19-31.05.-Fr-Verdon Canyon

This morning I was ready for breakfast at 7 am but breakfast was in a delay 😉

So I started at half past eight to Rougon the perfect place to start the Sentier Blanc-Martel through the Verdon canyon.

After 32 km cycling and two and a half hours later I arrived at 11 am at the parking space.

The path is very nice. Up and down all the time. At the river and high above gives impressive views to the river getting his way through the gorge.

At the end of my trip was the huge and steep stairway with its 252 steps.

I started from the northern endpoint and walked about 8 km before I had to turn to come back to the hotel at a good time. Finally I arrived at 7 pm.

Also interesting are the two tunnels at the beginning. The first one is 652 meters and the second 110 meters long – according to Wikipedia.

I tried to go without light but it was really not possible. So I used the mobile to light my way.

But there was a interesting effect. Walking in the dark absolutely alone I relaxed immediately and totally and felt so calm like during meditation.

After the trip I had to pedal back to Saint Julien. This time with a climb of about 300 meters. I needed only half an hour longer although I had a stop at a bar at Castellane where I drunk one Liter bear without alcohol. I had to less water so I was really thursty 😉

Le Verdon.
Here you see the entrance to the path.
And the gorge.
The tunnel – 652 meters.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
Red poppies again and huge mulleins.
This mullein is taller than me.
In this arena there is so much gorse, maybe broom with its bold color.
More broom 🙂
Wonderful colored rocks.
With the stairway built in the 1920 s and totally renewed in 2010.
Rock shelters available 🙂
Nice stretch of the path.
Brooms again. The air was heavy of their fragrance. I didn’t know that they are smelling so intensively. So I cannot describe it. Of course heavy rather sweet. I like it.
The huge and brown rocks again.
After hiking I cooled my feet in the Verdon.
A view along the road.
Castellane’s landmark during the golden hour.


Today started with a confusion about what I will do and where I will go.

Today is holiday and bright sunshine so French people are doing the same than all people do. They want to enjoy nature and so they travel.

On booking.com only one room was available. But this room is about one and a half hours by bike away from Rougon the starting point of the Verdon canyon hiking trip, called Sentier Blanc-Martel.

The alternative was tent at a campground. So I took the last room for three nights.

Because this hotel was only 7 km from yesterday’s hotel I checked in at 11 and started to an exploratory trip by bike.

I drove to Castellane and forward to Jabron and back to Castellane on an other path with a 400 meters climb. From Castellane to the hotel I had to do a 200 m climb. Unfortunately there is no alternative.

Lac de Castillon and part of the emerald Verdon.
The hydroelectric dam. The power plant uses the difference of 200 to Castellane.
Narrow road in the Gorges de Verdon.
Robin. The highest point (1.050) on my way back.
Fantastic gorge on my downhill to Castellane.
Castellane’s landmark.
The church over there is the one on the landmark.
Today’s 70 km tour. I was surprised that I met at this narrow and unknown road motorbikes. During dinner at the hotel’s restaurant I talked to Daniel a Swiss motorbiker. He is owner of a 25.000 € BMW. The on board navigation allows to choose „curvy road“. So I unterstand why I met some few bikers 😉

17-29.05.-We- Col d’Allos

Today was so wonderful 🙂

But before writing about today I want to step back to the experiences yesterday.

Yesterday I had a total breakdown. I have „forgotten“ to eat. In the morning, as I mentioned 2 croissant and a cup of coffee. Because I couldn’t find a creperie like the day before I ate nothing. At the pass was a little bar but it was cloudy so I tried to go down asap to keep myself dry and avoid to get into a rain shower.

Going down was easy but the nearly 20 km more or less plane at the bottom of the valley were terrible. On the one hand there were headwinds and on the other my mood was bad my muscles hurted and all I wanted to do was to lay down and sleep at the roadside. Of course I didn’t 😉

Initially I thought I am feel weak and tired because of the height I had climbed. There was no idea about to less eating.

Finally I arrived at the hotel took a shower and laid down and slept more than one hour.

Not until then it dawned on me that I have eaten to less. So I ate a mixed salad, tortellini with mushrooms, a cheese plate and a desert and lots of bread.

Today started with a hearty breakfast in the hotel. Also I bought a piece of cheese and a baguette as a sack lunch.

