Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I am tired – and it is only 3pm…such a good thing!! I went biking or cycling or faire du vélo or du cylisme or whatever you would like to call it. Take your pick! And I went up and down way too many mountains (more like hills in our world, but they were plenty big enough for me, thank you very much!!)…but I think it is pretty much the heat that did me in more than anything!
Okay…so I borrowed the bike of Michel’s son downstairs. A nice little bike, like the one I have at home (except this one was not outside in the snow for 8 months, so the chain didn’t inhibit the bike from moving. A nice bonus!). It was a little big for me length ways, so for the first while it felt like I was really stretching out to reach the handlebars, but I got used to it and it ended up being quite a decent bike for the day!! So because I had missed those things at Fontaine de Vaucluse on Monday, I decided to head off in that direction. It didn’t take any time at all to get there on the bike and it was only about 9:30 by the time I got there. It was great because there were a lot less tourists and with the water surrounding the town it was all nice and fresh feeling. I didn’t go far enough upstream last time, so I didn’t see the beginning of the river…and apparently that was not to be missed, so I walked up the path for a bit until I got to a cave with water in it. In the winter the water is a lot higher and it flows on top of the rocks and boulders that are in the riverbed and is supposed to be pretty great. Today though the cave was all there was to see. I guess coming from Alberta, I am kinda spoiled because although I love water and think rivers are totally awesome, I was just not that amazed to see a cave with water in it!! It is kind of cool to think that the water is just coming from “nowhere” though, to start the river there…it is so cool to think that the river just disappears into the mountains. I like that.
Then, I decided I’d continue biking in that direction – there wasn’t much point in turning around towards Isle sur la Sorgue. So I biked up and up and up (I really don’t like hills, you know!) until I was on top of the “mountain”. There were some huge and beautiful mansions up there…and then I had no choice but to go down the other side of the mountain!! I don’t mind going down…it is just disappointing to know that if I go down, that means I’ll have to go back up again at some point!
On the way down, there was a little town called Cabrières d’Avignon where I bought a bottle of water that I strapped on to the rat trap on my bike using the lock. It was cute, but very small. I was excited because there was a sign pointing the way to the castle. The only problem was that the castle was completely renovated and people were living in it, so I couldn’t even visit! So I continued on my way down the mountain. At the bottom I passed another town called Les Imberts…it was so small that I am pretty sure I saw the whole thing just by going through the one street!
I had it in my head before I’d left that I would go to a town called Gordes – if I could make it there. I’d just looked at the map that I had from the tourist office, and that one seemed like an okay distance… Well, now that I was at the bottom of the valley, of course I had to bike back up another mountain to get to this town! It was a good 8km up hill…I hate hills, okay?! But I made it…and I wasn’t even that much slower than those super-duper dudes in spandex with their feet attached either! J It was a long ride up though…and by this time the sun was nice and high and that fresh morning feeling was definitely not there – definitely not…I don’t really remember the last time I sweated this much!
So I made it to Gordes…and decided I needed to keep going (UP) to the “Abbaye de Sénanque”. It was another 2Km ish up…and then, much to my dismay…back down the other side – a good 5km. I didn’t go down the other side! I just couldn’t see myself making back up the stupid hill again! If I had a better map (I have one now, I got it from the tourist office in Gordes when I went back) I would have gone down and not gone back up…have taken other roads to get back to Isle sur la Sorgue. But, I asked someone if it was worth going down, and they said it really wasn’t. And at the tourist office at Gordes she said it cost 10E to visit it and that it wasn’t that great! So I am happy with my decision… J
I went back down the roads I’d just come up so I could go visit Gordes. It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful towns in France – I totally lucked out by randomly choosing it! It is up on a hill and is on a bunch of levels and all in stone. There is a castle right in the centre, at the top of the mountain, too…so it pretty much is one of my favourites because there is a castle!
I locked up my bike and wandered around for a bit…there wasn’t much wandering to be done, however, because it was so small! And the insane number of tourists that were running around gets old really fast (Yah, I know I can’t really talk, but I didn’t arrive in a greyhound bus along with 100 other foreigners). The nice bakery lady filled up my waterbottle for me when I bought a bread thing for lunch…made me happy! And then I was pretty much done in Gordes.
It was too hot to keep going – I would have liked to, but the idea of it being any hotter when I had to go up those hills I’d come down (of which there were less to go up going back because there were more ups going to Gordes…) kind of put a negative spin on that idea!
Going home didn’t even kill me! Nope, I’m still in one piece! I went down and then up and then down to Fontaine de Vaucluse. I stopped there to have an ice cream cone – at the same place where I’d had one on Monday…and the guy probably thinks I’m totally nutty…it is the cheapest place I’ve found though, so it makes sense to me. It was very good lemon sherbet!!
There is no school on Wednesday afternoons, so I don’t have internet access again today. It is getting tight for my train tickets! Mathew (part of the OSEF crew) said I should buy my ticket for Saturday, but these guys are leaving on Friday…so I need to talk to Mathew to see if it works to take the train on Friday instead…we shall see…
And now I am thinking about a nap. It is only 4pm though…
P.S. So you don’t think I am totally wimpy…I went about 45km today…that isn’t that bad!!! And all the hills… 😉