Packing up our camping gear in Arolla, we put away our winter clothing with the rest of our luggage as we prepared for the imminent warmth of the French Riviera. About one week into our road trip, we had become quite experienced in luggage tetris, finding creative solutions in our snug Panda.
The weather cleared for our drive down from the Alps, which we took advantage of with the usual brunch of bread, local cheese and cured meats, and of course the panorama.
Our plan was to drive down to the coast and slowly work our way towards Spain. But before dropping to sea level, there were a few more climbs to make in the foothills of the French Alps. We had built up this urge to go up any peak we would come across, constantly finding ourselves ascending serpentine paths that wrapped the mountainsides. These long excursions were well worth the time, as the snowy peaks of Switzerland transformed into the seemingly ubiquitous vineyards of the Rhône-Alpes region of South-Eastern France.
Upon the recommendation of a very close friend, Erdem, who happens to be a fellow travel enthusiast and food lover, our main stop in Provence would be a small commune called Aups, known for its black truffles and geographic beauty. However, we took an extra day to make it there, with a brief stop in Grenoble along the way.
The Bastille sits at the top of the hill overlooking Grenoble, reached by cable car from the bank of the Isère river. Apart from a stunning view and cool breeze, this set of fortifications dating back to the Middle Ages presents multiple museums and semi-underground network of tunnels, a significant contribution to its role as a strategic stronghold throughout its history.
A few hours in Grenoble was a perfect break to relax, explore the Bastille, and wander through the city. But with a good distance to go before reaching Aups, we were soon on the road scouting the country side in search of a spot to camp for the night.
After a few glasses of wine, we were soon fast asleep, in need of a good night’s rest before an early start the next morning.