Posts Tagged With: Europe is old

Day 25: Rest day in Cologne (27 June)

We had breakfast at the hotel, then the next step was the ongoing need to get laundry done.

When we got into the lift after breakfast, Gergo (the tour leader) jumped in and started having a chat to us about going the wrong way yesterday morning. Ezster (his wife) who was the sweep had caught up to us, and she must have mentioned it to him. Gergo spoke to us like we were about 12 years old so I walked off while he was talking.

Next thing we get an email from him, copied to Miles in the head office in TDA, telling us again why we were wrong and telling us how to navigate! Very frustrating as it’s the first time Gergo has spoken to me since the day I arrived, and it’s to tell me off! And he was totally oblivious that actually the flagging was wrong, and at least half the riders had made the same two wrong turns as us. After awhile I decided to just ignore it.  As in the words of Henry Gold, founder/owner of TDA, “getting lost is half the fun”.

After doing the laundry we had a couple of pizza pieces for lunch. Brett was not feeling very well, upset stomach, so he had a nap and I caught up on a couple of days with the blog.

Later the afternoon we went for walk and were amused to see a statue in square with her arm and hand open, holding a bottle of beer.

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Statue in the Old Market

Then we went to see the Cologne Cathedral which is Roman Catholic and is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne. The height of the building is 157.4 meters, which makes it the 4th highest church building in the world. It covers 8,000 square meters and can hold over 20,000 people. The two massive towers were completed in 1880c.

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Cologne Cathedral

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Cologne Cathedral

The cornerstone of the present day Gothic cathedral was laid at the Feast of Assumption of Mary, 15 August 1248. The previous building was deemed not impressive enough to hold the bones of the three wise men (Magi) and were brought to Cologne in 1164 by Archbishop Rainald of Dassel from Milan, after the latter city was conquered in 1164. In 1,200 these remains were placed in a golden Shrine. Because of these remains, the Cathedral is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe.

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Cologne Cathedral

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Cologne Cathedral

Outside the cathedral there were a number of beggars, I gave one a few euros and every time she saw me in the square after that she blew me a kiss. There was a man busking with an amazing voice singing opera, that we listened to for awhile also.

There were a number of cruise ships at the docks including the Ms Emily Bronte (from yesterday) and the Viking Vidar. The Viking Vidar goes from Budapest to Amsterdam.

We had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant called Beirut, with John W. We got a set menu and we could not believe it – we got about 20 starters (hummus, meatballs, rice, salad, chicken etc)  but thankfully only a platter of main, and a small honey pastry dessert.

Afterwards we decided to go to the hotel bar. Um 3 drinks later, I may regret this in the morning.

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Riverside

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Day 23: Mainz to Koblenz

101 km today, all flat

We have stayed in 3 IBIS hotels this trip, and this one has a new rule that you are meant to automatically know about. When you get breakfast, you are meant to use a tray, which most people did as it easier. IBIS is the only place that had trays, but at this IBIS after breakfast you are meant to take your tray to a rack at the side of the restaurant, and place it with the dirty dishes on it. We were unaware of this, and also where the rack was, until Tim tried to leave the restaurant and the waitress blocked his way until he had taken his tray to the rack!

As we have been riding through Germany we have noticed that as you come out of the towns there are lots of little garden allotments with small sheds, growing veggies and sometimes flowers. There are often chairs and children’s toys. These must be for people who live in apartments and have no gardens. Not sure if they buy them, lease them. or go in an allocation draw.

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Small private gardens just on the outskirts of German towns.

About 30k into the ride today, suddenly the cyclists were no longer using the bike lanes and were all over the road riding 3-4 abreast. I was concerned to see a small child aged about three riding at least 300 meters in front of her parents on a main highway. Then I realised the road was closed. I later found out it’s an annual event, the last Sunday in June the road is closed both side of the Rhine for 65 km from Rudesheim and Bingen to Koblenz.

There were hundreds of cyclists on road bikes, mountain bikes, tandems, and trikes with carriages containing children and pets. Skaters, Segway riders, the occasional serious cyclist trying to get in the weekend training, and one lone jogger . There were Grandparents, families, and teens, interspersed with biking tourists.

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Both sides of the Rhein roads closed to traffic for 40km. Great riding with thousands out.

Also on the way into every town they had cake stalls, small markets, and beer stands. A very carnival atmosphere.

 

There were lots of ships going up and down the Rhine, carrying coal, scrap, containers, cruises and small boats. There were a number of the ships carrying scrap and coal pushing another ship carrying the same. In one instance, one was called Bermuda and the other was called Triangle.