Also I gave nutrition to the bicycle 😉 I pumped up the rear wheel tire. That made cycling significantly easier. By the way: meanwhile I prefer to pump up with the little pump I got with the bicycle. It works very well.

Also the blue sky and the bright sunshine made the day so great. And about four fifths of the road were at the sunny side of the valley so I enjoyed the warmth.

For example the larches. Green in the lower parts of the valley without leafs over 2.000.

Or the marmots whistling so loud. On of these cute small rodents was alarmed by me and he ran over a small snowfield and jumped into his den.

Lots of blooming flowers. Unbelievable different greens. Marvelous formations of mountains. Snow fields.

I stopped nearly every 100 meters to have a look or take a picture.

There was less traffic so I mostly could take the left lane and got lots of views down to the valleys and Gorges. Sometimes really high.

Interesting to myself was that I had to revise my last year’s statement that I will never climb a pass again. This I stated after climbing the timmelsjoch with the terrible sounds of the motorbikes.

But here and now (May instead of August) it was totally different. Okay there were motorbikes but a lot less than at Timmelsjoch and less testosterone driven. Sometimes they lifted their helmets and I saw their grey hair 😉 the youngsters will bike in their vacation in summer. Now only the elderly have time.

So I feel that this pass riding is addictive.

Maybe I become one of these pass hunters 😉

Barcelonnette this morning.
And again.
Wonderful mountain. I joined the Col d’Allos to get to the source of river Verdon.
A bicycle artwork 🙂
Because Col d’Allos isn’t part of the Route des Grandes Alpes the information signs were les informativ. But on the other hand less motorbikes and tourists.
Here we can see the pass. The deepest part of the snow.
Not poppies but nice too.
Narrow road.
A side valley.
Half distance.
Now the road turns to the west and opens new views.
Maybe a kind of daisies.
At this altitude the larches are green.
The way on the other side of the gorge I came.
The incline of 7 % for me is quite comfortable.
After driving round the side valley I am back with direction south.
The way I have to go.
6 % very comfortable 🙂
This way is done 🙂
Not so much snow than on Col d’Izoard but I found some 😉
It isn’t the way it looks like. The pass isn’t straight forward but there is a bend to the right after this building.
Last view back with the village Barcelonnette I started.
Here it is 🙂
The after work party with cheese, baguette and water.
Enjoy the break my view is on the snow opposite and the lifts. So I feel like in winter times sitting on a summit after skitouring up.
A cool downhill waits on me 🙂
Here I saw him for the first time! River Verdon is the reason for the way I chosed. To visit the Verdon canyon was one fixed point in my travel plans. I thought I will follow these famous river from his source until he flows into river Durance.
Verdon and his source area.
Now he is my companion 🙂
Verdon meandering through a wide riverbed. Remembers me to the great three day canoe ride on Tagliamento in 2016 with Lukas and Alex.
Today’s hotel. Lake and forest. The lake is Lac de Castillo.
From Barcelonnette to Saint Andre-sur-alpes. 74 km. 8,5 hours. By the way: 1.000 km are done 🙂

16-28.05.-Tu-Col de Vars

Last night it rained heavily.

This morning was cloudy no blue sky to see and colder than yesterday.

As breakfast wasn’t included I drove to the center of the village (only 3 minutes away) and wanted to go to a bar for brioche and coffee.

But at the main square no bar was open – 9 pm!

But there was a Boulangerie with 3 little tables and seats in front.

I bought one croissant and one pain o chocolate and a nespresso coffee. So I sat down at one of the tables in front and enjoyed the delicious Brioches and watched the peoples in the streets.

Then I started to the mountain pass.

With 19 km the same distance than yesterday but 200 meters less high.
The Route des Grandes Alpes starts at Lake Geneva crosses 16 passes and ends at Menton at the Cote d’Azur after about 700 km and was partly opened in 1913 according to Wikipedia. That’s the reason to meet many motorcycles.
Very cloudy.
View over Guillestre.
Nice valley.
The clouds rise a bit and show snowy mountains.
The village Vars offers a little downhill.
Half way done. In distance as well as in height.
Les-Claux with impressive clouds covering the mountain.
At this point I put on the rain dress because it started drizzling. It wasn’t really to hot because it was much colder than yesterday.
A ski resort in the off season always looks a bit lost.
To cold to swim 😉
Done 🙂
A view to the south with white mountains.
I looked forward to the 1.000 meters downhill 🙂
Arrived at today’s target. In the 19th century many people from Barcelonnette emigrated to Mexico. Some of them became rich. After coming home again they built huge villas, so called Villas Mexicaines according to Wikipedia.
From Guillestre in 50 km and 6 hours to Barcelonnette.

