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Gorge du Verdon Itinerary and Activities

28th October 2017 - 13 min read

Les Gorges du Verdon or often called the Grand Canyon of Europe is one of the must-see natural wonders of Provence. We heard from Damar’s friend about this place for the first time. He suggested to go there for camping and he was right!! Frankly I never thought there is such place in Europe. I know I underestimate the nature that Europe has to offer too much. One of the reasons I think that way is because I am used to the flat ground surface of Netherlands.

Gorge du Verdon has such a great vibe. It is very touristy especially in the summer time. During summer time, you better try to catch the river quite early to avoid the crowd. It is worth visiting by anyone in need of a reality check on the passage of time. You should trust me when I say that floating along the lake Gorge feels super majestic. Just imagine centuries ago, it used to be a gigantic mountain and dropped little by little with water until it is split and become a beautiful blue flowing river. It’s called persistence! And I got to float on it 🙂

In this post I will walk through our activities in the 5 days 4 nights stay. Believe me, there’s no shortage of activities in Gorges du Verdon unless when the weather does not allow.

Day 1

We arrived in Nice airport in the morning and directly fetched our rented car that were awaiting. So happy that we got a car with open roof in such a sunny day. We stopped on our way to get all the utilities and food+water we might need in the camping site. On the way, we visit convenient store Intermarche in the city we passed by. The purpose was to be well stocked for our way and for the first 2 days in the camp at least.

We continued to take the route below, which is one of the most scenic drive in Europe. The last thing you would do is falling asleep in that type of scenery. Prepare a good playlist to listen while enjoying the beauty of nature or just have a life (or even trivial) talk with whom you have the drive with.


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One of a lot of stops we made on our way to Gorge du Verdon. Take your time and stop as much as you want, because the way back would be different and it’s worth the air you breath. 

After around 2,5 hours we finally arrived in our camping site. I was quite surprised with how western takes camping life to the very next level. Most of them are French, Dutch and German (obviously). They literally had every single thing ones have in the house except toilet. Whilst, our are just one mini tent that did not allow us to even stand tall. Luckily we both are small.

Somehow we were so tired, so after building up our tent, settled in and took a visit to the the close ‘beach’ that is just in front of our stay site, we fell asleep and woke when the sun was reaching to set. Look how beautiful it is..  We enjoyed it for a bit, cooked rice, instant noodle, and pouched eggs in our teeny tiny pot. Ahh the feeling to be in nature was just so worthwhile.

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-27 at 21.36.01


Day 2

We got ready at around 9, but unfortunately the wind was not very cooperative with our plan to hike. So we had to wait.. The sport activity was even all cancelled due to the bad weather. We just walked around the camp and played table tennis until around 1, then we had lunch with our canned and instant food. I don’t know why but in camp situation where food are limited, canned and instant food taste so good!

When the wind got calmer around 1.30 pm we headed to route D71 and started our hiking there. It was not an official hiking track or anything. We found this route on google as I looked for level easy for 5 miles. We started quite late, so to be safe we took the easy way.  Turned out we ended up in the military terrace that is prohibited to trespass. Yes we did not reach the peak, but it is okay, because the purpose of me hiking is to engage with nature and be in wild just with Damar (and wind sound + bird chirping). I got all that and sweat was bonus, so that made me very happy. That was just how I always picture the kind of relationship and experience I want to go through with Damar.

After that we just go back on our way further to D71 and enjoyed what we encountered on our way

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Day 3

If you go around September, you should start checking the weather forecast in order to plan your activities. You will eventually find it by the feeling of increased temperature or rain or by the sport activities worker telling you not possible to play with water. But before all efforts you make, keep yourself updated with weather forecast as Summer has slowly gone in that period.

We were planning to do the sport activity but the wind was too severe that day. So we went up there and drove along the villages nearby the camping site location.

Moustiers- Sante- Marie

Do not underestimate this village!! After we parked our car in a street parking spot, which was easy to find, we made a wrong turn and ended up in the only restaurant we could see. So we took a break and had coffee. I thought at that time, how small this village is. It is up the hill and it let you see the scenery to the green forest area in the lower level. Nice but tiny.