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Bermuda / Triangle

The stretch we are riding is the upper middle Rhine river, a 65 km stretch is a UNESCO world heritage site as it has more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Castles were built on the river to get a toll from the passing boats.

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Castle on the river at Stolzenfels

There are 40 hilltop castles and fortresses built over a 1,000 year period in this 65 km stretch, and 65 villages. The steep hillsides have been terraced and growing grapes for 1,000 years. Many are ruins as they were either abandoned, or destroyed, and left as picturesque ruins in the 17th century wars. The 19th century onwards has seen restoration and reconstruction taken place. Even railway tunnels had castle designs on the outside.

On archways into towns there is documentation of previous floods, the worse being 28.11.1882, where the flood nearly reached the top of the archway.

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Rhens town gate showing Rhein flood heights over 200 years.

At the Lunch stop you could see two castles just from where I was sitting.

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Lunch stop at Sankt Goar an der Loreley.

Next to the lunch stop the local fire brigade were doing their part for the local fundraising, and were selling Kaffee and Kuchen (coffee and cake).

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Me and a 🔥 man.

At 61 km, we went past the rocks of Lorelei where legend has it the ghost of a young woman, who leapt to her death in the Rhine, sits and combs her golden hair and sings and lures seamen to their death.

 

One one house on the river bank there was a statue of a stork on the outside with tiny baby clothes hanging next to it, and the date of the arrival of the new baby (Pepe).

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New baby (Pepe) arrival.

We went off the road to one very pretty village called Oberwesel to have a look around, and got talking to couple of self touring riders called Louise and  Brian from Norwich. They started in Switzerland and are finishing in Amsterdam. Brian had two water bottles on his bike, and a wine rack made for bikes from Topeak.

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Louise and Brian from Norwich, UK.

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Town of Oberwesel

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Town of Oberwesel

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The narrows at Oberwesel

We are staying at yet another IBIS, so dinner was at a restaurant not the hotel. As we were walking to dinner, there was a group with man in a wheelchair moving very slowly in front of us. I checked no one was on the adjacent bike path, so we walked out to go around the group. As soon as we did a German couple raced up to us, the woman with her face screwed up like she had just sucked on a lemon, and had a go at us for being on the bike path. I suggested perhaps they could get a life.

At the dinner we were crammed into the corner of an otherwise empty restaurant, but were not allowed to sit at any of the other tables.

We had dinner with John W, Graham, Yvonne, and Scott. Dinner was asparagus soup (we think. If not it was possibly potato soup), hard fried chicken, and a nasty hamburger pattie (I didn’t eat it), and white rice which I also didn’t eat, and chips. Dessert was ice cream. I had sparkling water.

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Riding through Boppard

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Day 76: Rest day in Cáceres

I enjoyed having a lie in and had breakfast about 9am. No Skyping today as Lizzy was asleep, Kelly and Daniel and Dan are away, and Shellbe was out, but this time next week I will be seeing them in person.

I headed off to do the laundry and have a small wander around. I found a post office and posted the two post cards I have been meaning to post since I left Barcelona.

Next up was lunch. There are about 10 restaurants in the square just outside the hotel so I went to one just along from the one last night. It was a better choice for lunch, I had a really nice smoked fish salad with salmon, anchovies, white fish, capers and lettuce, plus grilled vegetables – zucchini, egg plant, pepper, and mushroom. Last night I had a cheese entrée which was hard and a steak that was meant to be medium rare but was well done. I thought about complaining but the wait person did not speak English and I don’t speak Spanish.

Cáceres looks lush and tropical in the city

The city may look lush and tropical, but this photo was taken just outside the city

After lunch I had a wander around the old town. Cáceres has been a world heritage site since 1986 because of the blend of Moorish, Northern, Gothic and Italian renaissance architecture. This town was founded in 25BC; there are walls from the 4th, 12th 14th and 18th century. The old medieval town is used as a film site as within the walls there is no sign of any of the modern world.

The brown building between two white ones is our hotel Hotel Cáceres Casa Don Fernando

A building with a ceramic façade

Then it was back to the hotel to rest and update the blog.

View from the square outside the hotel

I ended up going to the same restaurant for dinner and had a really great steak. It was really nice sitting out in the square, it was nice and warm. There were lots of families with small children. The children were all playing happily in the square, even though it was nearly 10pm. I guess they all have a siesta in the afternoon as well. During siesta time the place is deserted, as you can see from the photo in the square there was no one around at 3pm, but the place was humming at 8:30pm.

