la dune du Pilat – a pile of sand

Europe

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I got really excited to visit the dune du Pilat (or dune du Pyla aka Europe’s biggest sand pit), in hindsight, I should have brought a plastic shovel and bucket.

Being the highest shifting dune in Europe, it measures 100-115m in height, 2,7km in length and 500m in width. And it is moving: more than 1m per year towards the forest! The view from on top of the sand dune is incredible: on one side, a dark green forest covered by mist, the dark blue sea to the other hand and this huge pile of sand in between. We decided to walk till the very end of the dune which is a lot more exhausting than we thought. People got fewer and fewer the further we walked, and from time to time there are no people seen at all, only walls of sand around us with footprints to prove that hikers before us chose the very same spot of sand to walk on. After a while, we were overtaken by a couple that came a lot more prepared and equipped than we did: backpacks, matching hard shell jackets, running tights and sneakers while we rambled around with city clothes, handbags and sand-filled shoes (note to myself: be more prepared next time).

We still made most out of our visit and sledded down sandy hills, rolled around in the sand and dreamed of snowboarding on the dunes. Which was fun but not so fun when my camera ate some grains of sand and won’t stop making scratchy noises when I use it. Should not have put it into a jeans pocket full of sand =(

On our way back, we got tired and worn out and the climb back up was downright horrible. A bit like searching for an oasis in the middle of a desert, I would imagine. Without the heat, though, and with the sea and forest just 300m away, so I will stop complaining.

 

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