Day 23, 13 6 2013, Saou to Orange

Roz says that the headwind we had today was entirely my fault for mentioning favourable winds yesterday.

We had a long but not difficult climb out of the beautiful village of Saou, and rode through a number of other pretty villages in this Drome region.  The area has the feeling of just being discovered.  The artists, artisans and goat cheese makers have moved in.  The region does not have the cachet of neighbouring Provence, but is very beautiful.  It has the feeling of mountain country, but only sits a few hundred meters above the Rhone Valley.  The high cliffs and big mountains to the east are dramatic.

We rode over one ridge into a different climatic area.  The lush forests were replaced by scrub oak, and there were fields of lavender and olive trees.  The change was very abrupt.

The riding got a bit tedious.  The traffic was building and it was hot.

We decided to get off this road and take one that went to the town of Orange back in the Rhone valley.  This was a flat ordinary ride into the headwind, and demonstrated to me why I do not want to ride across the Hay plains.

We rode past a little hotel in a small square on the way to the tourist information centre, which like so many French towns has changed its location recently.  I stopped to book us in and Roz went around the corner to the tourist information centre to get some maps.  When she returned she had found out that there was a concert in the old Roman amphitheatre by the Straits, a spinoff of the Dire Straits.

The concert was magic.  The amphitheatre seats around 9000 and was mostly full.  The stage is dramatic, with broken columns, eroded stonework and a statue of Augustus high above the stage.  It looked like an opera stage, but fortunately it was not.  The volume was high, there was a huge bass beat and all the instruments were electrified. And the musicianship was great. This is how music is supposed to be.

The theatre was 50m from our hotel.

We had dinner before at a nice little bistro across the square from our hotel.  My fish was OK.  Roz ordered the duck, medium.  However, the must have forgotten to cook it.  When Roz commented, they rushed her plate away, nuked the whole lot and returned it with the meat now homogeneously brown and the sauce separated.  We did the right thing this time.  The bistro was not in the main square, it came recommended and we ordered sensibly.  So our luck with French restaurants continues.

105Km today, some if it character building.

This will be posted late as the internet in our hotel is not working properly.

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