We woke up fairly early in Grenoble and had some breakfast before heading off – we did find out that she hadn’t waived all the charges, just given us a credit towards our room of the amount we’d already paid – the night we stayed was some €20 more than our original room. Still, better than no credit at all.

It was a pretty long journey down to Marseilles, mostly on motorways. The terrain got progressively more yellow as we went, the trees and buildings becoming more meditaranean and the temperature rising. We found ourselves stopping for water a few times.

Driving in Marseilles was a nightmare and the route in to the city showed it to be a rough, industrial port. I’m sure there are nice areas of the city for tourists to see during the day, but having been through so many beautiful places, we decided to grab a quick sandwich and a drink in a little patisserie before getting back on the road.

It was a few more hours before we finally arrived at Aups having spent the last half hour or so travelling on smaller, provincial roads through some of the stunning Provence countryside. Aups is a beautiful small town which brought to mind memories of French towns from black and white wartime films. I fully expected to see a crowd of French resistance slinking around a corner away from a couple of German generals – my first impression wasn’t helped by the fact that as we got out of the car, an air raid siren sounded. Apparently it’s used to call the local fire brigade out…

We wandered around a little before meeting up with Sean’s cousin and headed over to their house – a beautiful little cottage. We spent a day and two nights here, just chilling out getting to know Eve and Patricio and the kids, Ishmael and Irene. We ate good food, drank good wine and beer and swam in a nearby lake.

Day 7 was yesterday, Thursday 10th, and we woke up early and got ready to leave. We had a long day of driving ahead of us and after saying goodbye to everyone, we packed the car and hit the road. By 10am the overhead signs were telling us it was 27 deg C and we soon stopped for a break on the mountains above Monaco. We hastily grabbed a few photos and took off again. The principle behind building this Italian road seems to have been to pick a point between the bottom of the valleys and the tops of the ridges and build a road along that line, building tunnels and bridges as necessary.

It was a long, long drive down to Todi and the roads got worse and worse as we went before finally ending on the dirt track that served as an access road to the villa. It had been a long day and it wasn’t long before we were crashing out on the sofa watching the sunset.

This morning we woke up to this view (picture to follow) from the balcony of our bedroom. I’m actually sat on the bed taking that one. It’s an incredible place here and we’re loving just chilling out and relaxing and NOT driving. We popped briefly into Todi today to do some shopping and pottered around before heading back and spending a lazy afternoon just chatting. I’m sat on the terrace writing this with the sun slowly falling towards the distant mountains and Sean playing on the guitar behind me. I’ve not had a watch or mobile on me today. It’s been magic. My biggest dilemma is currently whether I pop down to the swimming pool for a quick swim before dinner. I could get used to this.

Miles travelled: 1855

Our route so far (Google maps)

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