If you read yesterday’s blog you will know of my concern about paying the hotel bill. Consequently, I did not eat breakfast at the hotel, instead eating left overs I had carried for a couple of days- lentils, olives and three day old bread roll. I’ve been very strict on myself about not throwing away food. Surprisingly, it was quite tasty. That is, if you don’t mind lentils for breakfast.

I started to walk shortly after 8.00am. It was going to be a short walk of around 13km to Barcelonnette, but before I had gone too far I knew I was going to have a problem with my right leg. Normally, and there have always been a couple of issues with my right leg when I set out each day, any problem that presents itself disappears after I’ve been walking a few hundred metres. Not today. My right leg
was letting me know it needed a good rest. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been considering taking two nights in Barcelonnette, and that’s hiow it’s turned out.

La Condamine sits at around 1,300 metres so it was a cool start to the day, particularly because the sun was hidden behind a mountain for about the first hour. It was a beautiful walk with the Alps to the east of me, another line of mountains to the west, and some flat ground in between. To my left as I descended was a ‘white water’ river. Actually the water isn’t clear like I saw the last few days in Italy, but a milky, light caramel colour. I noticed a couple positions where canoes could be launched. The scenery was nothing like I’ve experienced before. Truly awesome.

I passed through Jausiers, a pretty town where I got some cash from an ATM. The villages I’ve so far seen in France leave me with a different sense of space. The French ones seem to take up more space than their Italian counterparts. One thing I noticed immediately was when motorists moved to their left to make way for me, they used their indicators to warn of their intending change. Not so in Italy where there were thousands of cars passed me.

I arrived in Barcelonnette around 11.15am, booked into the first hotel I saw (a product of having looked on the internet) only to be told that my room would not be available until 3.00pm. This was a good opportunity to take a look around. The main street was packed with Saturday morning shoppers. I found markets in a nearby car park where I bought dried fruit and nuts to satisfy my sweet tooth. There were two stalls selling beds and mattresses all set up on the roadway. I like the colour and movement in these places: the displays of meat, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, spices, honey, jams, bread and tarts. Soon after the markets I settled into a cafe in
the square behind my hotel intending to do some work with my iPad after eating.

I headed to the hotel shortly before 1.00pm only to find the doors locked and a message saying they would open again at 3.00pm. I just love the way (in an ironical sense) that you are not given the full story when you register. For instance, I had a camping ground operator walk fifty metres with me to show me the location of the shower block but omitted to say anything about the showers being operated by discs which were available at reception counter we had just left. I only found this out after I got to the shower and could not work out how to operate it. I now make a point of
asking if there is wi-fi, is breakfast included and what time does it start. My experience is that if you don’t ask for this information it’s very, vey rarely volunteered. Today was a typical example by not being told that the doors would be locked for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

I did use the time well: I went to the local church and sat without disturbance for about 45 minutes while I did a meditation and then went to this massively large supermarket. Sometimes these towns really surprise me with what they have available. I sniffed out a laundromat and wrote up my notes while I waited for my
clothes which really needed a bit of rough and tumble after six weeks of hand washing, and in the case of some clothes, never having been washed on this trip.

We had some rain this afternoon. I hope it rains itself out before I get going again on Monday. A few days ago I was told about a snow forecast for Sunday on the higher peaks. From Barcelonnette I head west for a couple of days before turning south again. This should keep me away from any cool winds that might blow off any fresh snow.
On their 7th release, american idiot, green day served up a concept album airing out all the anger, sadness, and frustration of a decade lost entirely to war