22. May, 2016

Text

SATURDAY 21-05-16

Having spotted in the guide book that Riez has a Saturday market we were keen to take a look round. Despite spending several weeks in France over the past three years we'd yet to go to a local market, always passing through such places on the wrong days of the week.

After a nice hot shower to use up more of our water we wandered down to the village. My word the market was most impressive, divided in to two parts, one selling cotton products and old tat and in the other there were numerous stalls selling a large range of really good fresh produce, beautifully presented. There were several selling a large selection of cheeses, though of course no Cheddar or Red Leicester. Some of it smelt worse that a Turk's armpit.

The temptation was too great, and as well as a baguette from the local boulangerie, we went home with a fresh chicken cooked on a rotisserie, some tomatoes and cucumber.

We prepared for the road, dumped our waste water, then headed out of town, not easy as the Satnav wanted to send us through the road closure for the market and offering no alternative route. After finally clearing the village we were pleased to be leaving them to their fly-swatting.

Our journey today was to be about 25-30 miles. "That's not far then" says The Chef, "It's not the distance, but the type of roads" says I. Oh dear and what a road it was. Ages ago when reading one of the guide books for this area, I spotted the 'Tour of the Gorges du Verdon'. 'Only an idiot would make a journey like that in a motorhome' I thought. Well there we were - the road to hell, the Tour of the Gorges du Verdon. "You've got it marked on the map as the way to go" observed The Chef, and she was right. The problem is, the only maps I have to work with are a road atlas of Europe, which means the information for each country is much disseminated, so when running an orange highlight pen from 'A' to 'B', it is indeed possible to select such a route. Now that I can look back knowing that we survived it, I can honestly say I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The scenery was absolutely spectacular, what a lovely part of the world this is. The Chef was busy clicking away with the pocket camera so when I download the pictures this evening I can, once again, expect views of blurred trees, bushes and telegraph poles. I did say to her at one point "Try and take a picture of the telegraph pole, that way you'll end up with a picture of the scenery".

It had been a bit of a white knuckle ride, had we been in a small French car - no problem, but we were in our twenty-four foot mobile home which we love dearly. It wasn't the road itself which bothered me, I could drive on roads like that all day, but the behaviour of other motorists. Don't get me wrong, generally the standard of driving here in France is very good, better than back home I think, drivers are far more patient and courteous, but you just need one stupid idiot to do some serious damage to you.

These idiots come in two forms. Firstly the kamikaze driver, presumably given just hours to live by his doctor, and therefore has nothing to lose by overtaking us on blind bends at speed, or crossing white lines approaching us.

The second group are geriatrics who would like assisted suicide with Dignitas in Switzerland but can't afford it. Instead they buy themselves a set of Lycra and hire a lightweight racing bike. Having done so these individuals, and there are an awful lot of them around here, cycle down the middle of the road hoping some poor unsuspecting individual like me does the job for them, thus saving them money. I don't mind running them down if that's what they want, but hey, I've just repaired the leak on the waste water outlet pipe, so don't go rolling around under there, thank you very much.

Satisfied that we had just survived an amazing drive, we settled for a campsite, Camping Les Collines de Castellane, near Castellane. (GPS: N43.824319 E6.569919) It will do us for the night, basic but quite pleasant.

Tomorrow I plan to make our way down towards the seaside, then, being really cheeky, looking to spend the night on a service area on the Toll Road running along the coast, before entering Villenueve-Loubet mid-morning on Monday.