absolute insanity of life on board a CroisiEurope river cruise. Never a dull moment – really! Sometimes, I am in complete awe of how much can happen in a day on this Photo Tour. I mean, the same day that I watched flamingos wander in the Camargue, I later watched the sunset from above the clouds, somewhere between Marseilles and Strasbourg:
My life lately has been absolutely insane, and I feel so lucky that I get to live this amazing experience, and share it with all of you. While my time cruising along the Rhône was far too short, big cities and new adventures await along the Danube. I can’t wait to visit some of Europe’s most famous capitals!
I’ll talk to you all soon from the MS Vivaldi!