Short workout and some fine, hot jets before what turned into a marathon touring day.
Our sights are set on Gorges du Verdon, and the helpful concierge desk gives us a route, so off we go.
I take a half a Dramamine, and Kat opts to depend on her mints. Both of us suffer from motion sickness, and the route’s windy.
My Dramamine outlasts Kat’s mints by a thread, and just under two hours in, BW pulls over so she can get out and breathe, walk, settle. Then she takes the wheel as it helps to drive.
There’s a big fortress on a high hill, little villages, larger ones. Landscape that goes from woodsy to pastoral to rocky and steep. Now the road isn’t just windy. It’s sinuous, snaky, switchbacky–and all the Dramamine in the world isn’t going to handle it.
We stop often, which is good. End up turning on a little, skinny road already lined with cars that turns out to be a route down to a beach–and a jump-off point for white-water rafting.
Crowds of people, high cliffs, so many crisped trees from this long drought. We stop again, a couple little stands, lots of people, and walk. Walking good!! Everything’s so dry, and the landscape’s like the moon. Gray and stony as we climb, but the views are awesome. Wild rock formations–one so big and smooth and level it looks hewed by a giant’s axe then polished. Others are rough and tumbled, high and rounded, and it’s such a clear day it seems you can see for miles and miles and miles.
I buy chips at a stand as salt sometimes keeps things settled. They help some.
Up, up, up. The gorge is pretty amazing. We get out for a overlook. By now my legs are shaky–a side-effect of the queazies, but the being out in the air’s better. My mistake? Looking down even for a flash at the overlook.
Holy crap!!! Uneasy stomach drops to knees, whines: Don’t do that!
We’re seriously high here. There’s a guy whose vertigo must be worse than mine sitting on the platform, holding onto the rail and obviously working himself up to look. I opt to look out, just out and absolutely not down. And that’s another painting.
The river is that strange, beautiful teal where the river cuts its curving path through the steep, green cliffs. It’s lined with brown as it must be considerably more shallow now than usual. From this height it looks as though you could walk across it.
Kat points out getting back up once on the other side would be a serious issue.
It looks–what I see down from looking out–like one of those toy landscapes on a model train set. You know those trees are tall and huge, but they look so tiny, and make a deep green, bumpy carpet on the sheer rise.
The cliffs rise up higher and higher, and the green gives way to stone or vegetation burned brown by the sun. Hawks circle in the sky.
We go through rock tunnels–literally rock with rough, stony arches–and odd stone juts like free-form rock awnings, skinny, ever-winding roads, climbing higher. For a while we follow a little blue car in a parking game. We seem to arrive at a pull-out just as the car leaves, and slide into his spot. Handy.
I see a sign that puts us at 1285 meters. That’s high, even this math and distance declined woman knows that’s high. Between the height and the constant swerving road my system has failed.
Anyone who experiences motion sickness knows once you pass a certain point, that’s just it. You’re going to be queasy and off for the duration.
We make our descent, the mountains high around us, and finally into a pretty hill village–a pretty big one–at roughly four in the afternoon. Too late for lunch, too early for dinner for most restaurants. But we park, and we walk. I know my family asked what I wanted to do, but I had to tell them: I need to be led. My mind is mush, and can’t make any rational decision.
We walk. It’s a pretty town, I can see that. Color, movement, shops with their wares displayed, people walking dogs. And a beautiful, shady promenade on the way to the only restaurant we can find serving at this odd hour.
It’s busy and noisy, but we can order. I think plain, simple pizza as it might soothe. One slice is all my system accepts. I distract myself watching the waitress who hustles and looks distracted and out of sorts. And when I see her go into the bathroom, come out in a different outfit, I wonder why.
As she continues to take orders and serve, she’s not off-shift. Maybe it’s her evening waitress outfit. The bar and its tender are busy throughout in this little place. Jason comments I must be sick because I don’t even look at the gelato display.
No poking in the shops for me either at this point. My goal is home where the world will be still.
But we’re nearly two hours from that paradise.
Still, the route back is straighter for the most part, and heads down (or winds) through forest and farmland. Gorgeous green stands of trees, quiet fields. We wonder at the lack of livestock. We haven’t seen a cow or sheep so far in Provence. Horses, but no other livestock.
Vineyards, forests, pretty houses. Kat is steady on the wheel.
A huge lake–that wonderful color–with a beach and the people spread on it. Boats on the water, swimmers all making a living postcard.
And at last, the road home. There’s our market. And finally our turn into the resort.
Walk to the villa, breathe, sit in a seat that doesn’t move. Heaven.
We watch livestream from the States on the eclipse, and that’s pretty amazing. I think about food, decide to avoid that and just sit and relax until bed.
This will be my last adventure involving hours of serpentine roads.
Today I’ll happily stay put, workout, maybe take a swim. If my system’s fully recovered, it may be a good day to write for a couple hours. I think my traveling companions are ready for a vacate day as well. We left before eleven yesterday, returned about seven. That’s a long day.
Some answers to questions I’ve seen in comments:
No, I really don’t get recognized, and am grateful. Most people don’t recognize writers, so it makes it easy.
Yes, I think the proximity to Italy–esp in Eze–was an influence on the cuisine. Italian food is everywhere. (and yummy.)
I’m reading New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson–science fiction about NY, and a particular group in a particular building–decades after climate change has flooded the city.
And to add Jason and Kat nipped me by under a hundred steps (both of them) on our Weekend Warrior challenge. I’m working on defending my title for the Workweek Hustle.
In today’s #randomkatness:
In case you want to experience some tiny portion of Nora’s motion sickness, watch BW’s gif over and over. I dare you! ~Laura