Date
September 11th, 2019
Author
Kay

11 September 

Really not sure why I wait until we’re away to try cooking new meals! Last night was Moroccan mushrooms with chickpeas and couscous (from BBC Good Food), very easy to make - but in Dave there isn’t a great deal of space to prepare. At least it made enough for two nights!

It was nice going to bed and hearing the soft rain on Dave’s roof. Once again, very peaceful - maybe because we were opposite a cemetery!

Tintin checked his Easy FX account and saw that €150 had been charged fort fuel Intermarché yesterday. He phoned today and found out that it would be refunded in due course, but it’s taken as ours is a pre-paid card, and not a credit card. We have previously tried our card, but it’s been rejected - so now we know if it’s accepted, they’ll take extra, then refund. Who knew!

Up and at it this morning. The reviews for the Citadel of Sisteron were good so we paid our €6.60 each, and spent about 3 hours wandering around in the beautiful sunshine. The citadel is perched on a promontory high above the Durance River. For centuries the imposing fortress guarded the strategic narrow passage between Dauphiné and Provence - however, Napoléon managed to sneak past here with 1200 soldiers after escaping Elba in 1815!

We had to watch where we stepped, as there were huge snails 🐌crawling around! Tintin also managed to get a good picture of a grasshopper/locust (not cicada?). 

The stratified rock face is called Rocher de Baume, resulting from limestone sediment deposited horizontally at the bottom of a Jurassic sea. Some people were trying to climb it!

The powder magazine was designed by French military architect Vauban. He certainly got around a bit in the 1600s when I assume travel was quite hard! We saw some of his other designs in Neuf Brisach when we did our cycle holiday in the Alsace region. There were really good information boards - but my only complaint was they were in French only - and yes, I know - we should have learnt enough French by now! 

We walked up and down 258 steps carved out of rock, with wonderful views out of the rock face. 

In 1639 Richelieu imprisoned Prince Jean Casimir Vasa (king of Poland) in the dungeon - he had plotted with Spain against France. It’s hard sometimes to think of areas of France as having been fought over so many times previously in history...

Anyway, the weather was good, it wasn’t busy and we enjoyed our visit!

We then wandered into town, most shops being shut due to lunchtime! Went into one shop as was led by my nose - Lavender! It even had some of the old coppers stills used to distill the essential oil. 

Even had my fix of cats today, one curled up in a pot plant, another curled up outside a shop, and another three on the walk back - one with only one eye, but very friendly. Also, we stopped off to get fuel this afternoon as there is a lack of fuel stations in the mountains - had to pay €1.53 per litre, so topped up with €30 only - but I had to get out when Tintin was paying, as there was a very silky ginger cat curled up on the counter inside!

Steep climb back to Dave, quick lunch (can recommend the local Cantal cheese - tastes a bit like Havarti!) then Tintin driving today for about 2-1/2 hours in the end. 

Colin co-pilot has had a really bad day! Firstly, trying to get out of Sisteron, he took us down towards a road that there was no way we could get down. A kind man even told us so! Tintin managed to reverse without upsetting people! Co-pilot also then took us down towards a parking area - very narrow with cars either side - I was definitely panicking! His third misdemeanor was later on - wrong route towards the Gorges du Verdon. Way too narrow, so Tintin had to turn around. We even had a man shouting out of his window, as we were near a car (yes, we knew!). Tintin had to wheel spin up a hill (too steep!) before being able to turn around. Novelty was wearing a bit thin!

Gorges du Verdon - our guide book says “dubbed the Grand Canyon of Europe, it slices 25km through Haute-Provence’s limestone plateau. The narrow canyon bottom, carved by the Verdon’s emerald-green waters is only 8m to 90m deep, it’s steep multitude walls, home to griffon vultures, rise as high as 700m - twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower”. A complete circuit involves about 140km - or four hours non-stop driving. 

It’s fair to say the views are spectacular. However, even though I wasn’t driving, I was still concentrating on the sometimes very narrow road, the bends, the other traffic...

Yes, I was gripping onto my seat at times! It was busy enough today - let alone in high summer!

We are now parked up for the night at the only village on the route called La Palud-sur-Verdon. It’s been up to 30° today, but it cools off at night - good for sleeping!

J, think I’ll be calling you, my phone is driving me to swearing! Intermittently just switches off, really annoying, especially when I want to take a photo!

Well, we’re both quite tired - so will see what tomorrow brings - getting close to the coast now! 

A few more of the photos we took today.

Haven’t seen an advert like this for a long time
Haven’t seen an advert like this for a long time
Saves on the roof tiles, I suppose
Saves on the roof tiles, I suppose
Dave in the distance
Dave in the distance
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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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