A street off the square at 3:30pm

The same street at 9pm

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Day 74: Madrigal de la Vera to Malpartida de Plasencia – 88k

5,850km down: 375km to go Up 1,250 metres, down 1,150

To start off with the camp site had looked really quiet, but we did not realize how many permanent residents of the camp there were. Plus there was a football game with Real Madrid playing at 8:30pm, so the bar got busy, and a stream of people making all kinds of racket headed to the bar to watch the game. Oh great, I thought, another night of no sleep, but I must have been really tired as I went to sleep quite quickly. I woke up for awhile in the middle of the night but got off to sleep again until the rooster started. I did suggest this morning that one of the riders has a recording that they play for fun but no one owned up.

After sleeping two nights ago in a sleeping bag and wearing arm warmers first thing in the morning, the weather has got warmer again.  This morning it was about 8:30am by the time it was light enough for us to get out on the road.

Climbing

We went through a number of towns that ended in de la Vera (I must look up what that means, my best guess today is that de la Vera is the name of the mountain range we are travelling along). The most noteworthy of the de la Vera towns were:
1. Losar de la Vera – this town has heaps of poplar trees cut into interesting shapes, I kept expecting to see Edward Scissorhands at work
2. Jaraiz de la Vera – a really old town with crumbling stone walls etc, I will google it to see how old it is.

You can see the tree cuts up the street, in front a new type of shrine – cut into a tree

The campsite tonight is good. Good showers, toilets with seats and paper. There is still no soap but it has a really good washing area. And it has a bar with Wifi plus a small supermarket. So it is probably the best so far.

Tomorrow we ride to Cáceres and then have a rest day.

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Day 70: Rest day one in Madrid

As parts of the renovations at the hotel are taking place in the restaurant, we all got breakfast delivered to our rooms. Nice plan, but as mentioned last night there is only one very slow moving lift! My breakfast was due at 8:30, so when it got to 9am I rang up to find out where it was, as I was waiting to eat before Skyping with my kids.

The poor hotel staff looked really harassed, it must be really hard work with four floors of people and only one lift! It was good to chat to Lizzy, Shellbe and Dan (Xavier slept through it again) and then next I skyped with Kelly and Daniel. Skype is such a great invention.

I was given a book of discount vouchers, and made a discovery about what I never expected to be able to see on this tour (all will be revealed tomorrow). I went on a city tour, and we saw:

1. The Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid)
2. Barrio Salamanca
3. Plaza de Colón
4. Plaza de Cibeles
5. Museo Del Prado
6. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – the Football stadium of the Real Madrid club, can seat 85,000
7. Plaza Mayor – one of the main shopping main areas

The Markets we saw are nothing like in Barcelona or other cities we have been to. Instead of being crammed in and packed under a tent type awning it was a much more sedate setting, more like Moore Wilsons than the Wellington wharf or Porirua market on a Saturday morning.

The markets

We had lunch in Plaza Mayor square, it reminded me a bit of St Mark’s Square in Venice – crowds, buskers, lots of tables, souvenir shops, and instead of mask shops there were football merchandise shops. We also had a tour around the old town.

Plaza Mayor Square in Madrid – note the paintings on the building

There was a really big demonstration about planned government cuts to spending, the city was full of protestors. There were at least 100 buses that bought them in and took them out. We had to get off our tour bus as it could not go through the middle of town. They were all wearing t-shirts and chanting, and although there was a significant police presence it seemed to be a peaceful protest.

Suzanne and I on a bear statue in the square

We did a bit of shopping, I am at the stage of having to buy presents, I have been hoping to see suitable things and buy them the time, but I have not had a lot of luck. I saw the perfect present for one of my children but the shop was shut, it said it opened again at 5:30pm. I went back again from the hotel later – 30 minutes each way – but the shop was still not open, so maybe does not open on the weekend? Even though it was in the main strip.

A new busking act

A group of us (Scott, Michele, Dan, Brett, Suzanne and I) had arranged to meet for dinner at Botin’s Restaurant, said to be the oldest restaurant in the world. We had the choice of going at 8pm or 10pm, as they have two sittings a night. I’m sure you can guess which time we chose!

It was fun, very touristy, not fine dining, and you felt a bit like you were on a production line, as whatever you ordered arrived within five minutes of ordering it. But it was fun and the food was ok, and we can say we have been there.

Scott, Dan, Michele, me, Brett at Botin (picture taken by Suzanne)

Afterwards Suzanne, Brett, Scott and I sat out in the street area near the hotel, and people watched for awhile.

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Day 65: Tarragona to Arnes – 108k

5,103km down: 1,122km to go

It was hot during the night but thankfully we were at a quiet camp site.

When we got in yesterday we were told that the bar shuts at 4pm (it was 3pm) and the pool shuts at 6pm.  Not sure if it was because it was Sunday or whether it was because the camp site was deserted. To get wifi you had to produce your passport and get an ID card, quite a lot of work for one night.  Also we found out later the password was device specific and as a group we were only allowed four. Thankfully our group is now only 8 riders and not everyone wanted Internet access.

