No wifi for the last couple of days so no blog!
After a final wander around Vero's village I drove from Ollioules to Villeneuve on Wednesday. Have finally figured out how to stop the GPS putting me onto the Peage (the pay to use Autoroute). So am now using the smaller national and local roads which are much more picturesque. They also take me through some tiny little villages where the "roads" are barely a car width wide and can be terrifying to weave your way through, but it's all part of the adventure!
Took the day pretty easy but still arrived in Villeneuve mid-afternoon. Stayed with friends Christian & Geraldine, will be returning for their 50th wedding anniversary in a month from now, but lovely to catch up with them without all the bustle of family and friends around. That afternoon we visited the neighbouring villages Lurs, another cute little village perched on a hilltop overlooking the countryside.
That night they talked me into staying another night so that I could visit the Grand Canyon du Verdon. Thursday was overcast and not too warm. Great day for a drive! So I headed off further east travelling the lesser roads through olives, grapevines, lavendar plantations and patches of wooded area. Emerged alongside Lac du Sainte Croix, crossed the bridge and climbed up the right hand side of the gorge. Very spectacular! The river and lake are an intense pastel green, I guess from the load of calcium the water carries.
The road wound up to over 1000m above sea level, not too far below the snow level which is still at about 1200m! This also explains why I have abandonned my plan to play golf in the French/Italian Alps!!
Stopped for lunch at a small bistro at the head of the gorge, then headed back down the otherside and back to to village at the base of the gorge, Moustieres-St-Marie. Stopped and had a wander around the shops. Seem to specialise in ceramics, with shops selling plates, bowls, jugs etc dominating the village. Did spot the butchers shop where I was delighted to see a venison stew prepared and ready for sale.
Slowly made my way back to Villeneuve for the night. Took this shot of some ewes and lambs on the way. A lot of farms still have their stock shut up in their winter houses, but a few are starting to appear as the weather improves.
Today was supposed to drive from Villeneuve to the village of Aubenas in the Ardeche via the gorges of Ardeche. Somehow mucked it up and ended up driving a huge loop around to the north of the gorge! Then got totally flumoxed in Aubenas and couldn't find a hotel, so drove on to the smaller village of Vogue where I have successfully found a bed for the night in a kind of holiday camp place, cheap enough, includes breakfast and there is wifi and tv so all good! Now not sure of my plans for tomorrow, might continue north rather than backtrack to the gorge.