Friday 29 June
Orange. Rest Day . 0km. Total 1618km.
Descend from our hilltop to the town for breakfast. This is the day when we buy face cream, shampoo and post off a parcel of 10 maps we have used, plus letters and diaries back home. Altogether it weighs 750 grams. That’s 750 grams less to carry every day.
There follows a relaxing afternoon working on bicycles. The blown out tyres have been patched inside with the strong green canvas, inflated, and now it is difficult to see where the damage was. I replaced my slowly leaking inner tube as I can’t find the fault to repair it, and sewed a patch of canvas (I can see its going to be useful stuff) onto a frayed part of my shoe.
Now it is hot with a clear sun and a breeze to keep you dry. Swallowtails are all out and yellow and blue butterflies too. We saw an exhibition at the museum by two photographers. The best were by Jean Dieuzaide- he is quite old now: all his work is very well finished with an appealing sharpness of detail. I remember one of a tall very twisted and snapped tree with curls and gnarls showing with equal clarity all the way up, against a background reminiscent of the spotted Cevennes hills we’ve just travelled through.
Clean and newly smelling of fresh shampoo, we return to Orange to buy supper. Amongst our interesting finds is a gateau of omelettes, four different sorts yellow, white, red and green all put together, mmm. Also a bag of heavy pain au chocolat – some for today and some for breakfast A walk after supper around the ‘colline’ on which we are perched, and interesting park area, chairs set all over its green bits and viewpoints. There are four swimming pools progressing in blueness and depth, laid out pleasantly overlooking the view and between dark firs.
Further along the path (made interesting by a gushing fire hydrant barring the way) one arrives at the observation table which was put there in 1933 by the Touring Club of France. It is the best one I’ve ever seen, – glazed onto a large round ceramic plaque, a circular map of Orange and surrounding mountains and districts, all in position like a view from the air and then round the outside of this in fine detail, a panoramic drawing of what you see from here to the horizon all the way round, pointing out mountains and towns and ruined châteaux on the skyline.