Little did we know, there was another turn to the city that we eventually took. The view I was looking at was mesmerizing. There was a spring flows through the cliff in the middle of the town and creates a waterfall which is provides water power. There were many pottery shops which made me gasps, so incredible. I can’t imagine it’s all man-handmade and supposedly by the local people. The village was built on terraces and you can hike meters up in the side of a cliff. See the video in this link.

Above the town, a gold-painted star hangs on a 225m-long chain suspended between two cliffs. Its origin, according to a legend popularised by Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, lies in the 10th century; the original star and chain have been replaced several times since then. The current star is about 50 years old. Ten years ago it fell after the chain snapped, and was rehung using a helicopter. (Source: Wikipedia



Sainte Croix

The beauty in this experience is not the village itself, but the road we passed to get through this village. Actually I always want to go to the Lavender field, and we surprisingly drove through it!!! I only could play with my imagination how even more beautiful it would be with full lavenders. No wonder I already found a lot of lavender based products in the other village. Well, after all it’s Provance.

The fully bloom time would be around Jun-Jul and Jul-Aug for harvesting period. I guess there is always a reason to come back 🙂


Lavender field without lavender

Day 4

Finally, although this is the day we would leave Gorge du Verdon, but it was exciting to do Kayak/Canoe in the beautiful famous Sainte- Croix lake. We went to the Bae de l’etoile. There are also another boat rental company in the opposite. Start early, but make sure that sun is already up to make a good picture lighting and also to give warmth.

We chose canoe out of ignorance. After that we learnt the difference and next time we would take kayak. The difference is canoe paddle has a blade on one end, while a kayak paddle is bladed at both ends. Canoe has the raising end in the boat and kayak has only one, the other end is flat.

By the way, the water was quite cold, but it’s worth to jump!Untitled

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We rented the canoe for 2 hours (30 eur) and once finished, we drove towards Castellane. On this way, we got hitch hiked for the second time during this trip. Funny enough, the 2 hitch hikers speaks quite a bit Indonesian. Damar and I were really surprised because they are French. They love Indonesia and they had lived there for 2 months. Oh what are the chances! For this hitch hike subject, I’d suggest to do it only when you feel comfortable. You’ll find a lot of them waving in the street.

My one and only thought, do something good and greatness will come back to you. Also as my dad says, be kind and positive, everything will be okay when your intention is good. We have extra seats and we love getting to know new people while listening to their stories. So why not? 🙂


It is a small town in the Provencal Alps on the Route Napoléon. Castellane has about 1,600 inhabitants. It has the distinction of being the least in population sub-prefecture of France. It is quite big comparing with the other villages, unfortunately we did not have much time to go around. But if you have more time, it’s a must to explore! We aimed to pass the cliff side before dark.

Because we had such an early flight, we wanted to find a city nearby in which we could also explore a bit. We drove via D2 towards Cagne- Sur-Mer. We do not have pictures in Cagne-Sur-Mer but I completely fell in love. It’s so petite, beautiful and warm. There’s a castle in there and we stayed just next to it.

Handy Tips

In Gorge du Verdon: We stayed in a camping site called La source. Highly recommended. Price: 28eur per night

In Cagne sur Mer: We stayed in Chateau Le Cagnard. Price: 60 eur per night

Getting Around: Do yourself a favor and rent a car. You’ll be glad with that decision.

Pack: For Verdon Gorge you’ll definitely want to bring snacks and water. For more, check out my other blog post.

Kayaking/canoeing: We paid 30Euros to rent for two hours. The price includes a life vest and parking is free.

Europe France

Gorge du Verdon Tips and Trick

25th October 2017 - 9 min read

It is no doubt that South of France is a must destination to visit especially in Summer time. I had been there once and stayed in Nice as well as visit Monaco with my friends. Now, it would be a total different kind of experience since Damar and I wanted to go for camping. We always wanted to go camping to see how we liked it and if so, to repeat it in the future. Both of us love nature so much, so we started from the friendly one. Camp in the Camping Site is a friendly step, note that it is not allowed to wild camp in Europe. Although, we met a few hitch hikers who did such, BUT only for a night.

