mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Saturday, 26 July 2003



I spent more time today saying “dude” than I ever have before (proportionally), because I took a little drive. As you may have guessed, Antibes left me a little cold, despite the weather; I’m not a big fan of seaside resorts.

So, after a little time in the markets this morning followed by a session in a laser (whereby I reminded myself that sailing *isn’t* just like riding a bike, after ten years), I took Yves’ advice (thanks!) and drove up into the French Alps. More precisely, starting around Nice, take N202 north towards Carros, following it around to D28 north to Beuil, through the Gorges du Cian. Then, take D30 east until you hit D2205 in Saint Sauveur-sur-Tinee, which eventually rejoins N202 to the south.

This is one serious drive. It makes Rt.1 in California - any part of it - look more like Interstate 5. If you’re serious about cars and driving, buy yourself a ticket to Nice pronto and follow the directions above; you won’t regret it. (In fact, I took a slight wrong turn and ended up in Monaco at the beginning, but that’s another story. Anitra claimed there would be bandits; there weren’t.)

Sure, I just had a sickly little rental Fiat, but it doesn’t matter; the curves of this road, the sheer drops, amazing rock formations, alpine meadows, charming towns full of old men playing boule, the relentless series of tunnels - some of them kilometers long - all work to fantastic effect. At one point, there was an abandoned fortress carved into the rock in a pass which the road wound its way through. In most place I’ve been, this would be a major attraction; here, it was really abandoned, and you could just walk in. Another stop found me dipping my feet in an alpine stream in the bottom of a gorge, whilst still being able to call home (mobile coverage in Europe is so much better than the states).

Anitra will make fun of me for this, because I give her trouble about saying “dude” too much after we moved to California (when I moved to Australia, I did the same thing with “mate”; go figure). There are plenty of better ways to express my awe, but… dude that was cool!

Pictures to follow.