Guess what type of trail we walked on today. Go on, guess. Actually, only the first 2km was on the old rail line and we were thankful for that. Unfortunately, the next 18km was also on blacktop roads or sidewalks. With a blazing sun later in the day, my watch was recording temperatures up to 34°C (93°F). That was brutal for us but also one benefit…. I finally learned how to type the degree symbol on an iPad. °°°°° (not bad for an old guy, eh?)
Today was market day in Coustellet but it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one in Apt. it was still cool to see the vibrancy of the town though as well as the impressive looking produce. We couldn’t find anything like the trail mix from yesterday and one vendor only sold their dried fruits in overly large batches so we didn’t buy anything.
After that last bit along the rail line, we had about 7km of very quiet roads mostly in between residences and farms and heading west. It was hard to find places to water the plants but where there’s a need, there’s a way. After that point, we started heading south on suburban streets then city streets through the city of Cavaillon. For whatever reason, we were directed through the narrowest of streets, avoiding the commercial streets that may have had cafes. We did stop in the gorgeous 11th century cathedral but mass was going on.
Some bars on the main road were open but had nothing to eat. Restaurants were open but not yet serving food so we just kept going. Just before crossing the river and leaving that city, Melanie spotted a potential place to eat called Flunch. Oh my, what a place it was too. To imagine the concept of Flunch, you have to understand how the restaurant was likely founded. This may be completely wrong but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. A French man was walking through some big American city, for example, Baltimore. He got lost and went into a high school (secondary school) to ask for directions. Somehow he stumbled into the cafeteria at the height of lunchtime and he saw the long queue of students waiting for food. A lightbulb went off in his head. The man came up with the ingenious idea of marrying cafeteria service and gourmet French fast food. Sounds like a winner, right? You go through the cafeteria line and get your plate and main dish, then you can go to the vegetable station and add on as much vegetables as can fit on your plate. The place was crowded with 80 year-old pensioners who obviously can afford to eat only once every week or so. When they are not eating, they are practicing piling vegetables on plates. I swear, some of these old folk were stacking zucchini slices 20 pieces high so that they could also fit on the fries, carrots, corn, broccoli, long beans, and ratatouille next to their duck liver or pâté. You could even get wine from a fountain. “Flunch – French lunch in a jiffy!”
After lunch, we crossed the Durance River for the last time. We haven’t seen it for several days and it surprised us. The main reason it surprised us was because it was flowing northward. All along, we have been moving south along with its waters. I just learned that it made a U-turn about 50km south east of us and is now flowing northwesterly toward the Rhône River. I can’t wait until the next pub quiz night. They may ask about that.
After crossing the Durance,the GR trail now follows a new path. Previously it went southward along the river to Orgon. Now it goes via a quiet parallel road that at least provides shade in a few places. After going through the small village of Orgon, we had a 2km walk along the D248 where we shortcut a silly loop, saving a little over 1km. That took us to the 20km point for the day and we were very hot, very tired and very much praying that the next section was gently downhill, with a shaded, air-conditioned travellator with chairs, passing by beautiful scenery and several bars. It turns out that it wasn’t. The next 4km were finally off-road but on a very course gravel that was more of an insult to our feet than a relief. We passed by a couple of trees but mostly were left to bake in the sun. It was the closest I’ve come to quitting a walk. It was a remote trail though so I’d be surprised if a taxi somehow passed by to give me that final temptation.
We were on survival autopilot for the last 2km into Eygalières. Melanie is sleeping already and I keep fading too. It’s 6:30pm. We could probably sleep until morning but missing dinner is a bad idea. Tomorrow’s walk is shorter but we still need energy. Just not solar energy.