Whilst travelling back to our base in Dignes, Ian glanced down at the warning lights console and noticed that the charging light was illuminated. Still 35 miles away from our base we decided to press on. The Guzzi managed to return us to the hotel, but the warning light stayed lit. Ian was concerned about this, in fact he was that concerned that he phoned Carole Nash Insurance stating that he was certain that there was something wrong with the charging system. It was agreed that the Guzzi would be picked up the next day, Sunday, and taken to the local Moto Guzzi dealer to be checked out on Monday.
Sunday and we had to stay at the hotel after breakfast to await the recovery vehicle. Eventually the transporter arrived and Ian helped with the loading.
Watching the Guzzi disappear around the corner, realisation hit us. We were marooned in Dignes! Throughout the following days Ian received phone calls on the Guzzi’s progress. Monday, Ian was informed that the motorcycle shop that the Guzzi was being taken to was closed. Tuesday, the shop had not got any time to look at our motorcycle. Ian informed the insurance representative that we had a ferry booked for Friday morning and could they pass this information on to the repair shop. Later in the day Ian received another call informing us that the motorcycle would be ready for collection on Wednesday.
The above events meant that we had a prolonged stay in Dignes. The manageress of the hotel took pity on us and we were transferred to a larger room for the same price for a couple of nights. We were leaving, then not. Ian was becoming like a bear with a sore head! Guzzisue was getting irate because she was slightly out of the proverbial loop, having to rely on second hand information from Ian. I had the job of keeper of the peace during this period. The holiday must continue.
Monday, Guzzisue and myself decided to leave Ian alone for a few hours and went for a walk in the surrounding area. Selecting a road that gave us a view over Digne.
Without realising we had discovered Saint Benoit Park. This can best be described as a discovery park. We had already passed a Japanese styled pagoda and several water features.
Along the way we had seen an information sign giving detail of the region. Although neither of us could translate much, one name that stood out was Andy Goldsworthy. By chance we stumbled across a couple of his five cairns at the centre.
We had an enjoyable time at the park just walking round and looking at the fossil collection in the museum before heading back to find Ian.
After Ian had received the call from Carole Nash that the Guzzi would be ready for collection on Wednesday his mood lightened enormously. Guzzisue had discovered that a famous French traveller/explorer had lived in Digne for a long period of their life and that their adobe was open to the public for guided tours, she just had to go, towing Ian and myself along.
Alexandra David-Néel was a strong willed woman with a desire to travel, especially to India and Tibet. This was more extraordinary as her adventures took place from the late 1800’s to the 1940’s! Her last walking trip was concluded in early winter of her 82nd year.
During her latter years, Alexandra wrote several books on her travels and adventures. Reaching her century she had her passport renewed ready for when the urge to take off again became too strong. However this remarkable woman died just short of her 101st birthday. Her ashes were scattered on the waters of the Ganges.
Inside her house there are many artefacts from her journeys. Guzzisue was not permitted to photograph anything inside the building. If you happen to be in Digne at any time I can recommend that an afternoon be spent with a guided tour here. There are headsets available, handed out by the guide, at various places where necessary.
Please do have a look at the link on Alexandra’s name to find out more about this amazing woman.
Walking around Digne one last time, down this narrow street
upon a wall is this plaque.
Our prolonged stay in Digne was a little longer than Napoleon’s and tomorrow we will be reunited with the Guzzi. For now the future is looking brighter.