Days 34 and 35, Monday and Tuesday September 12-13
Refuge des Merveilles to Sospel to Menton
Monday, to Sospel
A very good day of hiking. We started high at 2100 m and remained high with good views for much of the day. The first part was in rocky terrain which then changed to grassy hills cut by deep valleys. Good trails. Two cols in the morning, one at 2430 m. The afternoon was an endless descent to Sospel at 350 m but gradual and mostly on good trails, some in cool forest. We covered 31 km which was longest day on the walk, but with the good trails and scenery, it was not a hard day. Sunny but hazy, so no views of the Mediterranean, and in the afternoon some mist.
Sospel was our first real taste of being near the Mediterranean. Cypress trees, olive trees, red tile roofs, heat. It is a very pretty town with a warm relaxed feeling. After two nights in refuges, fresh bread and a hot shower were luxuries. We spent the night at a good basic auberge run by an English couple.
Tuesday, to Menton
The last day of the walk. Typical of the walk, we climbed up 1000 m, went over several cols and descended to our destination.
The first part of the day was good: cool forest trails and not steep. Finally, long-awaited views of the Mediterranean and Menton.
The descent to Menton was a long, steep, rough trail on a south-facing slope in hot sun. We had been warned by other hikers that it was difficult, but in the heat it was nasty. Not the end to the walk I had in mind. We arrived numb and tired.
The end of the GR52 is at a train station in a suburb east of Menton, about a kilometer from the centre of town. On the way into town I performed the ritual of dipping my boots in the Mediterranean (Inge had already changed into her sandals to give her hot feet some relief). We quickly found a budget hotel in the old town and a hot shower made the world seem a much better place. A good dinner sitting outside on a warm evening and early to bed for a sound sleep.