Monday, September 20, 2010

Roads less and more well traveled

The wonderful thing about this region is that you can’t seem to go anywhere that isn’t interesting, beautiful, or both! One road listed in the guidebook caught my eye though as sounding especially interesting: one way, winding, up a mountain – what more could you ask from a scenic road? But for some reason Alan wasn’t very interested. Until this afternoon, when I told him it was his turn to read through the guidebook, he said instead why don’t we go on that road you keep suggesting?

Can you see the road?
The town of Cavaillon below us.

Yes, indeed, chalk one more point up for good-ideas-had-by-Rachel, okayed-by-Alan, prompted-by-Michelin-guidebooks! The Vidauque road starts about twenty minutes to the south-west of us, at the end of the mountain ridge that all the hill-top villages are perched upon. About 11km up of narrow windy road with vertigo-inducing drops to the valley bellow belonged only to us, one biker, and a pair of kites or falcons of some sort (anyone know what kind of bird this is?). The views were amazing.

Not the best picture - but does anyone know what it is?

Alan is determined to go back for a sunrise breakfast so he can take a 360º panorama – but driving up that road in the dark makes me nervous just thinking about it! We eventually reached the top and headed down the other side of the ridge, a gentler slope with more grass and trees than the arid limestone we’d been driving through before. Signs pointed out hiking trails that also cross the ridge, a tempting idea for the future.

Panorama point

Being well brought up by my mother to never take the same road back if you can possibly drive on a road you have never seen before, we headed east down the Durance river valley to another road back over the ridge towards Bonnieux. But while this road was two way, with a speed limit of about 45mph, it was just as windy and not really as much wider than the Vidauque as I would have liked! As Alan said, it brought out his inner race-car driver. And, of course, all the French drive as fast on a windy road as a straight one. At one point around a hairpin curve, we came to a “road narrows” sign, which seemed impossible but true. Let’s just say that is one road I will always remember… and am sure to travel again.

We stopped for a photo of the
Bonnieux church on our way home.

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