* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Little surprises

Little Surprises 1Sometimes, life takes a few unexpected twists; and sometimes, those twists lead us down paths to adventures we really hadn't planned on or expected to have.  Our walking into a sports store in search of some new sandals for Doc Leo provided one of those twists.

Instead of finding him some new footwear, we ended up walking out with a new tent we'd been searching for during a number of years.  Our old faithful started rotting in storage, but newer versions 25 years later were far from an equal replacement. Every year we've been so disappointed we couldn't find anything we liked.

While it was frustrating that we had no time to try it out, at least we'd have something for the future.  Then another twist allowed us to actually go away for a weekend.  Here's how it all turned out!

Little Surprises 2
Dairy Farm at Méailles

We decided to head off up north into the mountains (the Alps, of course), where it would probably be cooler than in the flatlands somewhere.  (And we ended up freezing both nights!).  The problem with that is that there are not many side roads leading off the main road when you are on the side of a steep mountain, thus it's hard to find a camping spot. 

Another little surprise was stumbling onto a dairy farm and actually getting permission to spend the night in one of their fields.

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A lovely spot for breakfast

The next morning, we had a lovely view of the local town while having our breakfast.  Notice the church steeple.

We'd had a delightful evening the night before watching the stars and listening to the bells chime in the tower.

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Méailles bell tower
Before continuing on our journey, we did a little of tour of the town, and thus we had a chance to see the pretty tower up close.

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Fountain in Le Fugeret
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Mountain water

Another surprise awaiting us was this pretty little village of under 200 inhabitants. 

Naturally, there was a central fountain, although we came across a number of others in the village. 

After learning the water was drinkable, we filled up one of our water bottles with the lovely mountain water.

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The grand street

I thought you might enjoy seeing what this village considers a large street. 

It does happen to be the main drag through town that all traffic must pass on! 

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Public bread oven

But we also encountered a little surprise in finding the town bread oven. 

I have no idea how old it is or if it's used today.  Perhaps it's just a communal pizza oven today.

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Proud of their village

In strolling around, we came across a few more little surprises. 

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I'm watching you!
I thought this little piece of artwork was rather cute. 

But I particularly found the little raccoon watching everybody below his balcony kind of fun!

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Beautiful wood jewelry and watches

As we carried on up on the road, we came across a Medieval Fair! 

Fortunately, we had the time to stroll around, and the Doc surprised me by buying me a watch made out of olive wood. 

Other woods were also possible, but olive is the wood to have in this region.

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Colmars-les-Alpes, a Medieval walled Alpine town
The fair was being held in a really cute walled Medieval town I hadn't expected to come across.

The Alps are dotted all over with little Medieval villages, but most of them are not quite as enclosed as this one.

There were also two military forts on either side to protect the town, so maybe it was quite important once upon a time!

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A pretty walk

Another surprise was discovering that there was a waterfall a short hike away.  It was definitely worth the little jaunt. 

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Rock climbers
We just happened to be there when a group of juvenile rock climbers were there and had to cross over the top of the waterfall to continue on their journey!

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Cascade de la Lance
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Visitors admiring the waterfall

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`Hamlet of Bayasse

Later, before it got dark, we needed to find another camp spot. 

Again, we faced the same problem of no side roads.  However, we did succeed in finding a nice little turnout hamlet, away from the main road where the camping cars were setting up their spots for the night in little parking areas.

I think our more secluded parking area had a lot more ambiance!

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Admiring Mont Pelat

I thought you also might enjoy the charm of the area, which the Doc enjoyed contemplating in the daytime. 

The night before, we again sat out to watch the stars, and I saw the biggest falling star I think I've ever seen in my life.  It left a streak that seemed to cross half the sky!  But there was no way to record it for you!

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Making coffee out in nature
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A tranquil breakfast

After freezing all night, I was definitely ready for my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I think I was layered in four tops! 

We've had this table, cook set, and dishes set for over 25 years now, but they are all so much fun to use and still look brand new.  The folded table fits so nicely on the back deck of the car.

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Looking down on Estanc

The last major surprise was discovering that we were passing the source of the river our house faces, so of course we had to check it out.  

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The origins of our local river

First, I thought I was just taking a photo of a pretty view from way up in the mountains.

Later, I discovered that actually was where the source of the river was!

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Starting off small
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Feasting on the blossoms
It starts off as barely a little trickle, and the local vegetation attracts all kinds of pretty little flying beauties. 

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A pleasant spot
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Reflection of the surrounding terrain
Then it flows into this lake that actually dams it up a bit before carrying on, where it eventually dumps into the Med next to the airport.  It is quite a rocky river, but it serves to control the snow run-off.

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The river growing as it progresses downward
Later, as we followed the river home, we had a bit larger view of it from a grassy knoll where we stopped for lunch, but it definitely continues to widen as it drops down to the Sea!

I hope you've been able to experience a few little surprises yourselves this summer. 

As there was a lot more to our weekend, stay tuned to see what a Medieval Fair looks like in an actual Medieval village!


  1. Thanks for sharing your journey! It sounds like you savoured every minute. What a perfect camping set up you have, that red table is very cute and practical!

  2. How nice to see a post from you, dear Alpine Queen. I've missed them. You take such great pictures and go such interesting places. This one is wonderful and I'm delighted for you both that you found the tent you've been looking for. The watch looks lovely,too! This is so great to see.
    Love to you both!

  3. What a nice adventurous camping trip! Sounds like a lot of fun! Glad you got to camp in your own privates spots!


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