15-27.05.-Mo-Col d’Izoard

Today I enjoyed an entertaining breakfast. There was an elder man from the Nederlands. I talked to him in German he understood and talked quite well.

A few minutes later the 2 bicycle guys came in. I have seen them in the evening before coming to the B&B.

One of them talked German too. Originally he came from Romania lived several years in France and now in Germany at lake Bodensee where he is working with Dornier.

This two guys would also climb the Col d’Izoard. I started at 9 and expected to see these young guys soon overtaking me. But I met them first in a little restaurant one the other side of the pass.

As I already had finished my „after work party“ with a delicious cheese Crêpes and a nonalcoholic beer they came in to warm up and eat.

I did the climb very well. I needed 4 hours for the 20 kilometers and 1.200 meters up. I am happy getting it done 🙂

In the restaurant at Guillestre this evening I met an interesting elderly lady and had nice talks to her. I was sitting outside as she entered the restaurant and asked me something in French. She also talked some words in German because her mother in the 1920 s was born at Innsbruck. She was a real globetrotter. Born at Venice and lived in Norway, London, Zürich, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Geneva and now in Guillestre 🙂

She was happy to get the opportunity to talk to me in English to practice. She showed me a Norwegian book that she always reads in the restaurant, not today 🙂 more or less we talked about one and a half hours. At the end she said I am the most sympathic Austrian guy she ever met 🙂

Voila 🙂
What a service 🙂
But this is my absolute favorite! A separate lane for cyclists. Although there wasn’t much traffic it gives a better feeling to be secure.
Nice village Cervieres.
Half distance 🙂
The next little village with wonderful snow fields in the background.
The same original village from the other side.
Fantastic snowy mountains.
2.000 🙂
A view back to Cervieres.
Only two km left and the snow comes closer.
The clouds getting darker the snow gets higher.
A bit of similarity to the dolomites.
The lonesome snow bike…..
….. Reached today’s target 🙂
View to the south. Putting on the rain wear to enjoy the 1.200 meters down.
Interesting scenery with a little climb again.
And a view back to Col d’Izoard.
Climbing makes hungry 😉
Intens emerald green water in the Gorges du Guil.
Cycling along Gorges du Guil about 5 kilometers before my today’s target.
In total 52 km, thereof 20 km and 1.200 m up, 6,5 hours. From Briançon to Guillestre.


The weather is a bit better but also cloudy and some showers with temperatures of 10 in the morning. But also some hours with nice sunshine.

I decided for a hiking trip to the Croix du Toulouse in the north and high above the historic city and the Fort Salettes.

With sightseeing at the historic city and the Fort it took me about three a half hours to reach the summit.

The way back down was easy, comfortable and ecologically 🙂 A young veterinarian scientist gave me a ride in her Renault Zoe e-car. Going down the car was even recharged.

I met the lady at the summit while I took shelter in an old ruined building. I told her not to speak French but English.

Firstly she was shy and said she doesn’t speak English but then she tried and as I was speaking slowly and clear she became more courageous. Especially because she will visit New York in the near future.

One of the three entrance gates to the historic city.
Everywhere in Europe there is a Way of St. James / Camino de Santiago trail.
One shop in the old town.
Nice alleyway and a few to the bell tower of the Notre Dame church.
Another alleyway with a view onto the second bell tower.
View over the roofs with the church Notre Dame.
An alphorn in this shop window.
The main alley.
Fortress entrance.
Stairway to the fortress.
Fort Salettes.
Some information about the genesis at Fort Salettes.
This overview shows distinctly the strategic importance of Briançon and the reason why there are so many fortresses.
Fortunately I found shelter in a ruin.
This was the mountain I climbed today. Also to see church Notre Dame with its two bell towers.


Lazy day. With Wi-Fi troubles and cell phone troubles. But everything fine now.

In the early afternoon the sun was shining and I started for coffee and cake and to the Rosenheim garden. The chocolate cake was fine the Cappuccino a desaster. Never drink Cappuccino or eat icecream in France 😉

As I left the coffee shop it was raining. So I took shelter in front of a land agency. The prices for flats and houses at Briançon are about 3 to 5.000 Euro.

