|09-03-2013, 02:46 PM||#16|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 9 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland to Gaillard, France
With the extra time we'd made up from altering the routes over the last couple of days it had left us with a spare day which we were going to spend at Interlaken and a second nights camping but as the weather had turned to crap we decided against that idea and moved on.
We were also going to do one of the fantastic excursions around Jungfrau but with the weather being bad we wouldn't have seen much being so high up.
We decided to move off and change the route again and decided to just pick a location, book a hotel and go there.
We found a cheap hotel in Gaillard and set off, a little sad that switzerlnd had been slightly less 'special' than we were expecting, the scenery is fantastic but coupled with the ridiculous cost of everything and the fact that you had to pay to ride on the motorways we didn't want to give Switzerland much more of our money and time and one night is enough just to pass through.
Today was one of those days where we were both quiet, as i said earlier it was almost like the holiday was over and we were just heading home.......
......that was until whilst riding along we came across this purely by chance
Remember my new hobby of cable car riding well this would be the cable car ride to end all cable car rides for this trip
At 52 swiss francs each for the full ride it was expensive but it had to be done.
Halfway point to change cars
And at the top
And time to go back down
We reached the bottom and our mood had changed from post holiday blues to a more upbeat mood positive that the days to come wouldn't turn out too bad after all.
We set off again with still a long way to go, through pretty little ski resort villages until we happened upon a village that was having a festival, we tagged onto it between some of the carnival floats which was fun especially when we came down into the town which was full of people ready to take pics of the floats and fancy dresses when we came around the corner you could see the look of bewilderment and cameras disarmed in disappointment but they still waved as we passed.
We also landed somehow onto a part of the Route des Grande Alpes, so, so tempting to ride further down this awesome road but we'll save that for a future tour.
A col climb or two later we were twistied out
And then we arrived in Gaillard and the hotel.
A cheap hotel on the outskirts of town it was half decent but the staff's customer service skills needed a huge overhaul, we asked for cups so we could use the free tea & coffee supplies in the room but they said they had no clean ones?? And it looked like she had no intention of cleaning two for us.
We showered and went for food to one of France's large chain restaurants - Buffalo Grill.
First taste of buffalo and it was very nice too, retired to bed early amidst a polish tour bus offloading its passengers into our Hotel.
JJay51 screwed with this post 09-03-2013 at 03:00 PM
|09-05-2013, 03:42 PM||#17|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 10 Gaillard to Tournus
It would have been foolish to expect any sort of decent breakfast in this hotel.
As the polish bus tour had been down before us they'd used all of the cups so we were stuck again without coffee cups, the Staff yet again had no intention of cleaning any for us.
We were ushered away from where the polish had been eating to another part of the dining room.
The offering wasnt up to much, a few slices of dried meat, some cheese that had dried out so i settled for some cereal while the wife had toast.
Packed up the bike and set off for Tournus which i'd routed the night before and was to be a camping night.
It was another dry warm day ahead :)
On the original route we would go around part of Lake Geneva so i factored in a part of it in the revised route.
We decided on a coffee stop just before we would leave the lake and found a municipal 'beach' with a cafe, 3euros to get in but we just walked in as we only wanted coffee with no intention of bathing :)
Ordered a coffee amidst the swarm of flies in the kitchen and sat and chilled by the lake.
This was it, we would leave Switzerland for the last time on the trip within the next hour.
We set off to head for St Laurent which involved climbing into the mountains.
We came across St Laurent and had a stop for a drink as it was getting hot.
Just after we got back on the road we got stuck behind a truck that had bits of gravel and rock dropping out of it, i felt something hit my knee and thought it was another of the large euro bugs that my have ejected its innards on my clothes again but when i looked down i saw that id had a lucky escape.
Thankful for knee armour and that it hadnt hit the bike radiator i was looking at a nice large mark of a piece of rock that had bounced up off the road from the truck, a very lucky escape as it could have easily been game over for the bike rad.
