June 21st Echelles to St Maurice de Rotherens

Currently in a night in a hotel followed by a night in gite d'etape routine. Felt a bit ripped off last night given that I got a table d'hote but then paid a course by course price, a sort of menu price without getting to see the menu. No idea what's going on. Given how primitive the place is I'm staying in tonight it should be exceptionally cheap.

Was pleased to get on the road this morning as I was feeling self conscious. Despite washing my t-shirt last night it still smelt this morning and I couldn't help notice the landlady opening the window just after I sat down for breakfast. Today was very hot and sticky.

Given the position of the hotel to the north west of Echelles I decided not to tramp all the way back into town but instead headed north picking up the GR 9 just to the west of Attignat-Oncin. It was still early, wasn't too hot, and despite walking along roads the day started well.

Looking back to Chartreuse

After walking through a mix of trees and meadows, and just before arriving at the town of Bridoire, you go through the pretty Gorge du Grenand whose caves where used by the Resistance as an arms store.

The River Grenant

Stocked up with peaches, bananas and chocolate in Bridoire before climbing up through the heat to the pretty village on Onwin. Had left the chocolate on top on my bag so had to consume the whole lot before it got too disgusting.

La Bridoire

The walk then took you through trees along a ridge and the occasional gaps presented some brilliant views across the valley to the west. The yellow tinge in the trees are the flowers from the sweet chestnuts and hidden somewhere down there, and quite close, is the Rhone.

On the ridge above the Rhone Valley

Hang Glider

Although the weather got cloudy as the day went on, and is now starting to look really stormy, the high massifs of both the Chartreuse and the Vercors were clearly visible. Particularly nice to spot were the distinctive line of the Grand Veymont which I had seen on the walk up to Rencurel from Pont-en-Royans.

Chartreuse with the Vercors in the distance


Interesting evening.

Having agreed that dinner would be served at 7.30, my host starts ringing a bell outside my room (I'm the only person here), at 6.30 shouting "aperitif". On offer is a huge glass of sweet white wine.

Dinner starts at 7. Huge quantities, firstly soup, secondly cold meats and salad, thirdly pork and pasta and then cheese. All with a nice bottle of Cote de Rhone.

My host then takes me around his Gite D'Etape. Originally a tiny farm house he has been extending it in all directions. One direction is down and he shows me the disco area he is building underneath, in the rock, and we share a very floral snnaps, accompanied by lights and music. He explains that the expansion involves a lot of drilling and that he has been hammering away with his pneumatic drill since 1968.

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