Camargue.... salt flats, herds of savage wild black bulls, flocks of pink flamingoes flying overhead, white horses galloping through the shallow water, with the sun setting in the background, right?
Well, no. What actually happened was that with the aid of a step-ladder, I was put on top of a white Camargue pony called Nimrod (see, I said he was a hunter!) and sat on top of him while he walked sedately (mostly) on a lead rein for two hours. It was morning, because it was cooler then. We did not go in the water, only next to it.
Yes, there were black bulls (and black cows, and black calves), but they were in a field, and none of them are savage in any case, not even "savauge" (it means "wild"). The man v. bull games around here involve men trying to pluck ribbons from the bull's horns, which go sideways, not pointing forwards aggressively like those in Spain.
There were flamingoes. There were also Little Egrets (I saw one in it's black form later!) and cattle egrets (smaller than Little Egrets) and what I was told was a heron, but since I was also being told how to distinguish it from an egret, was probably a Squacco Heron going by the bird book.There was a Stork in flight (no babies in evidence, so presumably on its way back from a delivery). As we passed a pond, we saw a "water rat" only a few feet away. Either French "water rats" are a lot bigger than those at home, or it was an otter.These
were the people I went with, recommended by the local TI as speaking good English due to being
English. The guide I had wasn't, but her English was good. Yes, I'd recommend them.
Conclusions for next time, or for others?
Getting onto a horse is harder (for me) than it looks. I should do exercises to correct this.
They tell you that being on a horse hurts because of all the bouncing up and down. No, When walking, there is next to no bouncing up and down. What there is is a lot of rocking backwards and forward, hitting first the back of the saddle and then the pommel. Bracing with a hand against the pommel can help with this, but it's still tiring and painful.
When in this area, you are advised to wear long sleeves for protection against mosquitoes. Having something like that with you is a good idea, as otherwise you may end up scouring the few shops left open at 6pm for long-sleeved clothes, and ending up buying some scarves and doing some rapid sewing that evening, like I did. I'd wondered if I'd need three scarves, one to add sleeves, but they were wide enough that two were enough. We were sitting at one of the outside tables at a restaurant when I got the idea, left my order for food with Dave, and shot down the street to buy scarves. By the time starters arrived, I had the back seam done. The wrists got sorted between starters and mains, and that made it enough of a usable garment that I wore it on the way home. That was enough of a test to tell me that I needed full side seams and elastic on the wrists, and I did that back at base. By midnight, I had a new jacket. You probably don't want to have to do this. Take a long-sleeved blouse with you.