May 3, 2017. Day 32

Aix-en-Provence to Manosque – 53km

(D96, D621, D96, D996, D4096)

Paul Gully:  The unexpected is the essence of travel.

When we were suddenly confronted with 2km of steep hills before we had even left  Aix city limits, we momentarily questioned the wisdom of our route change. Thankfully, that turned out to be the worst of it and we ended up having an absolutely delightful day riding on quiet roads, mostly with a wide shoulder, and had spectacular views of the Alpes de Haut-Provence.  We passed through limestone and sandstone landscapes on the eastern edge of the Parc natural régionale du Luberon, covered with vineyards and fields of barley and artichokes.

A particular surprise was coming upon the remains of the Pont de Mirabeau. This was a suspension bridge built in 1845. The span was destroyed in WW1, replaced by another bridge which was destroyed in WW2. The bridges cross the River Durance which feeds the Canal EDF (Electricité de France), important for irrigation, potable water and power.

 A view of the Alps on our approach to Manosque was also unexpected!

“Milestone”: Since Lisbon, we have cycled over 2000km.

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