We woke up to trouble in paradise… it was raining!  Actually, it was overcast but turned in to a sideways, torrential downpour.  Our original plan of getting to the beach by 9:30 a.m. was discarded (although we could’ve sat anywhere we wanted to!) and we thought it was an excellent excuse to laze around in bed for another hour or so.  We were thankful to have a decent selection of food in our fridge, because our rumbling tummies combined with insane rain would’ve left us in quite the quandary.  Instead, we took store-bought crêpes, filled them with caramel sauce, rolled them up, and dipped them in whipped cream!  Add on a side of melon and a coffee (also covered in whipped cream) and we have the breakfast of champions!

The rain started to clear and so we hopped in the car for a 45 minute drive to the neighbouring seaside town of Sainte Maxime.  The drive was beautiful, and we were quite lucky because the rain kept the people away and so we had beautiful vistas and very few cars.  As we approached Ste. Maxime we found ourselves in very heavy traffic with very little parking to be found.  We doubled back and parked on the outskirts of the town which meant we had about a 1 km walk on a pretty seaside sidewalk.  The weather was perfect for walking as it was still warming up after the storm.  We encountered a cute little Italian restaurant overhanging the water and were drawn in by its beautiful windows overlooking the harbour.  Within 10 minutes of sitting down a fighter jet started swooping and circling over the water – it was loud (and a little confusing), but very entertaining.  Then a whole troop of them started flying in formation and we found ourselves watching an airshow from an excellent vantage point!  We discovered that the real airshow is actually in two days and they were just practicing; if this is practice I can only imagine what the real show will be like!

Our main reason for visiting Ste. Maxime was to catch a ‘little green boat’ over to St. Tropez.  I had read on Trip Advisor that it’s a good way to get in to St. Tropez to avoid the crazy traffic and parking.  The green boats leave every 15 minutes, and it’s a very reasonable price for the 15-20 minute trip across the water.  On that short jaunt you are literally manoeuvering around cruise ships, yachts, and various water taxis.  It’s fascinating! 

The only reason I wanted to see St. Tropez is because it’s constantly in the tabloids as one of the playgrounds of the rich and famous.  What makes it so special?  I needed to know.  We saw our fair share of expensive boutiques (if anyone wants a pair of €695 olive green Christian Dior hightop sneakers I can point you in the right direction).  It was crowded, very crowded, and it was way too chaotic for our tastes.  It was interesting to see for the short time we were there, but I feel no need to go back.  The harbour we entered was funny because we were surrounded by huge yachts and yet encountered buildings that reminded me of a small Italian village. When we left we were stuck in a yacht superhighway traffic jam - it’s not every day that you encounter that!

By the time we returned to Ste. Maxime and took the walk back to our car the temperature had increased drastically and the walk seemed about twice as long.  We couldn’t believe the amount of traffic still driving in to the town – it was even more than when we had arrived.  That’s always a good time to leave… and so home it was; the kids were anxious to hit the beach and jump some waves.  I think these last two days of driving and exploring has tuckered us out a bit and tomorrow may be a beach day.  The other 3 members of my family could do that all day, every day – but I get a bit antsy.  We will see what plays out.  :)

Dinner tonight was at a delicious little place called 1st.  The food was excellent, and even better was the waiter, Ben, who was fantastic.  We have become accustomed to strangely erratic service with random people doing random things – this attributes (or stems from) the no-tipping policy around here.  Chicken or the egg?  Not sure, but this guy tonight was so dedicated and interesting, and he really added to our evening.  Julia ate her entire pot of mussels, and the waiter was so impressed we thought she should win a t-shirt saying, “I ate my mussels, look at my muscles!” 

Addendum/Note:  I posted yesterday’s blog before we went for dinner, but I’d like to add a picture of the salad I ordered.  It was described as a buffalo mozzarella, ‘heart of the beef’ tomato, and arugula salad.  I imagined a regular type Caprese salad and assumed that ‘heart of the beef’ loosely translated to beefsteak – a large heirloom tomato.  The picture doesn’t do justice to the size of the salad – it could’ve fed my entire family! Wowzers, they weren’t messing around!  And yes, it was delicious.  And no, I didn’t finish it.  (PS – that’s a giant slice of grilled eggplant in case you couldn’t quite place it.)


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