La Dune du Pilat

My last week in Bordeaux zoomed up out of nowhere, and I suddenly realised I had 101 things left that I still wanted to do and see. Amongst this lengthy list was the Dune du Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe, which is a short train journey from Bordeaux.

You would not believe how many times I’ve tried to organise a trip here in the past month, but last Tuesday was finally the day!

The train from Bordeaux is around 45 minutes, and we of course arrived within seconds of the train leaving, consequently losing one of our party and leaving him behind on the platform, but we won’t go into that now. We are eternally sorry.

After the train came a hideously long bus journey with very few seats, which trundled through the rather up-market neighbourhood of seaside town Arcachon. We ogled at the vast French villas and dreamed of a life that would allow us to afford one.

The short walk from the bus stop led us through a small forest area, until we finally caught sight of a colossal mountain of sand.

All of a sudden, we became like monkeys let loose from a zoo, shrieking and charging towards this completely surreal thing. Several (calm and collected) tourists looked on with what I can only imagine was pure bewilderment as we began our crazed scramble to the top of the giant dune.

Standing on top of the dune was like being on another planet. To the left was a huge, leafy pine forest, and to the right was the sparkling ocean. The surreality of it was overwhelming; especially the fact that you could jump metres off the edge and land in a soft cushion of white sand! It was like all my childhood sandpit dreams had come true.

But where did it come from? Why was it here? And how did it get so big? We had so many questions.

I did what I do best and took a long nap on the dune, returning home with sand in every place imaginable, but feeling unbelievably content to have finally made a trip there.

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