What a day; all day I walked on asphalt along the main road, for 33 km, so says the GPS. Only for a few km could I use another piece of disused highway, like yesterday.
St Étienne sur Tinée
Following the valley, where sadly there were no hiking trails or alternatives to the road, simply was the fastest and most direct route to Nice, rather than spending an extra two days walking over the mountains. As a friendly Canadian doctor whom I met advised, with my tendonitis it is also better to follow the roads instead of the tricky mountain paths where I could injure or even tear the weakened tendon by stumbling or falling.
For the first part of the day it wasn’t too bad at all, following the main road out of the charming village of St Étienne through the beautiful valley. Again and again I passed fortifications of the ill-fated Maginot Line. But later in the day, the valley grew narrower and narrower, and finally where the Tinée river flows into the dirty river Var, the road (which was simply marked as a main road on my map) suddenly became a multi-lane carriageway.
Disused highway; although overgrown, what a delight for walking!
I felt trapped. Should I turn back, and walk an extra day over the mountains? I decided to finish via the direct route. I had to walk through several tunnels, one of which was 1km long, with traffic roaring past me, and had to keep to the very edge of a two lane road without a shoulder. Luckily after several kilometres of this it was over, and I got back onto a piece of “normal” highway for the last few kilometres. I really felt very threatened and out-of-place walking through those tunnels and along the main traffic arteries, with cars and Lorries whizzing by at close quarters. It used up a lot of nerves; but now I’m through it.
After the dual carriageway
Finally, tomorrow I can again follow paths and smaller roads over the last few hills to Nice. And then I only must complete the trek by way of a visit to Monaco, country number 8. These should be two nice final days.
See you again in Nice!