Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

May 17, 2011

Somewhere between the vegetable gazpacho and the duck confit, I realized my hike in La Clape, part of the Languedoc wine region of France, was just a little different than my usual treks up and down the canyons of Berkeley.

It could have been the sign warning of a steep hill ahead that carried the exhortation of “Courage!”

It could have been the fact that this event, Les Sentiers Gourmand, or the gourmet path, a popular annual ritual that draws hundreds each spring, was well supplied with stops for gourmet food prepared by a local chef and local wines, in particular some delicious roses made with a blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes.

Whatever the tipoff, for future reference I’ve come up with this handy traveler’s guide.

Five Ways to Tell If You’re Hiking in France or Berkeley

5. In France, start by changing your street clothes for special hiking pants, shirt and boots. In Berkeley, start. Your special hiking pants, shirt and boots ARE your street clothes.

4. French hike begins with you being issued a knife, fork and glass to refresh yourself along the way. Berkeley hike begins with you hunting through cupboards to find a matching top for your stainless steel water bottle to refresh yourself, etc.

3. In France be sure to remember shady hat to protect you from sunburn. In Berkeley, be sure to take along extra fleece to protect you from frostbite.

2. In France, fellow hikers walk briskly past you talking French a mile a minute. You are unable to comprehend. In Berkeley, fellow hikers walk briskly past you talking politics a mile a minute. You are unable to comprehend.

1. France: Hike ends with everyone heading for the grass to relax and polish off the last of the food and wine. Berkeley: Hike ends with everyone heading for the grass.

Vive les differences!

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One Response to Top 5 differences between hiking in Berkeley and the South of France

  1. Pang on May 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Looks like you are becoming an impressionist. Great pics.

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