Then I entered a Boulangerie / bakery and was surprised by the large variety of delicious looking breads. Also dark black bread was on offer. I decided to take a crunchy baguette.

At the bio / organic store I bought cheese and olives for dinner at home to avoid a rain walk because I don’t have an umbrella in my luggage.

So I had time to write the weblog and to learn Spanish.

For example: cheese, fromage, formaggio, queso, Käse. Here the english, the Spanish and the German sound similar!? And French and Italian.

Or: breakfast (a fast break sounds like fast-food), Frühstück (early piece?), colazione, desajuno, petit dejeuner. Here maybe the French and the Spanish are a bit similar.

My B&B. Older than the skis in front of it. And as old as the nice and helpful host.
Simply fantastic. These veterans push me back into the 60 s. Look at the boots to lace. And the bindings with only a toe part and the leather made fang belt.
And here the legendary Marker the revolutionary and leading binding systems in the 50 s and 60 s. Here only the toe binding. Not here the Rotamat, innovative heel binding of 1965 that got the nickname „explodamat“ because it was hardly to re-set after it had opened 😉 see on Wikipedia.
As you see: 2.15 meters. The longer the better. Ideally for going schuss. But not for carving 😉
La Durance flowing into Le Rhone at Avignon.

12-24.05.-Fr-Perosa Argentina – Briançon

I bought some delicious bread and one eighth of butter, one croissant and 6 cookies at the panificio in front of the apartment and enjoyed breakfast.

At about nine one hour earlier as normally 🙂 I started because I knew I had to climb 1.400 meters to colle sestriere.

My knee felt fine. Preventively I creamed the bonset cream (beinwell).

As written 1.400 meters up and about 40 kilometers. That means it wasn’t very steep.

After about 5,5 hours and a cheese sandwich brake at a bar I arrived at the pass.

Fortunately during my rest at the bar a little shower of rain felt so I must not dress the rain clothes.

After a visit in the Chapel to say thanks to the Lord for the power to do the climb so fine I prepared for the 700 meters downhill to Cesana.

At this time I firstly realized that there will be another climb. I didn’t see before. Nevertheless I enjoyed the downhill with 54 kmh highest speed – according to the LocusMap.

While dashing down I saw a fox. Yes, really a fox! But it was a horrible but lucky situation at the same time.

Sometimes while driving I tried to look back to see whether a car is behind. If not I could use the whole wideness of the street.

So I did. Turning my head forward again I saw the fox crossing the street only two meters in front of me.

Arriving at Cesena I undressed my rain clothes filled the water bottles at the water well and started to climb the next 500 meters to Claviere and Col Di Montgenevre.

After some sharp bends I arrived after a bit more than one hour at the second pass. In this moment it started to rain so I had to dress the rain clothes again and did the last meters up and turned into France.

The downhill to Briançon I also enjoyed very much. The rain stopped soon so I arrived at Briançon with some sunshine.

Now I looked to find my booked B&B but neither phone nor internet service were available. I saw that the provider (HOT) had texted me to send me a welcome to France.

So I had to check LocusMap for the B&B. Fortunately I found the street there so it was easy to navigate there.

At the B&B Wi-Fi is available but it breaks down nearly every hour so I have to ask my host for a reset.

Actually I saw that it had not been necessary to do the climb to Sestriere. If I had chosen to go through Val di Susa (the next valley in the north) I would have arrived directly at Cesana Torinese. So I did an extra climb of 700 meters 😉 so I learn to be more careful while planning the route.

