This was a bit of a linking day. Like yesterday, we’ve been walking east most of the day and are no nearer the Mediterranean now than we were when we were having breakfast. If we had just continued south we would have run out of mountains too soon, and the GR5 really wouldn’t have liked that.
It was a day of beautiful villages (and one ugly one) with the inevitable up and down in between.
We had a very leisurely start and it was getting on for 9am before we were walking, which felt very decadent. It also felt very hot. We were so late starting that while we were putting on our boots two Dutch young women arrived, having already walked up from St Sauveur. We’ve met them a few times over the last few days. They set off from Holland in April.
Our route took us downwards at first, before climbing again to the village of La Bolline.
By the time we got to La Bolline it was time for coffee.
Then it was uphill for an hour to the next village- St Dalmas, another immaculate ancient village. St Dalmas is a major crossroads, albeit one which is completely invisible to anyone not hiking through. Here, finally, the GR5 decides there will be enough up and down to start going south again. But this is also where the GR52 starts, which gives an even more mountainous finale, and is our route of choice.
But from St Dalmas the GR52 actually heads north for quite a while before looping round and eventually heading south. We couldn’t bring ourselves to walk in the wrong direction, so our plan is to keep going east until we can pick up the GR52 as it heads south.
From St Dalmas in our easterly direction there was a steep climb up to La Colmiane, a small ski resort, which was fantastically ugly.
To go down to St Martin Vesubie, there was a choice of path, either side of a deep gorge. We chose the south side, but in an ideal world we would have chosen the other, because having gone down quite a long way on the steep forest track, we came to a sign which said that the path was closed and it was forbidden to go any further. There was nothing for it but to retrace our steps, and go down the other side. I’m not sure how far we had to go back up- a million feet maybe.
The descent on the other side was long but without incident and eventually St Martin came into view.
We have rented a little apartment here and are going to have a day off tomorrow, which as it happens is our wedding anniversary,