The nature was jaw dropping and I literally had so many breath taking moment. Gorge du Verdon is located in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. The Gorges du Verdon is about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) long and up to 700 meters (2296.59 feet) deep. At the end of the canyon, the Verdon River flows into the man-made lake, the Lac de Sainte-Croix. The gorgeous turquoise-green color river.And oh! not forget to mention, the road trip via Napoleon route was a moment I would never forget.

Where to land?

We chose to fly to Nice, some people also goes to Marseille. More or less it takes around the same duration. We chose Nice because the flight was cheaper (obviously! :P). Why pay more, when it’s not more efficient?


*Please note that the map is only to show the duration, not necessarily the exact same route we took.


We intended to rent a car there in France. However, we had only a narrow option due to no credit card. None of the car rental would rent out their vehicles without a proof of ownership of credit card from the rider which is understandable. It is not a good example, but Damar finally found a way. He found the ‘snapcar‘ version of France, which is called ouicar. Knowing neither of us had no credit card, the owner was still letting us rent. I do think it’s against the rule of the company, but we were really lucky! Luckily also, we got a very cool car with open roof. We rode along the road feeling like a millionaire (just a little!).

So rent a car and arrange before your flight so you have a security once landed in terms of transportation. Public transportation is not recommended and it is quite difficult too to be flexible.

Here you can find some of options of car rental in France.

Road Trip and Route

Prepare yourself mentally and your photograph gear because this road trip would be one of the most beautiful car journey. It is one of the finest, most scenic and exciting mountain drives in the world. There is no other mountain road route of such duration and awesome beauty so rewarding to drive. Damar and I often gasped after making a turn, because what we saw next was more and more beautiful. At over 730M up we could see down into the gorge.Image result for napoleon route

Source: The Route Napoléon is the route taken by Napoleon in 1815 on his return from Elba. 



Our pose on our way

Driving the Verdon Gorge puts the car on the mountainside of the road. Some people wonder whether or not it is safe to drive along side the mountain. From Damar’s perspective, it was not as scary as he thought, because with the narrow roads, there were still barriers on the cliff side. Just make sure that you stay in the road and be extra vigilant with other cars. Sometimes they who come from the opposite way do not want to share the road.

From people’s review, during Summer (end of Jun, Jul, Aug), there are usually traffic jam where cars are in line, so maybe avoid it? That is when the people with manual car is tested with their driving skill 😉 It’s worth every nail-biting moment though.


Skip to 2:00 to see how the view in the road.

Where to camp?

There are literally a lot of camping site options in this area. We went to ‘Camping La Source‘ that rates 28 euro plus 5 euro of electricity. We had no complains, customer service was so good, the sanitary was always controlled hence super duper clean. I would suggest to search a camp in the area of the lake. Our camp site was just 2 minutes (100 m) away from the beach lake. Most of the time it was more quiet than the main lake, so you could have your own quality time with yourself, partner or family.

The camp site had some entertainment options, they had kayak-canoe0-boat rental as well as table tennis. It’s the heaven of water sport and the camping provided your needs. Too bad we did not have chances to use the rental facility due to the time restrain and bad weather.

Tips: Bring your own dishes cleaning tools! And no need to take electricity if you only need it for your phone. You can do this in the reception. 




A view 2 mins away from camping site

What to pack?

  • During the period of September – October, the weather might be unstable. I did not really this coming because I assumed that South of France will still be relatively warm. During the day, sun was out but being in a shadow would make you chilled. And it could be windy as well which what happened in the 2nd day we were there. In that case always bring extra sweater, socks and some layers!!!!!
  • Tent + sleeping bag
  • Toiletries
  • Flip flop – for going to the toilet etc. Don’t bring the fancy expensive one as it would get wet
  • Sneakers or mountain shoes
  • Cutlery
  • Lunch or food box
  • Reusable bottle
  • Plastics for dirty clothes and bin
  • Water, food, snacks, rice can be bought in the supermarket there
  • Sunblock + swimsuit + sunglasses
  • Stove + gas (in our case, we need the cable connector to connect French gas and Dutch stove)

Where to shop?

The campsite backs on to the village of Les Salles sur Verdon which means that campers can make use of the many shops (bakery, supermarket etc. ), restaurants and other service.

