1 July 2011
We did an in-and-out climb of Col de la Bonette, which we had crossed the previous day by car when driving from Isola to Barcelonette. We biked over to Jausiers and started the climb there.
The road is wide in convenient places, and loose turns allow for a fast descent. There were many cyclists on the road (and not too many cars, either). And the weather was great.
The actual pass is at 2715m, but another very short segment, starting and ending at the pass, was built to encircle the mountain top (Cime de la Bonette). So while this highest segment is not a col, it does have the distinction of being the highest paved through road in the Alps.
At the highest point on the paved road (2802m), we walked up a short path to the actual summit (2860m). From here the surroundings just looked like they were covered with so many moon rocks. This would be the highest point we would reach during the tour.
We rolled back down to Barcelonette, arriving by early afternoon. I devoured a plate of steak haché and fries, and some ice cream. We went grocery shopping and did our laundry at a laundromat.
Dinner was a three-course meal (soup, sausage and vegetables, and ice cream).
I was finding it quite surprising that I had been able to serve as the representative French speaker for our group. We had had no major translation-related mishaps (in any language), nor would we for the remainder of our trip in Europe. If you had tried to tell me a month prior that with my minimal and nearly-forgotten French training I was capable of conversing with actual French-speaking people, I probably would have rolled my eyes, or given you a dirty look, like the look I would give you if you tried to tell me that I could, indeed, talk to cats and dogs.
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