Thursday June 9th Bourdeaux to Sallians

Firstly special thanks to my hosts at the Tulip Sauvage (apologies for the spelling, sure it's wrong) at Bourdeaux, great place to stay and the other French guests, a group of friends on a trip in old British sports cars (two MGBs, an Austin Healey and a TR4), made it a really enjoyable evening. Because my hosts were concerned that I hadn't sorted my accommodation for what is another bank holiday weekend they took the trouble to ring ahead and book for me. Really kind and the Tulip Sauvage is the place to stay in Bourdeaux.

Another great walk, two in a row although this was a bigger walk than yesterday. Again it involved climbing out of valley, across a finger of east west running limestone and then down into the next valley, a more important valley and host to the River Drome.

Market day in Bourdeaux and was disappointed that at least one of the two stall holders who apparently had a fist fight over a space last week didn't turn up. Unsporting police presence seems to have put them off. Still I was able to get stocked up and was out the village by 9.30. No idea what to expect but my hosts were a bit concerned that I had a big climb.

It wasn't long before I had climbed high enough first to get some great views back to the village as well as being able to see down to the Rhone valley.

Looking back to Bourdeaux

Climbing up to Le Signal

The finger of limestone actually had two edges with a hollow in the middle, although the finger as a whole got higher the further east it went. Once over the first edge after a climb of about 500 metres there was a gentle descent, really a contour walk, before you started a steeper climb up the inside of the second edge. This was really nice walking through open meadow and then beech trees. There was a path up to a summit which I think was called The Signal, which I was tempted to take as it was clearly out of the trees, but as it happened I wasn't going to disappointed with the views I got.

The highlight was a feature called Rocher de la Laveuse which literally appeared out of the blue. All of a sudden the path was right on the edge of huge cliffs towering over Sallians, 400 metre cliffs in places, with the limestone forming gigantic vertical columns. Can't think of a more dramatic feature on the whole of the walk so far made better by the fact that it wasn't expected.

Rocher de la Laveuse

Amazing Views

Views down to Sallians

The walk then took you along this ridge for about a kilometre and as well as views across the valley into the Vercors looking north you could also look along the finger of limestone heading west. For the first time I met some other walkers including one woman clambering down the rocks with a poodle in her bag, the woman looked nervous but the poodle was unconcerned.

The Ridge running east

It was then a really steep walk down to Sallians and once out of the beech trees the route took you down stretches of road mixed with off-road short cuts. Actually the road was the more interesting as there was a rally going on and every minute or some exotic car came flying up the hill (Porsche, MG, Lotus etc) all driven by women - it was the "Princesses Rally". The scenery, the cars driven by women with flowing scarfs was like a scene from a James Bond film, the only incongruous feature was this smelly bloke striding down the road waving walking sticks.

Women only car rally

Back up to Rocher de la Laveuse

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