You can buy your groceries at 8 à Huit which is 3 minutes driving from the camping site.


Europe France Life Thoughts

Weekend at Refugee Camp Grand Synthe, North of France

28th September 2016 - 14 min read

12 Sept 2016

I snuggled with Damar just 15 minutes before I wrote this post, I was very upset taking a closer look to the news of Calais strike today (after I received an email chain from TOMS carrier about the possibility of delayed goods due to the strike – says a person who works in a supply chain department :)). Freight drivers blockaded the main road leading to the port of Calais demanding French authorities to shut down a refugee camp or the ‘Jungle’. Drivers want to force the government to address what they say are increasingly violent roadside attacks and rising human and economic costs associated with stowaways trying to get to the U.K.

I was sad because I know I cannot do anything to make the situation any better. I cannot even picture the feeling of those cornered refugees. There might be some people who do some harms to other people, but the majority of them do not do it. All of them have nowhere to go and they certainly do not choose to be in this position. Calais has more than 2500 refugees who want to get the asylum to the UK, for the sake of having peace and to create a better life. Seems like they do not acknowledge what has been going on in the UK recently. But who can blame them, they do not want so much, they just want to live a normal life with open opportunities.

Anyway speaking of which, on the 26-28 of August, I was lucky and humbled to be able to get the chance to visit the refugee camp, not in Calais, but in Grand Synthe, also in the Northern part of France. Having witnessed it, Grand Synthe is relatively in much better condition than Calais. I was there in the occasion of TOMS’ Tomorrow’s Project. One of my TOMS colleague, Marie, who is French, and other 9 French women initiated a program called Le Recho (REfuge. CHaleur. Optimisme). This program is in the culinary area and the aim is to provide healthy food with full of nutrition. Most likely the food provided in such camp are fulfilling in terms quantity (such as rice, noodles, pasta piece of meat, small amount of veggies), but not quality.

Nutrition is actually plays a very important role to combat depression in which could trigger sickness more easily. There is a monthly budget allocation from TOMS to any project that its employees have, and by the by it does not have to be a project from the employee directly but could also be a project from friends/family in your surrounding. I personally felt very privileged to have this kind of opportunity because as I know there are a lot of people who are willing to help and/or donate but does not have an easy access to. For me, this was just simply coming to my way.

I went with 5 other people consist with 2 Indonesian Women, 1 French Man, 1 French Woman, and 1 Dutch Man. We rented the car ourselves at Sixt in Amsterdam. We took half day from the office off (paid and not counted as a day off due to the voluntary activity – such a blessing!). It was Friday thus my manager did not mind at all for me to leave after lunch. We gathered at the rental car place and started driving from there. We were all a little bit anxious because of the safety that other colleagues, who was there a week before, have warned us prior the departure. I could have been bailed but I decided not to, I guess because as said earlier, this is such an opportunity to experience. I re-winded why I ended up where I am now. I wanted to do something more meaningful and close to feel more fulfilling by what I do everyday even though the impact might be small. And when what I do everyday gets me nearly to the extra philanthropist activity, I would not say No.

It took around 4-5 hours from point A to B. We arrived at 19.00 in Grand Synthe and went straight to the camp just to check in and have a quick look around. I was nervous because I did not know what or who I would encounter. When I entered the camp, I remember what they all said to not look at people’s face/eyes especially another gender for too long, do not take pictures, do not make that much noises, do not wear over exposed clothes. I did everything except looking at people’s eyes/face. I guess I would feel respected when people greet and look me in the face/eye. I believe, in this situation, smile does not do any harm but warming, the eyes tell that there are other people care about their beings.

There were a lot of guys, wait, to be honest, I only saw Men. Most women were asked by their spouse or family to stay inside the house. Some households can be very lucky to have stoves inside to cook. Those are sold around there, and only people with money can buy that kind of luxury. After the entrance, there was a power charge station where the guys used for charging, hangout, simply chat with others, or just to be alone, there was a small table where some refugees sold several items (food, tissues, snacks, etc), there was a small barbershop in the corner, and there is also a hotdog/snack place nearby. Grand Synthe refugee camp depends on the food 100% to the donations. Any food there is free expect the one that is run by refugees.

