Friday, 19 June 2009

Wednesday 17th June 2009

Les Oliviers, Oraison (ACSI2009-1282) N43.92295 E5.92361
The end of our time on the Mediterranean. From now on we will be going steadily North, and towards home.

The route is spectacularly scenic, and initially all is well. Then the arguments with the satnav begin. We are by now in a fairly remote area of the Var region, near the Gorges du Verdon. It quickly becomes clear that the map in the satnav is not accurate, since according to the display we are often not even on a road, and sometimes the spoken instructions come thick and fast (bear left, take next right, turn around when possible…etc) and make little sense. The satnav “voice” is a woman, Kathleen’s comment is “I think she has been dropped on her head”. Regular followers will know that Kathleen and the satnav do not get on. My theory is that she does not like being told what to do by a woman. In the past we have changed the voice to a man, but that did not help. I think she just does not like being told what to do. We get hopelessly snarled up in a place called Valensole, we manage to get out of the village, and find somewhere to stop so we can consult the map. By this time the satnav is not receiving a satellite signal and so is giving no instructions at all (in a huff). The problem is that the road signs say we are on the D4, but according to our map, the D4 is no where near where we actually are! We eventually resort to turning around, negotiate our way back through Valensole, and simply watch for signposts. Eventually we spot a signpost to Oraison, and follow it along the D15, which is very narrow and twisty, fortunately we do not meet any large oncoming traffic. Throughout, the satnav is not working because there is no GPS signal.

We arrive eventually, about an hour later than we had expected.

We get booked in and settle down to our lunch. After about an hour, the satnav, which is still switched on, acquires a GPS signal, comes to life and announces “you have reached your destination”, to which Kathleen replies “we know that!, we have been here for an hour”.

In the evening we cycle into Oraison and sample a French evening, ie sitting in a pavement café watching the world go by. No wonder the French have a lower coronary death rate than we do!

For those of you who are reading this and may pass this way, this site is worth a few days, the scenery is beautiful. The site is on a hillside (not too high), overlooking the valley of the River Durance, with the hills of the Luberon in the background. It is all beautifully kept and It is about 2km into the town, Oraison, with the usual collection of pavement cafes etc. If you visit, you must have a drink in the grandly named “Grand Café du Commerce”, opposite the church. It is a relic of the early 1900’s or even late 1800’s I would guess.

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