As soon as i could pass i did!
We finally arrived in Tournus and found a campsite - http://www.camping-tournus.com/en.html
A nice site, family run by new owners who were very helpful, checked in and set up camp.
We had to do a wash here using the sites laundry facilities as were getting low on clean clothes again, the perils of packing light!
With slightly damp but clean smelling clothes we headed up town for some food, a pretty little town with a lot of old buildings and history.
This old doorway had movement measurers attached as it seemd to be moving over the years.
After all it was a few years old
We found a nice restaurant and had some excellent food and wine to end the night, walked back to the site under threat of black skies and another impending storm.
Managed to get a quick coffee in at the bar before its started to throw it down.
It rained again overnight but once again the trusty old tent withstood the deluge.
|09-06-2013, 06:38 PM||#20|
Joined: Jul 2004
Very much enjoying the trip, thanks for posting!
I noticed you have a Gaz stove - I have a Gaz 470 as well (along with the wonderful lantern/cup warmer attachment) that has always been a great stove, unfortunately Coleman bought them and decided to stop selling the canisters in the US. I did manage to pick up a case at REI on close out, so I am set for a few more years :)
"A good stick is a good reason"
|09-07-2013, 10:52 AM||#21|
Joined: Mar 2013
Ive had that small stove for around 15 years, luckily the CV300 catridges are still being made.
|09-09-2013, 10:56 AM||#24|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 11 Tournus to Varennes Vauzelles
The rain eased off through the night and as it was so warm by the time the morning came the tent and ground was dry.
We packed up and left the site without breakfast, we decided we'd get some on the hoof today.
Along the route we found a bakery so stopped for pastries to keep us going until lunch
Headed in the direction of Nevers which was our original destination.
And we arrived early afternoon, time for a coffee before checking into our pre-booked hotel.
A pretty town and i wished we'd found a decent priced hotel here but we had to move on a couple of miles to Varennes.
We stayed at Europe Hotel, basic but clean and cheap - http://www.europehotel58.com/
After we'd checked in we headed out for some food on the bike.
Came across a Pat au Pain baguette/coffee shop which we decided to try out.
Some nice baguettes and coffee later we headed back to the hotel after a bit of a ride around town for an early night.
Now as we were getting closer and closer to our last day the scenery was changing and most of the time were in travel mode and not tourist mode just riding to a destination with not much to see.
|09-11-2013, 02:19 PM||#25|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 12 Varennes Vauzelles to Chateaudun
After a decent nights sleep we awoke the next morning, packed and opted to pay the extra for a breakfast at the hotel, nothing special but a bit better than cakes
We opted for a bit of motorway to eat some miles up but no sooner had we had a few miles under our belt it started to rain heavily, i kept going as the gps was routing us off the motorway after another 2 miles.
When we did eventually get off we pulled over to suit up as it looked like there wasnt going to be a let up.
We found a Chateau that the photographer wanted a few snaps of so i obeyed and rode around it.
We passed through quite a few nice villages on the way, running alongside the Loire river and eventually got into Chateaudun, headed for the hotel and checked in -
A very old fashioned hotel run by two old dears, muddled through check in with a mix of Frenchglish
Headed out to the town as we'd seen a lot of impressive architecture on the skyline on the way in and as we'd made good time we had a few hours of daylight left to have a good stroll.
There were some seriously old buildings here and the town seemed to have forgotten all the history around them as some the older buildings just seemed to be left to decay further with no protection around them.
This building seemed the oldest and was right on the side of a main road again with no protection whatosever.
I suspect that had it been here in the UK it would be covered in spray paint and the rotting away original couple of hundred year old door knocker would be long gone and various other vandal activities exacted on it.
The same could be said of the main attraction of the town, the Chateau itself, a beautiful huge building but unfortunately a hefty price was required to enter the gates.