That 1st day went by so quickly. We were warned to be out from the camp before it got dark, because the darkness brings all the insecurity within. Those are the times when the smugglers do their job. By smugglers, I mean people who get refugees from the war countries in to France. These people also come from war countries, but they slightly are more lucky in terms of financial and sly in terms of using that privilege. They demand those refugees to pay a fortune to get them out of the country. Back in the past couple of months, they have to have 5000-8000 euro per person to get in to the boat with no guarantee they will arrive safe and sound. Nowadays, it is around 10000 euro. Those refugees are rather educated and rich in their home country, I cannot image what about other unfortunate people who do not have that amount of money in their saving.





Our stay 🙂 More than perfect. We felt very safe.

It was a hard day….. I could not loosen up thinking how fortunate and how grateful I am born in a safe country with a family who love me whole-heartedly and now live in so much developed country where thousand of opportunities open. I just have sooooo much uncountable options.

The 2nd day started at 08.00. We stopped for a quick breakfast in the Brasserie nearby our stay and we drove straight to the kitchen. The kitchen was not inside the refugee camp as there was already people who run the kitchen there, who is the refugee themselves. We wanted to avoid any conflict possible, hence the rented kitchen. The kitchen was at the back of a theatre. I am not sure whether it was rented or donated, but surely the mayor is there everyday and help preparing the food. He is very warm-hearted and earned so much respect. He was the one who fought the government to create a proper neighborhood for refugees. It looked horrible, muddy, vulnerable back then, now much better (shown in the above pictures).



Sarita, the other Indonesian from TOMS 😉


Giom- the French guy, is ‘cooking’ 🙂

img_5999The food is all vegetarian – so much respect for the organizer! I was worried with the fact that most refugees are from Muslim country, that they would refuse non-halal food. But the doubt was answered clearly. We cooked until lunch time, the quality was undoubtedly high class. Especially because it was cooked with heart. Hopefully the love could be delivered through food. That day, the food was bulgur salad, sponge cake and banana. The hit was in the cake, it was finished in a split second, I guess because it was a luxury that they could not always get. They eat something to get through the day. We served the food and then ate together with all of them. And for the dinner, we cooked together with the refugees over there to involve them in the activity to avoid any power struggle. Because we did not want to dominate anyone, we were there to help.


Left to right: Laurens (Dutch) – Nadia (fellow Indonesian) – Giom (French)

In between the time, we went to check out the women Centre. We brought some old kids clothes given by my colleagues’ friends to be donated to the women centre inside the camp. I checked on the wish list board, it filled with normal woman stuff, they need make up, tights, hair dye, literally, they do not want so much. I wish I had all the money in the world to bring all they want/need.













What I have learnt from the trip:

  • You have to experience something yourself in order give judgement and put things into perspective
  • There are so many hatred out there, including the local themselves towards refugees. Do not hate things you do not know!
  • Those refugees are not bad people, they were once a normal people with normal life and opened opportunities like all of us, but their country happened to be in a war
  • The people that are in the refugees are not all victims from wars, there are also people from other countries who would like to get into the UK. I personally think, these kind of people need to be filtered and less prioritized
  • Language of love always works!
  • Most of the people there are Kurdish, some from Turkey, and Afghanistan. These different cultures could possibly spark a conflict between them
  • I learnt from those people that there is always HOPE. To have the privilege to not to be in a war country, to have  a lot options should NEVER be taken for granted. We should make the best out of our privileges. 

I am very glad to always be reminded again and again…. There is a reason for each human to be born in this world, one of those is to help one another.

Europe France

Cote d ‘azur – Nice and Monte Carlo

10th October 2015 - 7 min read

Oct 2nd – Oct 5th

My office good friends and I have been planning to go for a little trip together for a while. They are literally the rainbow in my days, the light at the end of the tunnel everyday at work. It all started in the induction day when we were all rookie. We happened to start relatively in the same period. Hence the simultaneous office induction.

