We set off from Castellane with the mountain we had to climb looming in the distance.
It was a brilliant 52 mile bike ride to Carros (just above Nice), littered with beautiful blue lakes, crystal clear rivers and exciting tunnels carved out of the cliffs.
It even included a cycle across this awesome and absolutely humongous dam, an inspiring feat of manmade engineering, right next to the naturally awe-inspiring mountain ridges and bright blue water of the lake. WOWSERS!
With all that scenery on the way up, the top of the mountain turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. There was no view to stand and gawp at whilst we patted ourselves on the back, just a plaque by the side of the road confirming we had indeed just climbed a massive bloomin mountain and the downhill at the other side.
It was then quite a long but scenic 35 mile descent to our campsite. Not doing my fear of heights any good, there were some pretty hairy sections of the road with no barrier and a sheer 200ft drop off the edge that I couldn’t even look at without getting a little bit of sick in my mouth. Erk.
We stopped off at a cliff-side town to restock on patisserie goods and bread, went through a few more cool tunnels and arrived at our campsite early in the afternoon.
There was absolutely no signage whatsoever for the campsite and we thought we’d got the wrong place when we arrived. There was a barrier at the entrance with no sign of life inside. We rang the bell and two giant barking beast dogs appeared, followed by a tall French man who looked as confused as we were.
Luckily, he said we could have a pitch. We were one of only two tents on the entire (tiny) campsite and the other tent seemed strangely uninhabited. We were surrounded by motorhomes and caravans that were mostly empty and presumably just parked there for storage, including a pizza van in front of our pitch that was cruelly closed.
Still, with no civilisation for miles around, it was nice and quiet in the valley – perfect for us, except for the inescapable 45 degree heat. There really was no shade to be found anywhere = major sweat fest! We must’ve looked desperate and melting as a kind man came over and gave us some ice cubes for our water bottles. I’m not sure he intended for us to take them all but we did anyway and were eternally grateful for the 5 minutes of cool they brought to our afternoon.
As basic as the campsite was, it won our (virtual and ongoing) award for best washing up sinks with such luxury as free washing up liquid (first time we’ve actually washed our pans properly), a plug (honestly, the excitement when we saw the plug… eeep!) and even a draining board. Yippee! It was so good, I took a photo.
I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know we’ve also created running virtual “campsite facility awards” for best showers, laundry sinks, bogs and many more. I’m afraid this is the kind of delirium that results from a life of cycling in intense heat without TV or a constant internet supply, and it can only get worse…