69km Estelle – Lunas

Our departure from EstelleAfter a great breakfast – homemade bread and jam and two big cups of top notch coffee – our hosts for the last two days, Ingrid and Yves, waved us goodbye from their home. A big thank you for such a wonderful, if short, rest from the road. We laughed a lot, enjoyed conversation, swapping tips on cycling, patting their cat Garfield and of course eating a feast of food together. Yves is quite the kitchen expert and he showed us how to make mayonnaise in 30 seconds. You will have to visit if you want to know the secret! We want to return in the spring if possible. More so than the sights you see en route, the people you get to know are really the highlight of this trip for us.

We weaved our way between mountains and dried up river beds for the first part of the morning, climbing a reasonably steep hill with a few switchbacks before we arrived on a plateau about 11am. On our way up we met some hunters who were trying to catch wild boar. It seems a popular activity in the area as we have seen lots of cars with wild boar designs on the back windows. We also noticed a few signs protesting against any wind farms in the area. There must be a company trying to put some on the hills – not surprising if the wind we encountered around lunchtime was anything to go by – but apparently the locals are not keen and would rather keep their beautiful park land as it is.

There was a definite chill in the air as we stopped to make lunch, but it got warmer down in the valley, only to cool down again as we climbed a big hill late in the afternoon. We were not mentally prepared for the hill, thinking it would be smaller than it was, and found it very difficult to make our way to the top. The one nice thing we did see was a wild boar scooting across the road in front of us – perhaps trying to escape the hunters! Another long descent into the small town of Lunas where band music came to our ears from the town square. They were holding a telethon for handicapped children, an event which apparently happens all over France on this day. Something like the IWK telethon in the Maritimes or the Children in Need appeal in the UK.

By this time it was nearly 5pm and we were wondering what to do for the night when we saw an elderly couple and started chatting. We asked if they knew of a place where we could put our tent and they suggested the parking lot next to their house. This is hardly stealth camping as we are in full view of the road! But somehow we don’t mind it as we have asked the locals and they assured us it would be fine, and to knock on their door if we need anything. Already several cars have come and gone and hardly seemed to notice us tucked up in the corner of the parking lot.