Monday, June 20, 2011

Gorgeous Gorges

We woke up this Sunday morning to clear skies and sunshine. We were dazzled by sights that had been shrouded in mist the day before.

As we rode away from Tallard we got this view of the Chateau de Tallard.

As the day progressed we began to wonder if we weren't back in the uplands of Utah or Southwestern Colorado. The scenery had that feel to it.

In the afternoon we experienced deja vu all over again as we entered the Gorge de la Meouge. The similarity to our own Arroyo Seco Gorge struck us both and we made the comparison immediately. It was a scenic ride.

We left the gorge and the strong headwind returned. We had pushed rather hard in the morning and decided to stop in a very small town and camp. We pulled into Lachau and set up camp, cleaned up and then wandered the quiet streets. There was a large chateau in the center of town.

We had a drink at the local bar and got some of the history of the town. The chateau had been owned by a seigneur who was beheaded during the revolution and the chateau became the property of the town. The town had lost 20 young men in WW I and had hidden Jews during WW II. It now had 219 residents. We thanked the woman for sharing the information with us. Monday morning also dawned clear and the dew on the tent had to dry before we packed up. The morning was calm and warm and we had a steady but manageable climb the first 18 kilometers. We stopped for lunch at the Col de Macuegne and looked back.

There were some Dutch cyclists who invited us to join them at the picnic table with the view. About 15 minutes later we were joined by some German cyclists. We talked about touring, the route ahead and gear. They were doing local rides out from local towns. We got contact information from the Germans, Brigitte and Hans who want us to visit them in the summer apartment they have in Etienne, which is just off our route south of Avignon. We had entered Provence in the morning and the multitude of lavender fields increased as the day went on.

Similar to Sunday our route went through another grand gorge, the Gorges de la Nesque.

We finished the day at the small town of Villes-Sur-Auzon. We rode to the town center following signs for the municipal camping, however on one corner of the town place (French for plaza, piazza, square) we spied a sign for chambres. We inquired and the price was right so we took a room in the charming bed & breakfast. After settling in we went to the cafe on the place and watched as other cyclists cooled themselves at the town fountain as they rode through. Next we're off to Avignon!


Diana said...

You certainly picked a beautiful route. The scent of lavender almost comes across cyberspace. Although you haven't said much about food, I've been inspired to prepare French onion soup, Gratin de Poisson, many choices.

(Side note: Sonya is retiring in August and there is a special lunch for her next week. We'll miss you Dave!)

Dave and Belinda said...

Well...Thanks Diana, and please give Sonya my very best wishes for a happy retirement! Say howdy to all the guys and tell Larry I'm checking out trellis systems everywhere.

The funny thing about food is that so far we've been eating mostly Italian in France and the French are doing it well! The first night in France, due to circumstances, we ate pizza (with chorizo on it). The next night we did have roast duck, and it was very good. The following night we were camping and there was no restaurant in the tiny village so we ate out of our lunch supplies, salami, cheese, and bread. last night our host prepared us a dinner which featured spaghetti with a wonderful red meat sauce.

anne said...

what a justs better and better every day and i thought the first few days were great...amazing,just amazing.

Bernard Menou said...

Hello friends,
As for French bread taste I trust you, I have a gluten free diet and (too bad!) I am keen on vacuum-packed German bread.
As for your route (clever choice!), I think you should have fine weather near Mediterranean Sea. Just be careful with drivers in South East of France. They sometimes confuse quiet roads and Monaco formula 1 Grand Prix.
As four later in your trip, what week approximately do you think to be in our area? We want to be in Juran├žon to receive you. (At that time we know that we won't be at home only on July 2nd and 3rd).
Just some words more: amazing journey and beautiful travelogue.

Dave and Belinda said...

Hi Anne, there does seem to be surprises around every corner. That's what makes a great adventure.

Thanks Bernard, we have been encountering those race drivers in Italy as well. Some times when they pass it reminds one of the term 'breath taking speed'! As for our projected arrival in Jurancon, we will add up the kilometers and let you know via e-mail soon. Roughly it should be shortly after 4 July. We have just decided not to go to Spain. The weather is getting hot there, and we have not been making the daily distance we thought we would originally. So we will approach you from Toulouse.

Love to all