Day 27 – Barcelonette to Gite Bayasse, 20km – 821km total

Today we started ascent of the Col de Coyolle, the highest point of our trip. The road from Barcelonette to the Col is 30km long and rises 1250 meters to 2326 meters in altitude. With approximately 40 kilos of weight attached to by bike there is no way I could make it to the top in one go. We decide to spend a night halfway up, in the small hamlet of Bayasse, 20km into the climb at the altitude of 1800 meters. The road to Bayasee is remarkably beautiful. For the first 15km it follows the spectacular Gorge of the Blanchard river, rising very gently 600 meters over 20km and thus allowing us to enjoy the scenery without pushing the pedals up 6-8% slopes.

Once pass 1400 meters, the air started to cool down considerably. It must be not more than 15 degrees (30C in Barcelonette). We stop at the first village, St. Villard for drinks. Dianna dips her little feet in the village fountain (coooooold!).

Towards the pass the road is getting steeper, the air thinner and cooler. Arriving at Bayasse exhausted at around 4pm we find a Gite ran by a family of three with a 10 month old boy! Dianna is happy to see another baby, she loves babies. Also resident are two dogs and several cats. Our room is a for 4 people, but luckily, we are the only ones in it. Shower and toilet are shared with other guests of the Gite, who soon arrive (a group of French walkers, very noisy and 4 Italians traveling from Italy on horseback).

We sit down outside to have dinner with the Italians. They are from Piemonte and speak Piemontese, a very weird mix of French, Spanish, Catalan and Italian. Criticizing awful French vine offered by the hosts they offer their own, Barbera d’Alba, which is excellent compared to anything we’ve tried in France.

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