Through Joucas to Rousillon
Roussillon Travel Blog› entry 9 of 19 › view all entries
June 8th, 2004 – by: jsbuck1
Breakfast is outdoors. Coffee, bread, confiture, fruit. It is plenty. The map is on the table and we are planning the day. We are tempted by two different wild gorges that lead back down into the valley but end up going straight down through Joucas and then over to Roussillon. Jeannine makes a call for us to one of the B&B's in our guidebook.
The idea from France on Foot was to buy some guide books and cut and paste information about all the towns that are on your or near your planned route. Then if you change your mind, as you inevitably will, you will have information on lodging and restaurants and any of the things you might want to see.
The woman answers and says she has a room but she won't be back from Marseille until 6 PM. We say okay and after saying goodbye to everyone (Bruno and family are preparing for a day of biking on their new bikes) and getting a picture of Claude, we are on our way.
We walk through the town of Murs, stopping in at the Crillon Hotel to take a look at it and say hello. We didn't have the courage to ask to see a room We buy another map which we will need in a few days as we progress across the countryside.
I was pretty happy with my boots when I used them in the desert, but was now getting a twinge in the arch of my foot. I had hiked through it the day before, but at the first cherry-eating break of the day, I took my boots off to make a close examination. I found that the Dr. Scholl gelsoles that I had added to make them more comfortable was in fact doing the opposite. They had a spot that pushed up on the tender skin of the insole. I removed them and carried them as far as Roussillon where they found a trashcan, the first of our jetsam.
Joucas turned out to be another beautiful hill town. This time we approached the town from above, walking down a winding narrow street to the center. We stopped for a couple of beers and to rest our legs, finishing up our leftover breakfast goodies as our trail lunch. The afternoon was hot again. We passed through many vineyards with very little shade. Unfortunately we had to walk on pavement most of the way from Joucas to Rousillon. I started developing the dreaded shin splints. Ever since I did the Walk for Hunger about ten years ago and limped my way for the last five of the twenty miles, I have been easily vulnerable to shin splints. I had brought along an elasticized shin compressor, and Stephen had an old Ace bandage in the first aid kit. So we swaddled up my legs, I took some ibuprofen, drank a lot of water, rested a bit, and went on.
Approaching Rousillon was another long uphill walk. Priding itself on its ochre cliffs of eighteen colors, it is a major tourist attraction. We actually got there about 4:30 p.m. and went to have a drink, figuring the B&B lady would not be back yet from Marseilles. However, on the way up to town we stopped at a construction site to get a view of some of the cliffs. I sat on a stump of an evergreen tree, not realizing that I was getting glued to the stump by sap. I have now added to my French vocabulary the words for "stump" (une souche) and "sap" (la seve). I used these words to ask a very nice lady at the pharmacy if she had a solvent I could buy to clean up my pants. We chatted. The old "where did you learn your French" subject came up again, and I told her about our hiking plans. "What, you're not going to Lioux? Why you must; it's a beautiful town on an extraordinary falaise (granite outcropping), and I grew up there," said the lovely lady with the long blonde ponytail. Stephen and I figured that if we could find a place for lunch there, we would do the extra distance and hit Lioux on our way to St. Saturnin. So I asked the pharmacy lady if she knew of a lunch place there, and she said to try the Auberge. She looked up the phone number and wrote it down for me. I had the feeling she would have called the place herself on our behalf, but her supervisor was giving her the eye for chatting so long when customers were waiting.
Once we got to the B&B, dealing with a gate and two menacing large dogs, it felt great to soak my shins in cold water. In fact, that became our after-hike ritual, soaking our feet and shins in cold water before taking a shower. It seems to help. I recommend this ritual to other hikers.
Going back up the short climb to town from our B&B was a pleasure without the packs. In addition to throwing out the insoles, my hand towel and an old pair of spare pants have made the recycle list. Lighter is better. In town, we had a successful trip to the ATM, it turns out to be our last for quite awhile. And a successful trip to a casual restaurant for dinner. We caused a little ruckus, by giving our table for four to a young family that came in after we had ordered and took the table for two that they were about to attempt to sit around. The swap gave the guys delivering the food fits for the rest of the night. Our meals must have been labeled by table number. We walked around town after dinner, and from the very top I got a chance to identify some of the towns that I had been researching and fantasying about for the prior two months. Being as late as it was, it was the night flight airplane view, a bunch of lights here, a scattering of lights there. We head back to the B&B; I forget how we got by the dogs. Dawn's pants had gotten cleaned. Our first full day of the hike was over. Not bad. We were still figuring things out
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