Anyway, after a year talking about it, we just needed to execute and make it happen. So one day, we browsed literally all the budget airlines before finally deciding to go to Cote d ‘azur (English: French Riviera) considering the flight price and the weather forecast for September (the only month we all are free). French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. It consists different cities in the coast line, the famous ones are Nice, Cannes, Antibes, St. Tropez and one little country in between called Monaco. Actually the best time to visit this place is around July-Aug, because the sky would be very blue and the temperature will just be really warm like a proper Mediterran area. However, it has the downside in which the amount of tourist that grows rapidly as well as the sky high flight tickets during its peak season. The easiest access for flight is Nice and that is where we landed and stayed.

After Andalusia, with hopping on hopping off to new places, I wanted to just have a chill holiday full of relaxing time by the beach. Ironically we could not really do so due to the heavy rains, that fyi, only happens very seldom in a year and that just decided to occure when we were there haha we just had to laugh and cherish it.

So we flew on Friday with the early flight. Once we landed, we were already hungry and decided to go around looking for breakfast nearby our AIRBNB stay. We could not go straight to the place for the owner’s domestic issue. It was pouring rain, so we went to one famous Patissarie chain named PAUL. We had some pastries (it’s a must if you visit France, the best place to have Pastry and Sweets) then went to the museum waiting room to literally wait (until the rain a bit stops and to kill the time).

We stayed right in the city center that eases all the access to go everywhere. It’s recommended to stay around the city, especially if you want to go to the beach and to other cities with public transportation.

The first day we just went around the old town (Vieux Nice) then continued to the Parc du Chateu. We enjoyed the view of Nice (not really, because of the rain), we were just looking around with sad faces. We actually looked for some bites in the old town, but it’s so pricey, as it’s where all the tourists go, so we did not prefer as usually the taste is also average. I’d like to go to a good proper place, with an extraordinary taste. We often went to supermarket (Monoprix) to buy groceries and cooked our selves. Nice is a city full with tourists and considered as fancy place for decent people, so it is kind of self-explanatory that the price of food or hangout (especially in the tourist part) is relatively more expensive. That  is what we did also for the 1st day dinner. We tried to live as French, we bought all kind of cheeses (blue cheese, goat cheese, you name it) with bagguette, but then with Pasta. Easy, cozy, and yummy. Nice is also famous with the Rosé, and the girls bought to accompany the dinner with. Not bad at all!

Saturday was still raining really hard, but we decided to go out and have a look at the city a bit and then continued to Monte Carlo, Monaco. It only took 40 mins by bus and the ticket was around 2 eur. On the way back, we decided to take train to see another point of view. Bus is better because it went through the coast where we could see the beauty of the ocean and the typical view in French Riviera. It is recommended to take the bus early in the morning as it goes full quickly.






And the next day FINALLYYYYYY the sun was up and no rain. Hence the azzures in the below pictures. Nice is one of the rare beach with pebbles, and we just did not want to miss it. We went to a little part of the beach called Villefranche-sur-Mer, the part where not so many people in it. Felt like private 😉


IMG_2562[1] IMG_2569[1]  IMG_2523[1]




Last night





Europe France

J’adore Paris

28th July 2011 - 3 min read
We had so much fun in Paris.
The places we visited were the most crucial to be seen by tourist (like me :p).
Every time I came visit, there’s always a different and indescribable sense about Paris.
I love nearly everything about this city. The building, venue, shopping centre, mall, department stores, restaurant, and not forget to mention, the most important part, is the citizen.
By the citizen, I mean the people living there with their irregular sexy accent. However, they do not bother starting conversation or even answering in English. Thank God, there was a guardian angel named Ipa 🙂 He speaks French fluently and knows pretty much little things about France, so when we were suddenly stranded in a place nowhere, had no idea where to go, what vehicles to take, he could easily ask, and voila, we are back on the right track ! Alhamdulillah…
Anywayss.. always good to hear the sound of people talking French next to me, especially when it’s your boyfriend whom I adore. I’m thrilled !
Followed by unplanned journey, we did not really have intention to visit a particular, except the Eiffel Tower (of course!). We just adhered what’s in mind atm, hence unluckily some of what we wanted to see were closed already! But doesn’t matter, we could always just snap a bit picture outside which shown a clue that we’ve been there. That cheers us up 🙂
Enjoy the pictures !

Toodles !