France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Var

Cuers to Gonfaron - 24.6 km - Saturday 16th April 2011

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Mostly narrow lanes and a surprisingly nice autoroute service road. Streams everywhere. Hilly and strenuous in the second half.

Garmin Altitude Plot Garmin Mapsource Google Earth Another Military Zone River Crossing Dry Today Nice Leafy Lane Lots of Small Rivers Lots of Small Rivers Chicory Chicory Chicory Chicory Another Stream Another Stream Another Stream Sign Post Sign Post Again The Old Road Leafy Lane Making Progress Yet Another Stream The Terrain Another Stream The Coll Unknown Orchid Unknown Orchid Unknown Orchid Unknown Orchid Unknown Orchid The Coll Gonfaron Gonfaron Monaco Branded Train Monaco Branded Train Monaco Branded Train Monaco Branded Train Insane H and S Pernonnel Insulators Insane H and S Pernonnel Insulators Power Line Switches Electric Loco

Diary - Top

The train journey was a nail biter! I had to overshoot my destination, change trains and return to Cuers to start the walk. There were eleven minutes for the change. All the east-bound trains were about 30 minutes late except for mine which was only seven minutes late. I had set up the GPS to show arrival time and on the journey it consistently showed minus one to plus two minutes for the change. On arrival, there was no subway to cross the lines but also you could not cross until the train had gone. There was a stupid man buggering about preventing the train's departure. Eventually the train left, I crossed the lines and was able to step right into the incoming train with exactly zero seconds to spare. Missing this train would have lost me a day's walking. Tomorrow I have the same problem but the margin is 19 minutes. The villages served by these trains are tiny and they are lucky to have a train service at all. There is a bus but it's service is even worse and nonexistent on Sundays.

The walk started on quiet roads with vineyards on either side. Throughout the day there were lots of small rivers and streams. On reaching the auto route, there was a parallel service road for fire prevention, fence maintenance and access to the few farms and fields. On the left was the auto route and on the right, low mountains and the forest nature reserve. Main road walking is bad because with the cars passing at speed only centimetres away you only need one false move and you are dead. This was completely different. The big road was far enough away to be ignored. There was no hazard and not even that much noise. At the col, there were good views in the direction of the next day's walk.

A new orchid was found and the whole walk was really nice. The kilometre from the service road to Gonfaron was narrow and leafy with two more streams.

At the station there was no ticket machine so I had to board the train illegally. Being honest, I walked the length of the train to find the guard to pay the fare. He was hidden up somewhere. The trains have double decker sections so we may have passed on the different levels. I failed to find him and got a free ride. Sadly that is another nail in the coffin of the train service to Gonfaron. Many passengers must do what I did and they are not recorded so clearly there is no demand.

At Les Arcs, I got a ticket back to Toulon, passing through Gonfaron a second time but at speed.

The hot tendon is no worse and feels much happier on the hills and rough paths. It must be Repetitive Strain Injury from all those identical steps on the smooth tarmac.

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