It was overgrown and inhabited by hundreds of pigeons that were adding plenty of height to some of the parapets by way of huge crap piles under the roosting areas.
A shame and they badly needed a few hawks or marksmen around to keep the pigeon population in check.
We spotted signs for Grottes du Foulon, a huge history soaked sub-terranean network of caves under the town - http://www.grottesdufoulon.sitew.com...aires_Tarifs.A
and decided we'd go in for a visit, quite impressive to hear the young girl who was guiding the tour reel off the history of these far reaching caverns.
Trouble is as we were the only english speakers on the tour we had to stand there waiting for her to finish reeling off the memorised script in French before everyone would then turn and stare at us while she reeled it off again in English just for us
The end of the tour came and we headed back up the hill into the square for food.
We found a French Chinese restaurant and decided we'd like something a little more familiar to eat
Tired from the fair amount of walking we'd done, we retired well aware that tomorrow was to be our last full day of the trip in Europe
|09-16-2013, 02:08 PM||#26|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 13 Chateaudun to Honfleur
Well aware that this was our last day, we woke, packed up and checked out of the hotel.
Decided on a coffee in the square just as a market was setting up.
Straight forward run up to the coast and found some little gems along the way.
We arrived at Honfleur and decided to have a brief ride around before finding our pre-booked hotel.
A nice hotel and not far from the harbour which is where it all seemed to be happening.
Checked in and took a stroll down town
After what seemed like hours of walking round trying to decide where to eat we stopped at a little waterside restaurant.
Some form of seafood was inevitable
More strolling around town before retiring for the night ready for a short run in the morning to the ferry port so we had chance for a lie in.
Honfleur is a beautiful little town and we look forward to returning some day.
|09-16-2013, 02:43 PM||#27|
Joined: Mar 2013
Day 14 Honfleur to Wales
This was it, the last day of the trip, it had seemed a long time ago that we'd set off to start our trip but were still sad to see the end of it coming, i was missing the kids too (but shh dont tell them that)
We'd done it, we'd got this far on our first solo tour and it was a good one.
One final hotel bill later
We decided against the high priced hotel breakfast and also wanted to spend a last hour or so at the harbour, we sat with a coffee and croissant quieter than previous mornings where the talks were of the day ahead.
We managed to pull ourselves away from harbour life to begin the short but unwelcome journey to the ferry port at Le Havre.
Very windy on this bridge and it just started to rain lightly, a fitting end journey to match the mood
We arrived, checked in and queued for the Ferry, it landed and unloaded its passengers from the UK that included quite a few bikes.
We looked on enviously as they were just about to start their trip.
Bit of a rough crossing and we had to resort to the travel sickess tablets for the first time ever.
The crossing seemed to drag on forever, when we eventually landed it was an uneventful disembarkment and we were soon on the road homeward bound straight into Friday afternoon rush hour traffic though we were lucky to have a police bike in front filtering through but soon got bored of following him at the illuminated signs 40mph limit so picked up the pace slightly.
Home in not too bad a time and got on with the task of disassembling two weeks worth of luggage from the bike.
If there was an honours list or a thanks list for bike tours then mine would go something like this it.
To my wife for being an excellent pillion and just letting me get on with planning things my way, for being a top photographer as always capturing these treasured memories for us to reflect on in the future and for being so adaptable especially on the camping front as she'd only ever camped twice before, for allowing me to ride those fantastic roads how they should be ridden without (much) complaint.
The bike, the vehicle that dragged us across Europe fully loaded with not so much as a hiccup, despite the seat not being the most comfortable seat for touring it was a very small complaint in an otherwise faultless machine.
The Peaklife GPS, thank the lord for China is all i will say, this little gem worked faultlessly after what i thought was a faulty battery turned out to be a faulty charge lead, for the price you really cannot fault it and the routes panned out as i'd hoped.
Next years tour is already booked back with the good old group of friends that we popped our euro tour cherry with in 2011.
Spain 2014 here we come!!!!!!!
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