July 27 – Barcelonette – Digne-les-Bains – Sisteron – Annecy



The next morning we had another breakfast – large by European standards and approaching an American breakfast.  Michael and his girlfriend had to return to Frankfurt for work so we gathered for a group photo of the boys and their toys.


After some fun antics with photos that will not be posted here, we parted ways and Peter, Ralph and I were off to Digne-les-Bains beginning a day filled with some of my favorite roads of the trip.

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We had a brief coffee stop along the way at this quaint cafe alongside a stream.


While at the cafe we reviewed some of our “one arm sticking out of the convertible” photos and video.  Shortly after that we arrived in Digne-les-Bains.

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We stopped for lunch a bit early by French standards but we found a great place that was a little off the main street and seemed to be more oriented towards the locals.  I ordered fish and wasn’t quite ready for the surprise on my plate.


Fortunately, I was able to manage to take care of the skin and bones and the fish was actually delicious.  Some French wine didn’t hurt either.  After some dessert we were off to Sisteron.

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We stopped for a moment at the EDF dam in Castillon which created a picturesque lake on one side and an enormous valley on the other.  In the photo below, look for the door in the middle of the dam to get an idea of its size.


Driving away from the dam marked the end of the bulk of our winding roads through the mountains and we were headed towards flatter driving terrain after Sisteron.  We had managed to get very behind schedule somehow so we weren’t able to spend much time in Sisteron.

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We now had a long stretch of driving to make it back to Annecy for our last night in the French Alps.  On the drive back we dodged the rain a bit and had a fun time dealing with some crazy Spaniards driving Seats.  I swear, I was being a good driver.

It was about 10:00 pm and we still had a ways to go before Annecy so we decided to stop off in a small town on the way for dinner.  We found one of the few restaurants still open and it was packed with locals.  We sat down and struck up a conversation with some men next to our table who worked on a railroad project nearby.  They were surprised to see an American visiting their town since it wasn’t typically a tourist stop.  He was very excited about Obama and wished the American people well on the upcoming election.  We managed to close the place and were much happier with yet another delicious French meal in our stomachs.

At about 2:00 am we arrived at the Chateau in Annecy were we had booked our final night in France.  We had to figure out a way into a gated courtyard and after about a half hour we managed to wake someone who let us in.  We then proceeded to the hotel and got our keys from what I’m sure was a not-too-happy proprietor.  The problem with the keys was that their “key chains” were cowbells so as we went up the stairs of the small hotel with our bags, we sounded like a bunch of cattle and I’m sure we managed to wake up a good share of the guests.


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