Tuesday 20 October 2009

Dear John.....

Its been 33 days since the last blog post as John Cotter pointed out to me so this one's for you John!

Since leaving Arco we've returned to France. First stop was Orpierre for more bolt clipping. Orpierre is a small medieval town in Provence. The little town is surrounded by limestone walls with lots of sports routes less than 10 minutes from the campsite. We spent about a week climbing there until my elbow couldn't hack the punishment anymore. Luckily we were headed for Nice at that stage to pick up my parents who were visiting for a few days.

After touring many closed campsites in the Nice area we eventually settled down in Menton, a small town about 30 mins from Nice city. Unfortunately for my exercise-phobic mother, the campsite was at the top of 300 steps. On seeing this she decided the guest annex (tent) was not for her and promptly checked into a hotel in town. We did see her again once in the campsite when Duncan's crepes tempted her. She arrived on a chauffeur driven (Dad) moped so managed to avoid the steps. We spent a few days sight seeing in various towns in the area - Nice, Monaco, Ventamiglia etc and spent the nights eating and drinking some nice French wines. Duncan got to see his favourite fish at the Monaco aquarium - a cuttlefish! It was all very civilized until the night we hooked up with Roger the alcoholic recovering heroin addict and Saeed the non-english speaking Berber. It was a late one. The next day was spent in recovery (for me at least).

We dropped my parents back to the airport and headed north again to the Verdon. The Verdon gorge is the biggest canyon in Europe and is absolutely stunning. The walls are limestone and the climbs are up to 250 m long, a mixture of sport and trad, single and multipitch. We spent about a week again doing a mixture of climbs. The climbs were good but unfortunately we had left the Verdon a little late. The weather was cooling down and the ground was covered in frost every morning. After so many months in the sun, we found this traumatic and so are currently in the process of migrating south to Espana! I'm reliably informed that the weather is always "scorchio" in Spain.

We're currently pitstopped in Carcassone in the south of Franc close to the Spanish border. It really is a fairytale town. Its a medieval fortified town from the 12th century surrounded by walls and towers topped with witches hat like roofs. There's not particulary much to do but really cool to wander round for a couple of hours. Tomorrow we'll hit Spain home of tapas and cava. Stay tuned John!