Author Topic: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France  (Read 1543 times)

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #30 on: 09:54:38, 22/05/17 »
Then I really embarrassed myself! It was a sunny hot morning and I was feeling 'grey' and had a headache as well! Too much wine the night before? I decided I would hitch back to La Palud. The first lift took me to the Point Sublime area again. It was now hotter and I was not feeling too good. I got in a second car, the driver was smoking, his car stank of stale tobacco, the roads were very windy and he drove fast! About 5 km on I had to say to pull over, he did and I threw up into the kerb! So embarressing, I bet he thought typical Brit abroad?

After Le Palud I did a long day hiking to Moustiers, a very touristy but also a very attractive village. My first task was a camp site, the owner let me sleep on a wooden veranda, which was also a covered area as well. It was a palace compared to my tarp. I had the use of a chair, a table, a sink, running water, plus electricity to charge all my stuff.

I then had a good look around the village, very nice, I found an excellent little restaurant tucked away in what I would call an alleyway, run by four young women. They were charming and as I sat and listened to them chatter they were also very sporty, climbing, mountain bikes, road bikes and so on. Certainly an evening to remember. I never did find out if they were staff, or if one or more owned the place?

I then went back to the site to sleep, it was so comfortable and for once a warmish night. Until that night the previous ones had ranged from very cold to just cold.

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #31 on: 10:14:53, 22/05/17 »
I've never attempted a trip before so please indulge for a couple more entries.

I then started to hike towards Riez, by now the main mountains were behind me, I was now in more undulating country and there came a point after a couple of hours where I had to make a choice, follow the GR4 to Ste Croix du Verdon or follow the GR4 Varient. I chose the varient because I was now becoming aware that I need to be in the right place to catch my Marseille flight home. The varient route was in fact very nice, I walked through miles and miles of lavender fields, all neatly laid out in rows.

If I felt confident that I had the time I would have walked towards Ste Croix du Verdon. I did have the time in reality but did not realise this until a couple of days later. I arrived in Riez, an old Roman place, now looking a bit jaded and booked onto another site. Then I did the same old routine, walked into town, had a wander around first then a meal and wine, then back to the site to sleep.

The next morning was hot and sunny (again!) so off I strolled. After about an hour out of town I had a 5 second scare! Like so much of Southern France and in the Pyrenees, the local farmers use special large sheepdogs to guard their flocks, I was told that more have been imported since the increase in the Wild Boar and Wolves population.

I saw a flock of sheep ahead but luckily in a couple of minutes my path veered away from them. Without warning a large white sheepdog came bounding towards me, barking very aggressively! My heart missed a beat or two, I'm never happy near dogs but by now had got onto the diverted footpath my back was now turned to him. He came within 6 feet of me, barking, I thought I was going to have major trouble but he then stopped. I just carried on walking, I sideways glanced back and could see he was returning to his mates! Phew, I felt really lucky!

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #32 on: 10:34:48, 22/05/17 »


Not sure if this is real Roman or has been erected just for tourists?



These rows of lavender may look boring but in reality they are very attractive and the aroma is so dominating.

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #33 on: 10:46:36, 22/05/17 »
A long but fairly easy walk today to Greoux les Bains. As I walked I really thought it was Sunday, I did not realise untill later on that it was Saturday, somehow I had lost a hiking day? So I started to hurry to ensure that I arrived in Manousque by Monday morning to catch a coach to Marseille airport. I arrived in Greoux les Bains to find it was a real turist destination, old small town, a river, loads of camping sites and dare I say it, very chic!



Just a curve in the road in Greoux les Bains, but if you are ever here, go to the bakery, just to my right. Heavenly croissants and all types bread and cakes!
I felt in a hurry only stayed a short while and felt I had to get to Manousque so I hitched. The driver spoke very good English and it is because of him that I found out that it was Saturday and not Sunday. I couldn't believe it at first but when he dropped me in the car park of a large supermarket the penny had dropped!

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #34 on: 10:57:30, 22/05/17 »
He drove off, I was on the edge of the town and faced the possibility of killing time for two days before my coach. Within a minute I decided what to do, it was only about 5.00pm so I immediately hitched back to Greoux les Bains and decided to indulge myself in the town. I was back in about 30 mins, irritated with myself, yes but I felt better her that wandering around the larger town of Manousque.

I found a municipal cam site and organised myself and my stuff and hid my rucksack in a dry ditch, fed up with carrying it today. I wandered into the small town. It had one main walking street and it was bustling and lovely, so I had my evening meal and this time had four glasses of wine!



Before my meal arrived the waitress bought me this, no idea what it was, just seeds on the top and below a youghurt type stuff, with a trace of alcohol in it I think. She indicated that is was given to customers to stimulate their appetite. It was delicious!

