Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Truffle Overrated

It was an early start today for Carpentras to hear the bell which signaled the start of the truffle market, and then to browse through the town's market. Unfortunately, it appeared that many people had the same idea and parking was extremely hard to come by. We finally made it to what we thought was the truffle spot, and were disappointed to see that all it consisted of was what seemed like secret men's business. The only proof I saw that this had anything to do with truffles at all were the pictures on the vans that were closely parked together in the one spot. Yep, highly scientific and that'll do me. Tick.

The weather feature for the day was fog, and not just some wussy fog but a fog that would do marching armies proud. What great cover it would give if you happened to have a conquering force that needed to move without being seen. Not so good though, if you were a car driving at speed on roads which had no streetlights nor reflectors. Malcolm's inspiration for the day was to drive above the fog. As we climbed in altitude towards Mont Ventoux, we could see! The small village of Le Barroux gave us an excellent vantage point to appreciate the vast fog carpet beneath us.

Fog all around on the ground

At Le Barroux. That's the fog below!
From Le Barroux, we swung by Malaucene and continued our ascent towards Mont Ventoux. It was a steep climb and the scenery changed to snow very quickly. Unfortunately, along with the snow also came ice. With no snow tires nor 4 wheel drive, Malcolm decided to deploy the snow chain. Alas it took us a while to pass the intelligence test of untangling the chains. We did make it to Mont Serin where we enjoyed the snow capped view of Mont Ventoux. We could also see our next base, the Alps. Malcolm decided that it was too scary and we turned around. This mind is wondering how we are going to get to the Alps in 2 days time...
Close up so you can actually see the towns and roads being engulfed by it.

Untangling snow chains

Mont Ventoux
On our way down, we stopped by a lovely restaurant next to a small pretty spring. The romans built an aquaduct from the spring to a nearby town and I could understand why. The spring had the clearest water! It also had 2 of the fattest ducks I had ever seen in my life. All that was going through my head was that if we were in China, those ducks would not be swimming so happily in the water...

Two fat ducks went out one day...

All those things you can see in the middle are UNDER the water
Our last stop of the day was the Pont du Gard, and ancient roman aquaduct built in the 1st century. Amazingly, the bridge descends only 2.5cm across the river. The mind boggled at how accurate the Roman engineers had to be. We headed home once again with the failing light and wandered around the old centre of Arles before retiring for the evening

Pont du Gard

If there is a trail, we shall walk it...

Amazing views from the top

You come all the way to France to have Australian cookies

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