Bluestar reaches the coast and meets german hippies

We were just around 20 minutes away from Saint Tropez and it was getting late. Crusing on local roads we were looking for somewhere to stay. We came across and Aire by a river which looked ideal. Aires in France are free stop overs usually by the motorway with very basic facilities (if any). This one however was a bit different. There were power lines and water pipes running on the ground all over the place and the motor-homes/caravans looked fully set up for log term stay rather than just a nights sleep. After closer inspection we realized that this Aire has been squatted by what looked like some kind of a gipsy tribe. Unfortunately, we didn’t look very welcome and after not making any friends we were back on the road.

We decided to drive into Saint Tropez which, as it turned out, wasn’t a great idea. At this time of the year the place was fully packed with people and heavy traffic. We managed to find a paid parking spot on the outskirts at 3 euro an hour and had a quick dip in the sea. It was very hot and we were desperate to cool down. After an hour we got back on the road. So far not very impressed with the French riviera. Big crowds, cosmic prices and the general trendy vibe we didn’t really dig.

Driving east along the coast things didn’t look much better. Most of the coast was taken up by hotels and resorts. Parking, either expensive or not allowed for campers. We were slowly loosing our hopes and thought of driving back inland to spend the night on motorway services. Then we spotted a white T3 parked by the side of the road, right by the sea. We pulled up behind it.

The white van belonged to a friendly German couple, roughly our age, who we quickly made friends with. We found the parking was indeed free and unrestricted and decided to stay. We spent the night drinking beers with our new found friends and chatting about the camper van ways. I really admired them for their minimalism. Our set up looked way posh compared to theirs. We had a fridge, they had what they called a ‘warm corner’. We had lots of stuff and things, they had lots of empty bottles (to get money back for them in Germany). They were properly roughing it up on the cheap, never staying in campsites, never taking toll roads and washing their clothes in the sea (apparently they come out nice, maybe a bit on the stiff side). Their security system was simply not locking the van and leaving the doors wide open when they went for a dip in the sea. Genius, a thief wouldn’t find anything there other than some dirty clothes but at least it keeps them from breaking a window to find this out. We felt inspired as to what levels of freedom can be achieved by simply by not having much stuff. As the saying goes, the things we own end up owning us.

The next morning we all went for a snorkel in the crystal clear water. After lunch they gave us a couple of nice hookups for free places to stay in Croatia and we left the French beaches heading for Italy.