Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Antibes to Digne-les-Bains France

Wednesday September 21, 2011
Ty and I got up in our hostel and had breakfast down the street at "The Blue Lady" which is a sailor bar, with many still staggering around drunkenly from the night before.  Antibes is full of people who work yacht to yacht seeing the world and we were asked if we were looking for work a couple of times. Its a cool idea but not this time. After breakfast, we packed up and headed for our rental car but Hertz was closed (Most shops close between noon and 2 pm, and then reopen till 7 pm), so we went for a swim on the beach.
We picked up our car and headed north, this time driving on the right side of the road with a left hand steering wheel. It took some mental calisthenics to remember which way to go around the traffic circles and how to pass but we figured it out, with Ty doing some of the driving too.  We climbed steep windy mountain roads up glacier swept bedrock for miles and miles, hair pin switchbacks over and over again. It turns out these are the French Alps... who knew?!!! After a couple hours of steep climbs that make the Salmo-Creston's Highway 3 look like a molehill, we crossed into Provence and by 6 pm we stopped at Grassee, where we toured a perfumery, sniffed perfumes and bought some pretty things. Here, we are surrounded by fields of lavender as well as sheep.  The shops are filled with lavender products and honey. At Castlelane, we sat down at a sidewalk cafe but they were not serving dinner until 7 pm; the same at the next so we left town and drove to Digne-les-Bains.  We grabbed a room at a hotel and had a steak just down the street and then walked the streets for a bit looking at the sites (Cool Statue!). Incidentally, Digne-les-Bains is where the 1862 French novel, "Les Miserables" begins its story.
Tomorrow we will continue our north west journey towards Paris, seeing what lays ahead of us.  We are enjoying our french conversations with people, most of it based on what we have read on cereal boxes in the past.  But its all good here... The girls are pretty, the drivers are courteous and the people are friendly; the pace of life here is a fraction of what it is like in Italy.
The night time temperature has dropped several degrees... we will have to buy hoodies tomorrow!
Enjoy our pics!

These are called "Soap Nuts" from a Sapindus tree... They contain saponins which are a natural surfactant.  They have been used for washing for thousands of years.
Castellane - Note the Church of St. Denis on "Le Roc"!

Ty and I have booked a room in Paris for Friday and Saturday night (Party!!!) and look forward to walking the Champs-Ulysses and wandering around the Louvre.  We fly to London on Sunday and have 3 1/2 days to see the sights there before heading back to Canada one week today. Ya hooo!

Tomorrow we will put some miles on driving mostly north towards Paris but stopping in the smaller cities to walk their streets and lanes. There are lots of really nice boutiques everywhere we go.