I started at km 53.
A look ahead shows wintery landscape.
The pass is open 🙂
The snow comes closer.
Only about 10 km left.
Winter sports at Pragelato.
5 ski jumps 😉
Wonderful snow mountains.
Nice historic houses I came along.
View back after the second sharp bend.
Nearly done.
Just arrived 🙂
Sestriere ski resort.
An Olympic performance 😉
Inside of holy Edward.
… and outside.
View from Sestriere to France.
Another view from Sestriere to the Maritime Alpes.
What a wonderful view.
Now I can see the sharp turns of the next climb.
Entrance to Cesana Torinese downtown 😉
Col di Montgenevre also opened 😉
Half way done of the 7 km climb. View back to Cesana.
And a look forward to Claviere and a cyclists tunnel. The new tunnel forbidden for bicycles but the old one exclusively for bikes 🙂
Arrived. But another 60 meters and 1 kilometer left to Col di Montgenevre.
Pretty nice village Claviere. What are the dark clouds to expect?
Vive la France 🙂 first rain drops.
The rain came quick. I had to hurry up dressing.
The new gaiters are excellent and keep my feet dry.
Another and meanwhile closer view to the Maritime Alpes.
Arrived 🙂 twin city: Rosenheim. So there is a Rosenheim garden.
Fort des Tetes.
And another of several fortresses. There were lots of fightings in history. In 1815 the Austrians failed to conquer the city and in 1940 the Italians, Wikipedia tells.
Very interesting wateriness on both legs above the edge of socks. After using the toilet four times this night my legs are as slim as before 😉
72 kilometers – 1.900 meters up – 9 hours.

11-23.05.-Th-Torino-Perosa Argentina

The thunderstorm last night cleared the sky. No clouds and bright sunshine.

I started about 4 kilometers back to get to river Po and drove along to about Pancalieri. From there I followed Pellice and later Torrente Chisone to Pinarolo.

On booking.com I couldn’t find a room at Pinarolo or around. All rooms on booking.com were booked out. I didn’t understand.

Then I looked at Perosa Argentina, about 15 km behind Pinarolo in my direction. To get there would also have the advantage to be on 600 meters so tomorrow’s climb to sestriere will be „only“ 1.400 meters.

After some attempts I booked an apartment there.

Going through Pinarolo I suddenly was frightened because I was faced with barriers and music and loud animations and lots of people. What was going on?

Giro d’Italia 😉 I tried to find a way through the barriers. Therefore I asked a lady and a man police in my best Italian.

As expected that was senseless so I turned and drove some 100 meters but there was also a barrier.

I saw a young man on a bicycle with not nice but huge earrings and a terrible English. He had the same way and found a passage and we were free.

It was pretty nice to see how the young man’s mood has been rising and he wished me a happy day 🙂 And of course my mood was lots better too.

At about 6 pm I arrived at Perosa Argentina.

Tomorrow I want to go to Briançon and have to climb 1.400 meters to Sestriere the famous ski resort. I hope I can do because today my knee hurts a bit. It would be great because I would get a rain and hiking brake. On Saturday it should be rainy.

Along river Po at Torino.
Yes! This is a bike path. So wonderful.
This was the continuation of the bike path. Pretty narrow.
Hydroelectric power plant in Torino’s south.
Nice red, nice yellow 🙂
By way of variety 😉
Alpes again.
A rose bow as a Giro decoration.
Rose decoration with a rose decorated bicycle.
Torrente Chisone in a narrow valley with high mountains.
The red shield gives an idea of the closer coming border. It doesn’t really sound French.
88 km from Torino to Perosa Argentina and about 8 hours.

10-22.05.-We-Casale Monferrato – Turin

Today I felt really fine. Bright sunshine. Less winds. And most important: it became warm!

Today I saw 2 little rabbits, storks, squirrel, frogs and a pheasant. Never before I saw a pheasant. He flew five meters in front of mine crossing the way.

Also I enjoyed different scents: elder, rose, jasmine and at Torino linden.

I got a hearty breakfast with scrambled eggs and toasted fruits.

The bike path EV 8 gets more and more to a dirt track and road bike path.

Yet a thunderstorm is here at Torino.

Today’s breakfast.
At Casale Monferrato I saw this cleaning devices. Do they want to clean their roof gutters with these besoms?
Nice dirt road.
In the front an elders bush. In the back the Alpes.
… And of course poppies 🙂
A special tractor for the rice fields. The wheels are only about 10 centimeters wide.
I didn’t understand what he did.
Lakes as far as the eye can see.
A complex and sophisticated irrigation system. That’s real science. Lots of experience led to this rice plantation system.
Following stadium.
A vintage tractor as a sewing or poisoning machine.
Santuario della madonnina
Maybe you can see the rabbit.
Another dirt track. Also funny to balance through the puddles. Left and right and again lift 😉
Canale Cafour next to Chivasso.
Church facade at Chivasso.
River Orco next to Chivasso.
Superga above Torino where I was in September 2018.
River Po bridge at Torino.
Today’s route from Casale Monferrato to Torino. 91 kilometers and a travel time of eight and a half hours.