Okay, I spoke a little too soon yesterday. Somehow I had my distances messed up and today was a really short day and tomorrow looks to be a little long. Also, please don’t tell anyone but even today we shortcut a little over a kilometer. We are still tired from yesterday’s ending.
Yesterday’s stop at the grocery store was important. There was no place to eat in Lurs as the only restaurant closes most days “out of season”. Also, those day hikers we shared a hostel with, while really nice people, they had one snorer amongst them that shook the building’s foundation. I had ear plugs and avoided the worst of it but Melanie doesn’t like using them when she sleeps. So she didn’t sleep.
Starting on the trail today was a little confusing too. We looked forward to relying on the blazes again but after only a few hundred meters, they disappeared. We had seen several directing us down a steep rocky path out of Lurs, just as our GPS said, but at the bottom of that trail, we reached a road and there was no blaze telling us which way to turn. We ended up following the GPS waypoints again for a couple of kilometers before the blazes were present again. After that, there were no issues.
Actually, there was one issue and that was with the weather. Almost every single day on this walk, we have had a few clouds in the morning when it is chilly and then the clouds clear away, the sun starts to burn and by noon, it is pretty darn hot. Today, on our shortest day of walking, we had clouds and cold all day long. I would have given my baby toe for just one cloud on most other days.
As for the trails today, we had lots of unused roads, farm tracks and rocky trails both up and down. As expected though, there were no long climbs but a couple of steep ones with challenging footing. There was nothing like yesterday, thankfully.
For some odd reason, the trail didn’t want to let us go into the beautiful town of Forcalquier. As we got close, the trail and GPS said that we had one more dog-eared detour to do which was away from town and then back. We ignored that and it meant we had a 1.2km shortcut. We were cool with that. I can’t imagine what that section would have given us over the nice direct route we took.
In Forcalquier, we had a bit of a wander around the central square before deciding on a place for lunch. We found a great cafe that had a deal for a drink and Croque Monsieur sandwich for 6.9€. It you don’t know what a Croque Monsieur sandwich is, we found out…. it’s a grilled ham and cheese sandwich where they forgot to put the cheese inside with the ham so they just put in on top later and let it melt all over the place. I can’t figure out these French chefs. As the main church was just across the square, we also went in to say a prayer and marvel at that 12th century concathedral.
It was a pretty simple final three kilometers to Mane and we checked a few restaurants out along the way. They are open tonight! We had to wait an hour for the B&B owners to get home and let us in but that didn’t set us back nearly as long as dealing with trying to get into their wi-fi, figure out how to operate the washing machine and dealing with the electricity that keeps going off. It’s a 200 year old house though so I guess it will have issues. I think that our apartment is in the old wine cellar that has been converted into a one bedroom, with living room, kitchen and “nearby” bathroom. We have to duck as we walk since the rock roof is curved but at least we have a bed and roof over our head. [edited to add one day later: when we passed by a restaurant earlier, we stopped in to ask if it was open for dinner. The owner said it was and asked if we wanted to make reservations. “In this tiny town?”, I thought. No, we will just come back later. At 7pm, we walked in and only two tables were taken. The snootiest waitress I’ve met in France explained that they were fully booked with many people reserving tables at 7:30pm. She suggested that the bar down the street might be able to make us a sandwich or we had to come back at 8:30pm. Ughh. We had a very late night.]