Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sospel to Menton - Day One Hundred and Twenty-nine to One Hundred and Thirty

We packed our bags for the last time in the dim pre-dawn light and left Sospel. As the boulangerie ovens burnt strong, the leaves of the plane trees played with the warm Mediterranean breeze.

Once above the town, we ate a box of Chocolate Noisettes and watched the sun ripple across the terracotta roof tiles. The path climbed by elderberry, apple, blackberry and plum, then fell into a deep forest of holly, pine and beech, clad with hugging ivy. Mountains gave way to hills. We picked lavender and margerets and strung them to our packs before reaching our final col. Six million steps after leaving our front door we sat on the grass and looked down onto the Mediterranean sea. We were still 1,000 metres above sea level, a fact felt as we slipped down the rocky path towards Menton. To the east was the Italian coastline, and to the west lay Monaco; the grandeur of Monte Carlo rolled into the sea where million dollar yachts left wakes of wealth.

'Menton, 1hr', read a sign. We began to run, a suggestion of the track gradient, but more notably our excitement. Houses began to appear and soon we were catching glimpses of azure through the alleyways. We emerged onto the Promenade Reine Astrid and made for a crested moon of beach, small and stoney, where the waves met our toes. As the water lapped over my shoulders I felt weightless.

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