I grabbed a flyer from the campground in France to write something on, then I read it. It talked about a train ride from Nice to Tende going over and through 47 bridges and tunnels. The TRAIN went to the town of TENDE along the Italian border. The Lonely Planet Travel guide that I occasionally use said- the train passes through scarcely populated back country. That sounded very good to me. Theres only one train from Nice to Tende a day 9 am so I take the train from Antibes to Nice switch trains and here we gp, lots of tunnels it was dark actually quite often. This is where these countries have invested in public transportation, they dug many tunnels to get this train to the top of the mountain.
The tourist office is packed from the train arriving. I wander over to the MUSEUM that had displays of Petroglyphs and many other historical artifacts. The museum was truly awesome, the link doesn’t do it justice. I wonder over to the farmers market and stock up on Peaches, Blueberries and some Pork Salami. I ate the fruit in my morning cereal,mmmm.
I visit the local art show and see a painting I love. I tell them Ill sleep on it.
Yep, Im going on a hike! to the chapel on the hill. I heard you had to use a cable for the last part up to the chapel, the cable is attached to the mountain side, not the cliff side! I almost turned back.
THE CHAPEL IS AT THE TOP
YES, IM SCARED SHITLESS IN THIS PHOTO, I ATE MY LUNCH ON THE NON-VIEW SIDE.
I met Marie and her son Erwan who were rock climbing and took my photo. I shared the cherries I had and talked with them awhile.
This is a famous rock climbing region.
YOU HAVE TO CROSS THE CABLE BRIDGE, SCURRY AROUND THE ROCK, HANG ON THE FACE AND WAIT YOUR TURN TO RIDE THE CABLE ACROSS, WHICH PART OF NO WAY!
If you enlarge the photo you can see 5 people waiting their turn, no way you couldn`t pay me enough. The views were amazing
Im back in town using the local wifi, Serge is out of town, but was kind enough to write the password down for me. I was able to share the password with several people, who walked by.
Serge was a great help, he even took my shorts to get them fixed, verdict? unfixable. Definitely visit his family run pizza place when your in town.
While on the internet several people came up and said someone was looking for me to invite me to dinner. I waited around, but was getting hungry. So I head back to camp to open my favorite, a can of lentil soup. Im about to start the stove and someone runs over and invites me for dinner, score!
Omelette for dinner, with bacon awesome and their homegrown organic cherries for desert. Next morning Im getting my daily chocolate croissant and someone walks up to me and says they were looking for me last night to invite me to dinner. It was Marie’s husband Pierre. I tell them I was thinking of leaving but I will know by 2pm.
I head off to buy my painting, I slept on it and yes was the answer.
ITS THE TENDE VILLAGE PLAZA. I LOVE IT!
The bad part it cost me $65 to send it home, 1/2 the cost of the painting. Ive only bought 2 pieces of art, but both are very meaningful to me.
The tourist office tells me about this Church LE SANCTUAIRE DE NOTRE DAME DES FONTAINES and about this village Granile. I told her I really liked the stone roofs
SHE TOLD ME THE WHOLE VILLAGE OF GRANILE HAD THESE ROOFS.
First I bike I to the church (again, one of the best parts of touring with bike is having a bike to explore once you set up camp).
This is the road to the church
THERE WERE VERY FEW CARS, AWESOME!
While I was riding to the church I pass this weird stone bridge. I thought I`ll take a photo on the way back. I spent a long time at the church, the host told me so many awesome stories and took this photo
ITS A SCENE OF THE VILLAGE KILLING THE LOCAL BANKERS, ITS AMAZING HOW HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF!
I asked her about the bridge I passed on the way up. She said it was built to look un-finished. It was done to prevent the plague from entering the village. It worked, it was the only village to avoid the plague.
Then she told me about the fresh spring, that women who want to get pregnant, dip in.
So I bike to Granile, I miss the turn, but I climb back to the turn-off. I check my watch and dinner is in a couple hours and I am NEVER late for anything. So its 6 km up, thats an hour, so I decide to try and hitchike with my bike. 5 minutes later I’m in a min-van heading up, score. I can`t believe how lucky I am.
I can`t believe where I am, my ride and town host is Honorat
Honorat took me around the village, meeting people and taking me to the best views to get pictures.
THIS IS THE VIEW OUT HIS LIVING ROOM WINDOW.
THERE ARE ONLY 14 YEAR-ROUND RESIDENTS AND 26 SUMMER OCCUPANTS. THIS IS ONE OF THE SUMMER RESIDENTS HOUSE.
Remember it was 6km up and now 6km down, a very hair raising road. This was the last village without a road in France. In 1975? or so after years using horses they got this road.
This rock face is 5-7 stories high, they had a falling rock sign, i`m thinking if this rock comes down, its over.
So after getting this ride hitchhiking I think I can do it again. NO, Then I start riding its only 3km to Tende, lazy shit.
I ride in for a quick shower and stop and talk to this couple.
THEY RENTED THIS FULLY EQUIPPED VAN TO TOUR EUROPE WITH, THEY SAID IT WAS NEARLY THE SAME PRICE AS JUST A CAR, BUT THE SPACESHIP COMES WITH A BED AND KITCHEN.
Marie walks up and we head for dinner. I don’t like to be late so a car drives by and I stick my thumb out, Score! He takes us part way to dinner. Mary told me it was at the end of the road, well in America, the end of the road is a long way. Not in Tende maybe 100 meters. Pierre’s aunt willed four cousins this house to share. I asked if they had changed anything? NOTHING. The aunt had art and treasures from around the world, wish I had taken a few photos.
MARIE, ERWAN AND PIERRE, WE HAD A TRADITIONAL FRENCH MEAL CALLED– RAGOUT DE VEAU A LA MENTONNAISE
There was a little talk about the French tradition of cleaning your plate with baguette bread. So, we made a VIDEO on how to clean your plate with french bread.
The Campground was awesome all the campers were friendly there was a river running through camp.
AFTER THE CHAPEL HIKE I SOAKED MY FEET FOR 1/2 AN HOUR YOU CAN DRINK FROM THE RIVER TOO (maybe not downstream while I was soaking my feet)
I LOVE CAMPING
THIS IS THE WOMEN THAT RAN THE CAMPGROUND, SHE SPOKE NOT ONE WORD OF ENGLISH. BUT KICKED ASS WHEN IT CAME TO TAKING CARE OF THE CAMPGROUND.
I regret leaving Tende so soon, I will come back (warning Tende)
I took a few pictures before catching the train
YOU CAN SEE THE CABLE BRIDGE AND CHAPEL WAY UP THERE. THEY LIGHT THE CHAPEL AT NIGHT. YOULL HAVE TO ENLARGE THE PHOTO.
SOME MORE PHOTOS FROM GOOGLE OF TENDE
THANKS FOR READING, YOUR COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS APPRECIATED (usually) If you comment and I don’t respond its because this post took 6 hours to write and I`m on a big trip and wifi isn’t American fast here.
MORE OF MY PHOTOS ARE HERE
NEXT? FINAL THOUGHTS ON FRANCE