Three days ago we passed our first lavender field.  The mountains were becoming more rounded, the style of the houses was changing, and we began to hear cicadas.  The city of Sisteron, self-described as the gateway to Provence, made it official: we have entered that justifiably famous region.

Starting with Sisteron we have been treated to a series of beautiful cities and villages in the Provençal style.  There is a real depth of history in these towns, with their tight, medieval layout and Renaissance architectural details.  It is a delight to wander through them.

Yesterday evening we walked into the medieval village of Peyruis for bakery goods and a look around.  While looking around the square beside the church a gentleman asked if we would like to see the inside of the church.  He spent half an hour with us, pointing out details in the church, including the name of his great-uncle on that always surprisingly long list of the village youth killed in the carnage of World War I.  He then left us to enjoy the church on our own, asking only that we close the door when we left.

During our week in the high Alps we enjoyed very pleasant temperatures for walking, with dawn temperatures as low as 6 degrees.  That is changing as we lose elevation and are confronted with a high pressure system bringing higher temperatures.  This system even has a name: Cerberus, after the three headed hellhound from Greek mythology.  We are currently experiencing tolerable daily highs of 32 degrees, but forecasts for the next week run as high as 39 degrees.  If these materialize I’ll probably have to start my daily walk before dawn.

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