Wednesday, September 29, 2010

La Drôme: churches, waterfalls and medieval mania

green is mountain,
red is highway,
blue is our road :)

We left Allex in the morning and headed to the market: tomatoes, peaches, bread, green beans. Market tomatoes.....SO good.

market tomato being sliced with our big camping knife for sandwiches

Our first event was in a small village called Gigors et Lozeron. Which is more letters than there are people in the village. We took a hike that started at a church and ended at a church. One church is big, imposing, medieval stone and the other only like a cave but then locked behind a modern sheetrocked bit of construction.
So logical that you would put the ruins that you invite people to hike in 2 HOURS to see, behind a construction box so that THOSE people then can't see the church.

medieval stone eglise

After our hike we headed over to this trail where we are supposed to stay the night. We drive through this beautiful valley and into a gorge. White and orange painted cliffs on either side. At the lowest point, we cross a small bridge with a moulin ("mill") attached to a restaurant. Which I then become obsessed with eating at. Enter bad restaurant experience #852. (And it is not even because I had snails for dinner.)

We sit down on the patio next to the beautiful stream, it starts raining.
We move to be under an umbrella.
My boyfriend starts (as is his addiction) watching/listening to people around us and decides the guy next to us and his wife rate 10 on the most disagreable restaurant customers ever.
The wait staff refuse to be outdone by this guy: He changes the wine 3 times. They bring the wrong plates to the table. He barely touches his food because the wine is wrong, they start packing it in for the night (uh, what restaurant closes at 9p.m.)
I can't add anything to eat to my small meal of onions and snails because there are 4 people wandering around this small patio, but none of them can come over so I can order.
We leave 25 minutes later after letting go of our hope that anyone working here will come back to our table, and finally go to pay at the cash register.

We continue to our destination: La Chute de la Druise (waterfall), hiking past the no camping sign down to the stream, and round the bend. We allow our brand spanking new 2 seconds tent to explode itself into tent, and crawl inside just in time for the first drops of rain to fall.
I am genius. Taking my boyfriend camping sauvage (no campground) for the first time in the middle of a rocky gorge where it is raining. What better way to find out if you really love eachother than buy putting the other one in mortal danger of a flash flood. Genius, I say.
Sadly nothing was revealed during the night, lots of lightening but the storm had no real water power. We woke up at 7h30 to this

...and my overwhelming urge to get in the freezing cold, virgin waters of the enormous waterfall. I thought outdoorsy french people got up early and I HAD to be the first of the day, but no, they are like Parisians and would not be climbing out of their BOWLS of coffee until 11h. So technically I could have waited at least until the sun hit the trees and the water was more than 10 degrees above freezing. Did you know that rainwater is COLD?!

On a positive: I got to watch the sun come over the gorge. Which I could not -or perhaps would not- have done, had I stayed in bed and waited for the sun to hit. And so hiking out looked like this...

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