After our memorable lunch in Arles, we spent the rest of the afternoon, doing some sightseeing. Coincidence or not, we found ourselves in an area not far from the Gorges du verdon, a very beautiful but also expensive area. Lars decided it would be a good idea to cross the border with Italy and then head east to Slovenia. It was already past midnight when we crossed the aforementioned border, and we actually passed the night at an Italian gas station. WE had taken our bed linen with us, in case we couldn’t find a cheap hotel or camping place. Late in the afternoon the following day, we crossed yet another border, we had arrived in Slovenia! We drove to a small village where Lars knew several cheap places to stay. We started with high hopes, but that soon changed. All the places were completely booked or were closed. Finally, we stopped at a place called Vila Planinka; the price was quite high, but the owner luckily proposed a discount, which we accepted. Since it was late in the evening, .we decided to have dinner in the restaurant. Lars immediately discovered it was a one Michelin -star restaurant. I convinced him to give it a try, after all we were foodies, and we deserved this.
In general, this was the experience of a lifetime. The food was delicious, we tasted food combinations we were not used to, the service was impeccable. For Lars, it was the first time in a Michelin restaurant, and he was simply overwhelmed. And the adventure went on…
The South of France was one of the destinations we were looking most forward to, and Arles and its amphitheater one of the places I wanted to see, and I was finally going to be able to visit the Camargue! For months, I had been dreaming about French food (salade niçoise, for example) and now it was going to be a reality!
as you can see on the pictures, the amphitheater is surrounded by cozy little restaurants. We decided to have lunch in one of them. As a starter, I had a quinoa salad with chicken and vegetables, our main dish was tuna and grilled vegetables.
Little did we know that tin a couple of days ‘time, we would be enjoying an even bigger delight, more about this in our next post!
Elsewhere on the blog, I wrote that no 2 aspies are the same, but we have common traits. A place that is generally hated by most of us is a shopping center or as I call it “hell on earth”. So many things are a challenge for our senses: the number of people, the noises, lights that are too bright, … in general I try to avoid these places.
BUT sometimes it’s unavoidable, like when you cross the border between Spain and Andorra. Basically, Andorra is like one big shopping center “hell on Earth”. It’s just a huge collection of shops and hotels, expensive hotels, and traffic, way too much traffic. By the time we arrived at the hotel, I think I was close to a nervous break-down.
The next day was even worse; the weather had completely changed. No more sun but thunderstorms and I am very much afraid of thunderstorms. It was raining incessantly. We had to take a decision. We decided to seek refuge in Arles. Away from this Hell!
Travel is a source of joy for most people, but for people like myself on the spectrum it can lead to (severe) anxiety. The world can be an overwhelming place for us aspies and our daily routines can help us to calm down. Last year, after the first lockdown I was eager to travel again, but during our first excursion I struggled with anxiety. I had been used to certain routines during the lockdown and during travel it was too difficult or even impossible to stick to these habits. So how can aspies and other people prone to anxiety best prepare themselves mentally before travelling.
Choose your destination carefully
Some people feel at ease in crowded places whereas others need peace and quiet. Choose accordingly. Do some research before deciding where to go. I feel at best in nature, but as a child and teenager I had to spend my summer holidays in the busiest places at the Costa del Sol (a nightmare). I prefer this:
Be involved in the planning
Plan activities at your destination that you like and that have a soothing effect on you. Again, do some research!! Whenever Lars and I need some inspiration for the province of Granada we always consult the official website of the province of Granada. Besides when you are involved in the planning, it will be easier to look forward to your trip. Planning can thus be as fun as your trip itself.
Stick to those routines that you can maintain during the trip
This is extremely helpful for me. Even during your trip you will still have breakfast and dinner. If you have certain routines during these meals stick to them! I have certain foods and drinks that I only consume during breakfast. During dinner, I will arrange my food in a certain order on my plate. And I don’t care what other people think about me when they see me rearranging my food on my plate. After dinner, I will always watch at least one episode of The Big Bang Theory or Star Trek:The Next Generation, even during my trips.
Make sure you have some tranquilizers at your disposal in case of anxiety
Or a prescription, just in case.
What about you? Do you know other useful tricks or tips?