This is the mighty river Lez taken today, just outside Prades le Lez, a little before the official start of Spring, one of those glorious sunny days that herald the much-anticipated end of winter. A biting reminder that we should not yet hang up our scarves, however, was felt in the piercing wind that felt like it had come straight from Siberia, but did ensure an azur sky.
Spurred with a desire to flex the old joints and get the boys whacked out, we piled the bikes into the boot of the 405 (that's the reason I bought it, so I could do just that!), and drove the short distance to the carpark at the start of the river pathway. It's a popular walk, but we got there just after 2pm so arrived before the Sunday crowds.
My youngest is a keen cyclist, and although too young for gears, raced ahead with the determination of a champion. This picture was taken from a little hump-backed bridge not 200m from the road where we played Pooh Sticks.
The path leads into the park of Restinclieres where we often go to play in the sizeable playground. This time, however, we continued past the tables with jacketed families enjoying their first opportunity to have a picnic, and found an exciting mound of earth with tracks plowed into it from mountain bikes ascending its steeply-sloped curves. Naturally, the boys wanted to attack this challenge to their cycling prowess and with whoops of glee sped onwards and upwards, to finish either triumphantly the king of the castle, or stoically fallen over to be rescued and pulled up to the top.
After a brief respite, we headed off to the river again, to the source of this ambling little waterway. It's an incredibly pleasant spot, again with a wooden table and benches for picnics, because the French do like to enjoy their views from the other side of a well-filled plate and a glass of something red. It's shallow enough to either wade across or to take a mountain bike, with a 'VTT' post indicating the route to take for bikes. Over on the other side is the 'parcours de santé' where we go to jog and do exercises, in a corner of the garrigue set aside for this purpose.
We were not prepared for the challenge of a water crossing, preferring to search for flat stones to spin across the water, jumping the outcropping rocks and sinking inevitably into the mossy weeds.
Refreshed, and starting to experience the rumblings of discontented stomachs, and an urge for a nice cuppa, we headed back, stopping only to charge up and down the mound again and to pound along the path back to the car.
It was an especially lovely afternoon, spending a couple of hours taking the boys out for fun and adventure. Even my eldest agreed it was better than playing on the computer or sitting inside with a board game. Success! Contact has been made.
Over and out.