Tuesday 14 Jun ~~~ Pierre-le-Buiffiere – Millau

The Millau viaduct, and the town of Millau on the right

goodness knows why i didn’t think of it, but there’s a reason why the Millau viaduct is the tallest in the world .  it’s because it crosses a very, very deep valley.  and the reason that the valley is deep, is because Millau is situated in Le Massif Central, through which we had to travel to reach it..

…er…oops…?

the day was glorious…

self-portrait of all three of us...

…and i had my first buying-food-speaking-only-French experiences, at both a boulangerie/patisserie, and a roadside fruit and veg stall (where i purchased many, many locally grown cherries at about a quarter of the price i would normally expect to pay – heaven!).  i think i did quite well, and was somewhat proud of myself.

that day, we did 177 miles, and most of it was uphill.  poor Talulah was very unhappy about this, and protested loud and long.  we had to make many hilltop stops to allow the engine to cool down (and the smoke to escape the engine bay).  also to allow the traffic to pass.  i wonder what the French for “Bloody tourists!” is…?

at one such hilltop stop, we were surprised when an old VW Ghia (just like the one in this link) pulled up behind us.  out of it leapt a young guy who proceded to offer us any assistance he might be able to provide if we were having engine trouble.  Rudy (for ’twas his name) even went so far as to say (in broken English) that he had to go, but he only lived 5k away, an if we had need of any part, give him a call and if he had it, it was ours!

this characterised the French throughout our travels, actually (and many other people, too).  wherever we went, we seemed to be surrounded by smiles and goodwill.  especially if we were with Talulah.  people love the old girl!  which is nice. 😉

as it turns out, we didn’t need any parts, and we soldiered on, finally reaching the bridge towards evening.

look! we really made it! 😀

i should probably mention at this point that the bridge was kind of the start of this road trip.  we saw a programme about it on the television and both expressed a desire to see it up close and personal.  somehow, that wish evolved into this trip.

so there we were.  our first checkpoint reached.  we debated going into the town itself, but it lies at the bottom of the gorge.  we decided this would be unwise, and contented ourselves with another beautiful rest area (with palatial toilets, i might add…

and it even smelled nice!

and we enjoyed the bridge at night.

i'm quite proud of this picture. taken with just a point-and-click, too! 🙂

…and the local wildlife…

this little guy was sooooo *loud*!

i was so excited to see this. so handsome. and so BIG!!! 0.o

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