Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 2011: Saint-Hilaire du Touvet - Hiking Up and Down, Parapente

Oh French breakfasts. Even though we were going to be spending the day outdoors in sporty pursuits, much like the majority of the B&B guests, breakfast was the usual light fare for France: bread, more bread, croissant and yet more bread. With juice and tea or coffee. And butter and jam. I ate as much bread as possible, and then we found a grocery store so that we could get a little additional protein and fruit to keep us going. We picked up enough to make ourselves a sandwich lunch, and then we were off.

Today we headed up into the escarpment that towers above Saint-Hilaire. If we were really ambitious it seemed like there might be a way to get to the top, at which point we'd be getting up into the Chartreuse area. But we weren't quite that ambitious. The trail was a lot of up. And more up. With eventually some across, which was more scenic and enjoyable. Along the way we passed a rowdy group of French partiers, who offered us drinks as we hiked past. We declined - it wasn't even lunch yet! Eventually we hiked back down again - not an entirely satisfying loop, but at least the up was a welcome change from the unrelenting down of the day before.

So for the rest of the afternoon we relaxed - hanging out on the hillside watching the parapentes glide by. Today the wind conditions were ideal for take-off, so there was a constant stream of parachutes inflating and dropping over the precipice. Some very skillful parapenters were even doing tricks in the sky, managing to swinging about in sommersaults.

We passed an adorable family of sheep as we started our hike

Another glorious day of sunshine

A stone wall along the path through the forest - seems like a huge amount of effort, but maybe it was more of a major roadway in the past?

The white stones of this dry stream bed reminded me of large bones

Parapente drifting past the village church

Parapentes taking off over the precipice

There may be two people up there together - an instructor and a neophyte?

We could watch the parapentes for hours, peacefully sailing through the sky

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