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #35 on: 11:30:53, 22/05/17 »
The next morning I resumed the GR4 and walked into Manousque, again an old Roman town. I didn't like it one bit, it was scruffy and dirty, the townspeople that were serving me was a bit like being in the UK, surly and/or smart arsed waiters trying to hassle customers to eat drink and move on! There were also so many drunks and drug addicts around, sprawled over the pavements, begging and staggering around, for me I even had a youngish woman offering me 'you know what' whilst indicating we should go up an alleyway together.

I decided this was the night for a hotel which looked good from the outside but in reality turned out to be a Travellodge type building and dingy as hell. The sheets were clean though, the water was hot and breakfast was good.

I found a good restaurant that evening which made up for the hassle I had been getting earlier so I had a meal and then strolled back to my hotel and slept like a log.

The next morning I had a short stroll to the train station and I caught a coach to Marseille. Only one more little 'bit of fun' to report! It was a luxury modern coach, air conditioned and almost full. I sat near the middle just opposite the steps that led down to the exit door. We were on the motorway when an elderly gentleman from a front seat slowly got up and walked slowly towards me. He had that expressionless look that some people have who are suffering from Parkinsons Disease, and when he reached me he turned and started to descend the steps. At the bottom step there was a door on the left into a small toilet and he couldn't open it. So without any hesitation he just decided to have a wee right there and then! A French middle aged couple in front of me started shouting at him and called out to the driver. He could not stop, we were belting along the motorway and he had a timetable to follow! The old gent did his business, tided himself up and slowly wandered back to his seat. He did not comment, did not acknowledge anyone around him, smile, glare or anything else, he was serene in his own world. A couple of passengers were not happy especially when the acidity pee fragrance started to drift through the coach and started to make our eyes water.

A few kilometres on and the problem was solved, the driver stopped at Aix to let passengers off and he emptied 2L of water onto the bottom step. We then drove to the airport, I waited and then caught the plane back to Gatwick.

My hike didn't go fully to plan, but except for one day the weather was wonderful and I had great fun hitchiking around the gorge du Verdon area. The walk at the bottom of the Gorge was my highlight and I am so very glad that I made the effort to do it.

One good thing bit of learning for me, I will not be Tarping again! Too basic and not enough to offer over a tent to make it worth while to do again. Never mind it was a good experience. A great hiking area.

alewife

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #36 on: 19:53:38, 22/05/17 »
Your earlier pics have now gone awol via tinypic, did you delete them from their site?
Alewife


...beware of the bull!

DevonDave

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #37 on: 22:32:53, 22/05/17 »
I have really enjoyed reading about your trip.  Many thanks for posting.   O0

adalard

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #38 on: 09:28:35, 23/05/17 »
It's been great following your hike and the adventures along the way. Sounds like you had a really enjoyable (and varied!) trip, even if plans changed on the hoof. Thanks for writing it up and sharing the photos. :) O0

glovepuppet

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #39 on: 10:45:23, 23/05/17 »
We're off to France in a couple of days - walking the GR65 from Conques to Moissac.  :)


Thanks for your TR - it's really got me in the mood for a bit of French hiking!  O0

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #40 on: 11:12:19, 23/05/17 »
Yes I did take them from the Tinypic site, I wasn't sure if I should leave them there or not?

I hope you have good weather Glovepuppet. I really enjoyed my section of the GR65 last year, from Le Puy en Velay to Figeac, all the best things in life, good food, wine, cakes and nice people.

gunwharfman

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Re: !2 days Hiking the GR4, France
« Reply #41 on: 11:33:26, 23/05/17 »
Just some final thoughts. My equipment performed well, my Osprey 48L was excellent, enough space for all my stuff and clothes and as always very comfortable to carry. My 'almost new' Brasher Superlites were almost perfect, comfortable and just enough ankle grip to keep me stable on the rough rocky paths. I used a Sea to Summit folding bowl for the first time, why have I never taken one before??? Ideal for washing my clothes and for soaking my hot feet, absolute bliss! My new Anker battery boosted my phone at the end of each day and didn't itself need charging for a week. Its only slight downside is that it weighs 12oz. I took two bamboo baselayers with me, they were good, wicked away sweat very well and although I washed each one every second day they did not smell, they took some time to dry though. I think they are better for our type of cooler climate, next time I'll stick to synthetic ones. As usual I used municipal campsites when ever I could, they can be so much cheaper than other types.

I used the Sity Trail app as my map, all of the GR routes are clearly displayed and I had no trouble with following the routes at all. The routes are displayed in dark blue, fine for most people I'm sure, but for a colour blind person like me I would have preferred to have been able to change the colour to yellow, but never mind, it worked well and thats what matters most.

Lastly, if like me you prefer to pay by cash, top up at Grasse, as far as I know there isn't a single cash machine around until Entravaux, about 4/5 days away, or at Castellane which is about 7/8 days away. Not sure how many places will let you pay by card in between these places?