A place in the sun

As usual in August there’s little real news, so the BBC is reporting on the weather, which is just barely newsworthy. In French heat deaths ‘up to 3,000’ it states:

The French health ministry has said the deaths of up to 3,000 people in recent weeks could be attributed to the European heatwave.

That number of deaths is plausible depending on the number of weeks concerned, but the report goes on to say:

Police trade union officials have called on the army to help remove the bodies of the deceased, saying that undertakers have been “overwhelmed” by the number of dead.

This misleading statement makes it sound like the plague is revisiting France. Here in the south I have yet to see a single dead body (not to mention any Police trade union officials), and we have experienced the same hot weather as the rest of Europe. As I write, it’s 35° Celsius in the shade!

I must admit that even the locals are complaining about the weather now. It hasn’t rained significantly since May, and everyone is feeling the effects of such a long dry spell.

La Vallee de la SiagneStill, it didn’t stop Sudsy Dame and I from hiking in La Vallee de la Siagne on Monday. The Siagne river runs at the bottom of a beautiful gorge overlooked by the village of St.-Cézaire-sur-Siagne. The hike begins in the village, but immediately descends to the river 200 meters below. It involves walking along a precipitous canal wall, and straight through a waterfall just before reaching an old Roman bridge across the Siagne, the Pont des Tuves. You then walk along the river for a few kilometers before re-crossing it at the Pont du Moulin. The best swimming is available at the two bridges, where there are incredibly refreshing (i.e. cold) pools of clean water that are easy to reach from the riverbank. You then return to the village by hiking up the east side of the valley back to St.-Cézaire.

It’s important in hot weather to take lots of water to drink. Between us we consumed 4.5 litres while walking, but nothing matched the drinks in the main square in St.-Cézaire at the end. They were pure bliss.