Another day, another stunning national park.  This time the Ubaye Valley in the Hautes Alpes of Provence.  We discovered a sparkling blue alpine lake, Lac de Serre-Poncon, bordered by a series of stark peaks. As we rounded a corner we suddenly spotted pillars of sand in the distance. As we got closer we realised that each pillar had a large rock perched on top, rather like an ice cream cone topped with a huge smartie, and we stopped to take a closer look.  Erosion wears away the sandy soil on the hillside and mineral deposits from alternating rain and sun harden the pillars until all that is left is a tower of solidified sand holding a very heavy rock.

Over the next few days the weather turned rather cold, (perhaps because we were in the mountains) and we dared not venture outside for too long.  We spent most of these days enjoying the views from the van as we traversed one pass after another and kept warm with tasty quiches from the local boulangeries.

One morning we woke to snow-dusted trees and mountains which prompted us to hasten off to the coast in search of more sun and warmth.