17th June 2014 Now on French soil and we know this because the sign on entering France said FRANCE, no more or less.
The French are the style masters in all things, food, fashion, presentation, houses but maybe not cars, I joke.
We have visited Monte Carlo, Cannes and Saint Tropez. We actually free camped for two nights on a Saint Tropez beach with no hassles. I think it’s actually allowed.
The French Riviera deserves its reputation as a classy holiday haven, it even has sandy beaches and I must say that the French have been nothing but charming and friendly. We now find ourselves at Santa Gusta Camp overlooking the Med yet again.
Today we stopped for lunch at a village and a general look around. The bread you can eat as is, no butter required and the patisseries here are art galleries of pastry and cake. We bought olives, pates, quiche Lorraine, anchovy pessitsia all of gourmet quality and for dinner we have cassulette of lapin i.e. rabbit with gratin potato, a French potato bake.
I notice the Gum trees are creeping back both in Italy and here in France, I wonder if we will find them in Mongolia?
21 June 2014 After the Riviera we have been dawdling our way through Provence and with clear blue skies our explorations could not be better. We were advised that you can just go anywhere in Provence to find rustic villages and picture-like landscapes.
It is true, winding our way through the lavender fields, stopping at local markets where we stock up on cheeses, olives, fourteen different types of tomato, salami’s with whole nuts and baguettes. The local wines that we have sampled are quality and very cheap. Strolled through the old world Apt city center stopping for a refreshing apperertife at a lane-side pub to cool down in the late afternoon. The French towns all have narrow laneway’s only suitable for walking and you will find all manner of small shops in which to gladly spend your Euros.
We have travelled from Aix, via Apt to Gap.
22nd June 2014 Travelling north we decided to follow the route of one of the legs of this years Tour de France starting at Risoul and ending at Grenoble. This route takes in the French Alps and it is spectacular, rising to around 2,300 meters still with quite a bit of snow up high on the peaks, ending our day in a valley in the shadows of huge pointy mountains in the village of La Grave at the de la Meige camping ground. Along the road someone has painted GO CADEL.
We will explore the village later.
The village turns out to be everything you expect from a French alpine village, quaint houses and cosy restaurants where you sit on the deck looking directly at a mountain massif as you degustate.
25th June 2014 Yesterday visited Mount Blank, the highest mountain in Europe and finished the day at Samoens, an Alpine resort where Timea and Belinda, long-time friends of Nicola (our daughter) have been for around eighteen months. They invited us to stay at the lodge where they work and will give us a guided tour of the area later today. The owners of the Truman Alp Lodge, Debbie and Tony have been most welcoming and their luxury accommodation I can highly recommend. I think I may have to sing for my supper tonight.