Friday, May 27, 2016


Europe's open borders found us riding past the unused/deserted customs building from Spain into France late one afternoon. We decided after stopping to admire the view from a lighthouse to camp there for the night. This decision was also based on the wind that was gradually building. We spent a near-sleepless night in 80km/hr wind hoping that our tent would not blow off the cliff into the sea carrying us with it! The following few days riding were beautiful along the southern coast of France but gusts of wind were becoming dangerous and after we cycled 4hrs to achieve only 26km we decided to jump on another train.

The train brought us to Tarascon – we were now cycling east, with the wind… A great feeling to ride our longest day yet (over 100km) and not be exhausted!

This day unfortunately included riding through Marseille. Not a fun experience. Tim likened it to in Egypt! I just remember being very excited and relieved when we were finally riding away from the city.

In contrast, cycling the following day through the next major coastal city (Toulon) was very enjoyable… Bicycle path through most of it and polite traffic in brief moments of road riding. French cycle paths seem quite variable – after riding 5-10km on a lovely smooth bicycle path, it often just ended with a step gutter. Some surfaces were also mountain bike suitable only and one was simply closed off for maintenance (possibly due to a rock-fall). Navigation was great fun as sign-age rarely exists.

Similarly the camp-grounds in France seem to also be quite variable. Our first stay was at a large camp-ground equipped with pool, watersides, restaurant, bar+wifi etc. We enjoyed a lovely private spot which was large, flat and out of the wind. This cost us 13 euro. Another night without areas for ‘free camping’. The camp ground found us placed in a small area on a gravel slope which was too hard and rocky for tent pegs and we could hear the highway. This camp-ground had a very expensive shop and bar and cost us 22 euro for the night. A lot to pay for the privilege of showering. Interesting as both were coastal, popular holiday locations. There was just no competition for the expensive campground.

Regardless, we both prefer free camping. It is much more private, usually quiet and the only night-time light is from the stars and moon which Tim gets to gaze at if we don’t use the fly. We stayed at free-camp number 30 hidden away in the trees the night before cycling into Gigaro – our “holiday from our holiday”.

On Tim’s South American motorbike trip he met and travelled with a French-man, Kerman. Since their fun together, both have grown up slightly (I think). Kerman and his partner Alice had arranged to spend 2 weeks in their holiday house in Gigaro and kindly invited us to join them for a week. We have enjoyed good company with a series of their other houseguests/friends as well as incredible French food and cooking. While the water is still too cold for swimming, spending time relaxing on the sand, doing small day hikes and simply reading a book has been more welcome than we realised.

We are currently in Corsica and waiting for ferry to Sardinia. Corsica has had everything Alice Springs hasn't = beaches, roads with corners and green vegetation...beautiful in its own way I guess.

We realised yesterday we had a wine-free day...more alarming was that it was also cheese-free! Luckily Corsica specialises in strong flavoured cheeses and today's was exceptional...that or it was actually off and we might be "sea sick" this afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. went to Toulon on the cruise too. never the islands though. looking great you guys! we miss you!