Monday, June 22, 2009

Mistral affects our afternoon

Marseille has been getting hit by the Mistral winds since Saturday, which has put a damper on things we have wanted to do outdoors. This afternoon, we figured that we could go hiking in Luminy woods and be protected from the winds.

We took the bus all the way out there just to find out that the Calanques were closed! The sign said they are shut down to hikers until the end of August! NOOOOOO!!! We knew they shut down in July-Aug due to the dry summer and fire hazard, but this is early! We had hoped to get a few more hikes in before leaving Marseille.

So instead of hiking in the woods, we took the bus to the beach at Parc Boreley. The beaches were empty, minus a few people jogging, some kite surfers, and some wind surfers. The 37 mph Mistral winds made it unbearable for anything else. Luckily, not all of the beaches are sandy, because when the wind kicks up the sand, it's painful!

We could see smoke in the distance and realized that there was a fire over in the woods near the Calanques. There were planes dropping water on the fire, and we could see the flames going up rather high, even though we were very far away from the fire. By the time we walked down the beaches, the fire had been put out and hopefully no one was hurt or property damaged. No wonder they had the woods closed off today! We really haven't had any rain in a month and with the winds, a fire could spread very quickly.

As we walked along the beaches, we enjoyed watching the kite surfers play in the water, doing twists, jumps, and pretty much flying at some points. The wind sufers were enjoying the water too, and some of them had to be newbies, as they were crashing a lot.

Walking head on into the Mistral takes your breath away and makes it very hard to have a conversation or even take a step. We are exhausted from fighting the winds back to the bus, but enjoyed our time out.

HERE are some pictures from the beach.

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