That seemed a long night, I don't think either of us slept terribly well. I suppose
that's the problem when you're not physically very active - you tend not to get tired enough to sleep well.
We tried to get up at a reasonable time and get away as we were making
for Sisteron with its citadel on top of a rock, I suppose you'd describe it as. We'd passed through there a couple of times but never found a suitable parking space and so just kept moving on. Today we were hoping to strike lucky. I had noted the
GPS co-ordinates of the two Camperstop parking areas in town and we were hoping to get a space on one of them.
It was clearly going to be a hot day today as the sun was up and out
early and the temperature began to climb. Scrubbed up we hit the road.
Because we have a Sanef toll tag in the windscreen which monitors our presence as we pass through French
toll booths, then sends us a bill a few weeks later we had a problem in that we have to pay an administrative charge of €5 for each month it is used plus the toll fees. So today was 30th June, the last day of the month and we needed to avoid using the
toll roads today to avoid a five euro charge. it was no problem from Gap down to Sisteron as the ordinary 'A' road ran parallel to the toll road for most of the way.
On arriving on the outskirts of Sisteron we made our way to the parking area. Oh dear, not a space to be had. There are only three designated motorhome parking bays, and they'll tolerate it if more are taken up, but unfortunately there were
none to be had. We then found ourselves in a slow moving traffic jam through town. My word it was busy, it was a Saturday which in Sisteron also means market day, as well as 'yet another tourist day'. We had no chance of parking anywhere, what a disappointment.
We have decided to try again at some time in the future, though next time we'll hole up at the local Truckstop on the toll road, or cheekily park up within the 'Super U' supermarket complex on the edge of town for the night. Then, at something like 06:00 we'll
make our way in to town and bag a parking space. Well, that's the plan.
In the meantime we needed to move on towards Manosque, somewhere we discovered on our way home on
the Istanbul trip. Close by we were hoping to get a glimpse of lavender in bloom. Again we had to tell the satnav to avoid using toll roads. Oh what fun it had with us, it was quiet unbelievable. I bet there are locals in that areas going to bed tonight having
flashbacks of a motorhome coming towards them on the seldom used goat track.
Never mind, eventually we approached Manosque which was our cue to punch in Valensole,
on the way to which we've seen lavender fields in the past. After climbing up on to a plateau on a twisting road there they were - lavender fields in bloom. We were amazed at how much interest they created. Cars were parked up in designated car parks as well
as in lay-bys and on the sides of the road. People were applying trainers and sun-block and preparing to walk in the fields amongst the plants. It would seem that's what folk here do. Having seen it for myself I think farmers back home should start capitalising
on oil seed rape when flowers, turning yellow. There's money to be made in car parking fees and ice cream sales.
We decided to remain in our parking area and have lunch before making
our way to the campsite which we were hoping could accommodate us.
As we approached Manosque we dived in to the 'Hyper U' supermarket on the edge of town to top up with
fresh food, where again I had a problem with parking the vehicle. I was also keen to see if they sold small, powerful electric fans for the motorhome rather than the hovercraft engine we have at present. Sadly yes to the food, no to the fan.
Luckily for us the campsite had vacancies and we ended up in the same pitch as we had last time, so we'll be getting an early morning call from the cockerel at the house across the road.
This afternoon having tuned in the TV using a digital aerial I place on the roof we were able to watch some of the France v Argentina football match. We were sat watching
it in temperatures of 35˚C in the shade and 42˚C in the sun. It was better than the England v Belgium game I have to say, and on the day France were the worthy winners. At least I can mention it to the young campsite manager the next time I see him.
This evening, returning from the rubbish bins downhill near the entrance I spotted the small panel van motorhome of Brit couple and their Scottie dog. In these kind of temperatures the three
of them in that small space must smell awful, still as long as the dog doesn't mind. These people were our next door neighbours last night back at Gap. We had no conversation with them then, and no doubt we'll have none with them here.
We've a lot of Italians around us here, which isn't surprising as it's not too far to come. Trouble is they tend to be rather noisy.
We are likely to stay here for three days resting and getting chores done before starting the long trek northwards and home.