Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 8- Opierre to Digne les Bains

Today we made our way to Sisteron a mostly downhill run from Opierre.  We rode through an area laden with orchards of apricots, peaches, and nuts.  Once at Sisteron we stopped to visit the famous Citadel on atop the hillside overlooking the city below.  It was built in the 12th century and has a lot of history.  After a delightful lunch of pizza and salad in the old part of town we pressed on.  

                          The Citadel, atop the city of Sisteron

                                 Queen of the Citadel

                              East side of the river in Sisteron

                  Quick snack outside of Sisteron--giant meringue

This was one of the hottest days we had ridden yet and really took us into a remote area.  We rode most of the day on our own.  Tough climbing along a steep mountain side and at one point we ran out of water but were able to refill at a “parc animalier”, a remote mountain zoo.  After reaching our first summit at Authon we descended into the “foret de melan” and climbed to the top of the col de font belle”.  This climb seemed much easier and rewarded us with a beautiful vista and descent to the valley below and village of Thoard.  

One more climb over the pass de Bonnet and our final descent to Digne les Bains.  This was the largest town we had seen in over a week.  It reminded us of Paris with tree lined streets and more hustle and bustle than we were used to.  We made a bee line to the first bar in sight and spotted our tour leaders Glenn and Nancy, a welcome sight.  With a few beers and patis in us we were ready to take on the world!  This ended up being one of our toughest and most lonely days of the trip.

No comments: