Freitag, 8. Juni 2018

Le Tour

Tour de France 2011 - in 23 days around France

my colleagues were out and about for 23 days (21 stages and 2 rest days) as well, but drove a few kilometres less than me...



my little trip to France started with a train ride from Munich to Kehl on a Wednesday afternoon. In Munich and on the train journey there was rain again and again, but the Rhine valley and the camping site in Kehl awaited me with a small dry gap.
The next morning we started over the Rhine bridge to Strasbourg and along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin via Saverne at Ship lift Saint-Louis-Arzviller past to Nancy.

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In cool weather, much headwind and showers via Toul, Bar-le-Duc to Reims, the champagne city

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Laon and Noyon unfortunately with lots of rain, just a quick picture from a bus stop, Laon on the mountain top was an impressive sight. In the afternoon weather got a little better for a short time.

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Via Beauvais, Gisors and les Andelys/Chateau Gaillard to the Seine Rouen through Picardy, lonely villages and very little traffic on the small roads. Close to Rouen I cycled the Col Anquetil.

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Passing through Rouens industrial area to a plateau and up and down to the canal coast near Deauville and along the coast to a campground "la mer" in Merville for swimming.

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Caennext morning through the Suisse Normande via Vire to Mont Saint-Michel to admire the tourist crowd, and further along the coast via Saint-Malo to Cap Frehel.

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The weather was disappointing again and therefore straight to the south via Josselin to Guerande and see the brines there. I continued along the well developed tourist coast and across the Loire bridge at Saint-Nazaire.

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Remaining at the coast to La_Rochelle and to the ferry to Royan and

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to the Bordeaux wine region. A centre of viticulture is Pauillac.

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Bordeaux, a twin city of Munich...

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whose citizens all drove on an almost endless road to the big dune near Pyla.

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Next day through the coastal forests on small, very narrow, mostly tarred cycle paths south to Bayonne and into the foothills of the Pyrenees to Hasparren.

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Approaching the first passes in the Pyrenees was a change for me, I was now used to the flat country, the first passes were the Col de Burdincurutcheta and Col Bagargui.

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The following day was a blind flight in the fog, all 6 passes Col de Sustousse, Col de Soudet, Col d'Ichère, Col de Marie-Blanque, Col d'Aubisque, Col du Soulor were covered by thick fog.

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But the next day gave me sunshine at the Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin and Col de Peyresourde. A large number of cyclists were on the road on these Tour de France classics today.

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Col du Portillon next day was still wonderful, but at Port de la Bonaigua a storm broke out and the hail on the descent was not funny. Down in the valley I reached a shelter close to a small grocery store and for more than 1h water poured from the sky as I have never seen before. We tried to push the water with brooms and other aids to the street. At Collado del Canto the weather improved.

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The next day started with fog, too. So I went directly to France using N260 and left the Pyrenees. The road climbed again at Col de Calvaire to 1836m, then a long descent through wide valleys first and then through a narrow gorge to Axat and heading to Carcassonne.

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Unfortunately next day the weather did not really improve and Carcassonne was cloudy and on the detour to the foothills of the Massif Central there was some rain.

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I continued on small roads through hilly country towards Montpellier and Camargue, to the Dead Waters of the Pirate City Aigues-Mortes and to the three Marien of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
Strong winds from the north on gravel roads through the Etang deVaccares passsing the flamingos (after admiring the white horses and black cattle before) and further to Arles.

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With fresh Mistral I cycled to Pont du Gard and visited Avignon and the new castle of the Pope, Chateauneuf-du-Pape to see the wine growing area. All this on the way to Mont Ventoux, the Kilimanjaro of Provence.

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At the foot of this mountains I set up my base camp and early in the morning I made my way up to this magnificent mountain, that took me about 2 hours. A descent to Sault and through the lavender fields towards Gorge du Verdon.

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The next morning a last view of Mont Ventoux in the distance and then into the fantastic Gorge due Verdon. But the inner bearing of my bike broke and could only be moved by force, and at the same time the freewheel of my rear wheel hub started to screech (the latches had caries as I noticed at home), I set off directly to Ventimiglia (via Nice, Monaco and Menton), and returned by regional trains (with changing trains in Milan, Verona, Brenner, Kufstein, Rosenheim) to Munich. It was a wonderful holiday.

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