Wednesday 23rd November
Trying to decide where to go and needing to empty the toilet cassettes soon I found a town called Castellane and best of all it had four aires, three with services, it was in the right direction and only 40 miles away according to Stella.
Lucy had said, no more mountains, no more hairpin bends so I had to do my best a reassure her that Castellane had nothing to do with Castles and Stella knew by now the types of roads we liked.
Stella wasn’t listening, it’s like she is trying to test Frankie and up and up we went until we ran out of mountains to climb.
On the way we saw ruined churches…
…tunnels on sharp bends with a huge drop to the side, this was really a road clinging to the mountainside by it’s fingernails.
Huge boulders looking like they are just about to topple over. It was fun, most of the way, and the scenery was spectacular, the leaves changing colours made it rather pretty.
And then we got to a flat bit. This is at a height of 3,600 feet and went for miles. Either side of us were Buffalo reservations but they were all hiding behind trees.
Eventually we started dropping down, thankfully, it can get very cold at high altitude and we really wanted warm. In the distance we could see a church on top of a lump of rock. Lucy thought we would be parked up the top.
Luckily, we are parked at the bottom. To our right is a fast flowing river, the Verdon and to the left is the town. Space here for 50 motorhomes (only if they don’t park like us) and with another three aires there is space for 130 vans in and around the town.
Why make so much space for motorhomes?
The town itself dates from the 12th century, most of the roads inside the city walls are like this and surrounding the historical centre are cafes, hotels, bakers and bars, most of them are closed and there are few people about. Many of the shops are offering white water raft trips with pictures of smiley people in the sunshine. Today really isn’t the weather for getting near a cold raging torrent. The competition is fierce amongst the different shops, one hours rafting was just €5 – dunno if you get a paddle included in that.
By the time we had bought a loaf of bread all ordered in immaculate French (ahem) and eaten our lunch it was only 12.30. Some of us wanted to go for a walk and some of us didn’t so some of us decided to climb to the top of the mountain and visit the church at the top.
An example of the footpath, a very steep running stream for 100 yards or so. Luckily I’ve got long legs (have you worked out who went up yet?) and leaped over the puddles like a teenager.
Along the footpath were the twelve stations of the cross plus a couple of extras for some reason.
They came is handy, I could pretend to be reading the plaques while catching my breath. This one was Jesus stumbles for the first time.
Up the top you get a magnificent view of the town and can see the defensive wall which really wasn’t evident at ground level.
There’s Frankie to the left, the other van spent a good couple of hours driving round and round trying to get satellite reception.
This is the view looking back from where we came from this morning.
And we should be following the river tomorrow and entering the French Grand Canyon. Can you see the blue skies and the sun peeking out behind the clouds? I’ve been told that tomorrow is fine but more rain on Friday.
The sign at the top of the rock, Notre Dame du Roc is the name of the church but it was closed for renovations.