The EPIC Journey Begins!

We woke up this morning at 7:30 AM. The bells from the church clocktower rang twice every hour, and once every half hour all day and night. I can see the clocktower while lying on my bed and looking out the window.

For breakfast I ate croissants, and toasted baguette slices with butter and plum jam. I also drank orange juice and tea.

Today, we begin a hiking adventure. We will walk from La Brigue all the way back to Menton on the Mediterranean coast, which will take about a week, staying the nights at various towns along the way. Below is a map of the approximate route:

An approximate route from La Brigue to Menton

The hike will be a wonderful way to experience this south eastern area of France along the Italian border.

We started our walk near the Mirval Hotel and went the wrong way. ūüėģ Then, we went the right way and took the path out of La Brigue, and walked along the side of the valley towards Ste-Dalma de Tende.

A last look at La Brigue
A last look at La Brigue
Looking back at where we’ve gone

It was still mid-morning when we came to the town of Ste-Dalma de Tende. We walked across the river and through the town. There are lots of flowers like wild irises.

The town of Ste-Dalmas de Tende
The town of Ste-Dalmas de Tende
Buildings and terraces in Ste-Dalmas de Tende
Buildings and terraces in Ste-Dalmas de Tende
Houses and gardens near the river
Houses and gardens near the river

Exploring La Brigue Pt. 2

Continuing the walk, La Brigue is also home to the Chate√Ęu Lascaris, a ruined castle.

Approaching Ch√Ęteau Lascaris
Approaching Ch√Ęteau Lascaris
The Tower of Ch√Ęteau Lascaris
The Tower of Ch√Ęteau Lascaris
Castle ruins
Castle ruins

Just beside the castle are some interesting houses.

Houses in La Brigue
Houses in La Brigue

A little path gives a wonderful view of La Brigue amidst the surrounding mountain landscape.

Another view of Ch√Ęteau Lascaris and surrounding mountains
Another view of St-Martin Collegiate Church
Another view of St-Martin Collegiate Church
A house on the terraces
A house on the terraces
Dense buildings (look at the party walls! :s )
Dense buildings (look at the party walls! :s )

Walking through the town, cats wandering about are a common sight.

A black cat runs into a building
A black cat runs into a building
Cats sleeping in a barrel
Cats sleeping in a barrel

It is also common to see plaques or other figures above doorways. These are said to protect inhabitants from bewitchment.

Warding away the witches
Warding away the witches

Finally we came to a wide square. After visiting the square, we went to the Heritage Center, which had a cute dog called Tommy.

A square in La Brigue
A square in La Brigue
A war monument in La Brigue
A war monument in La Brigue

After returning to the room, it was raining. Some time later the sound of bells ringing could be heard. A very strange but neat sight was see a whole herd of sleep running down the road just outside the window. They were noisy because they were wearing cowbells.

We had another three course meal for supper at the hotel (since it was included). I had chèvre chaud, ravioli, and creme brulée.

Exploring La Brigue Pt. 1

For lunch I ate salade de ch√©vre chaud. The literal translation is hot goat salad, but actually seems to refer to “hot/melted?” goat cheese salad.

Salade de chévre chaud for lunch

Afterwards we walked around and explored the narrow cobblestone alleys. La Brigue is a small medieval town, with only about 600 people living here.

Around La Brigue
Around La Brigue
Another typical sight in La Brigue
Another typical sight in La Brigue

Aside from walking around the streets, we visited the St-Martin Collegiate Church in a square across the road from the hotel.

Striped facade of the St-Martin Collegiate Church
Striped facade of the St-Martin Collegiate Church
It seemed kind of odd to have a hand sticking out of the side of the pulpit like this...
It seemed kind of odd to have a hand sticking out of the side of the pulpit like this…
Inside La Brigue's church
Inside La Brigue’s church
St-Martin Church clock tower
St-Martin Church clock tower

While the buildings are all very close together in this town, there are also some pretty flowers!

Pretty Flower #1 - I don't know what kind of flower it is, but it's pretty.
Pretty Flower #1 – I don’t know what kind of flower it is, but it’s pretty.
Pretty Flower #2 - Pink frilly tulip
Pretty Flower #2 – Pink frilly tulip
Reminds me of a scene from a children's book
Reminds me of a scene from a children’s book

More sights from exploring:

A dry riverbed running through the town
A dry riverbed running through the town
Interesting looking building
Interesting looking building

 

En Route to La Brigue

This morning we had a continental breakfast at the hotel, where I had infusion tea, orange juice, Chocopics, and a croissant. We had a quick walk in Nice again, before heading to the train station to Ventimille in Italy (Ventimiglia in Italian). From Ventimille we take another train to the town of La Brigue, which is back in France.

The train ride was filled with beautiful scenery. I took a couple pictures along the way, but it was mostly difficult as the train goes fast, and kept darting into tunnels. The train passed through 55 tunnels on the way to La Brigue, which speaks for the ruggedness of the southern Maritime Alps.

Passing the town of Breil-sur-Roya on the train
Passing the town of Breil-sur-Roya on the train
Passing French countryside on the train
Passing French countryside on the train

At 12:57 PM we made it to La Brigue!

Yay! This is a street!
Yay! This is a street!
La Brigue chapelle de l’Annonciade

We are staying in Les Fleur des Alpes Hotel.

Les Fleurs des Alpes Hotel
Les Fleurs des Alpes Hotel
My room and bed at the hotel in La Brigue
My room and bed at the hotel in La Brigue