We are back to showers that you have to push the button to get 7 seconds of water before you have to push it again, and the toilet saga continues – toilets with no seat, but there was soap and paper. I guess if your house has no toilet seat there is never any argument about the seat being left up. There was another interesting translation on a sign in the toilet: “You had to use the paper properly, thank you”.

We knew today was going to be  challenging with hills 10k long, and the heat, so we were on the road by 7:30am. It is not light enough now to leave any earlier. The first 28k was relatively flat, we went through a seaside town called Miami Platsa (which translates to Miami Beach), and we took a photo as we left the Mediterranean and headed inland. The scenery today was fantastic – when you got your head up and your breathing under control enough to enjoy it!

Last view of the sea until Lisbon

I think it was one of the most challenging rides we have done so far. Tomorrow we start with a 50k rail trail then more of the same so maybe that will be the most challenging, as my legs will not have fully recovered from today. We climbed up past kilometre after kilometre of olive trees and almond trees. There was an enormous amount of work that had taken place building stone walls and terraces. There were a few fields of vines as well. At one place there was a golf resort and at the end of it there was a veggie garden.

We passed an amazing old village Tivissa, and just before lunch we crossed the Rio Ebro river. At lunch there was an ant hill just near the lunch truck, and after a few crumbs of food were dropped it was like a highway – streams of ants going both ways carrying crumbs, sometimes 8 or 9 ants were working together underneath the crumb, and you could just see moving pieces of bread and not the ants.

Amazing town called Tivissa

Today we climbed up 1,436 metres and went down 983. I had my photo taken at the summit of the Coll de Fatxes at 507 metres. In the picture you can’t really see that I’m leaning against the pole recovering. Just before the camp, having just climbed up a hill that seemed to go on and on and on, we got to a plateau and rode along with a beautiful backdrop of mountains with fields of new vines in front, it was very pretty.

At the top of Coll de Fatxes – 507 metres

When we got to the camp, YAY a pool! And no ID rigmarole! And open until late! I had a great swim with the best view I have ever had in a pool.

Across from the camp site

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Day 63: Rest day two in Barcelona

Due to the interrupted sleep, and then not getting back to sleep until quite late, I slept in until just before 9. I went down to the lobby to Skype home, unbelievable – not only do you have to squeeze into a very public place to have a conversation but the moment I connected, the hotel cleaner spent 10 minutes vacuuming the lobby!

Anyway that aside, it was great to see Xavier in person. He was happily asleep having just been fed. He looks a lot like his Mum did as a baby, very beautiful. It was good to catch up with Shellbe, Lizzy and Dan as well.

After Skyping, I had breakfast then went out to catch up on sightseeing. This is the biggest city so far I think for this tour. Richard the tour guide who brought us into Barcelona says the population is 4 million! The football stadium seats 99,000. Football is big business here, the city is awash with stores selling football paraphernalia! There were tourists everywhere, in most of the places we have been there are a couple of tourists buses half full, here there are heaps of tourist buses, I saw at least 12 with a huge queue to even get on one.

I started with a visit to the La Sagrade Famila. This church was started in 1882 and is not finished yet, the expected finish date is estimated as 2020! There are 18 towers, and they are big – over 100 metres tall. 12 of the towers represent the 12 apostles, 4 represent the 4 evangelists, 1 represents Mary and the final one is over 170 metres and represents Jesus Christ. There are also lots of smaller towers and on the top of these columns there is fruit, flowers etc. There is also a tree halfway up one wall with flying doves.

La Sagrade Famila

We had a drink at the park across the road by a nice rose garden, which could also be called the mouse garden – while we were sitting there a little mouse came out a couple of times and climbed into a chippy packet. Plus we saw a least another dozen either darting around in the garden or out to under the  tables.

Mouse darting out of the chip packet

We went past a children’s shop called Juguijuga which was close enough to Jiggly (Xavier’s nickname while in Lizzy’s tummy) for me to decide to buy my grandson a gift there. It is a very different thing to buy a present for the real baby rather than the hypothetical one, I got a bit emotional – in a good way – while doing it.

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In a toy shop buying the first present for my grandson since he was born

Next we headed to the Arc de Triomph then to the La Rambla, Spain’s most famous boulevard. The Lonely Planet says there are street artists, vendors and markets selling everything from mice to magnolias, which is correct. The Mercat de la Boqueria (markets) were insanely busy, and not only did we see mice for sale but also hamsters, lizards, turtles, and guinea pigs. The markets had fruits from Thailand, South Africa, North America, and we even saw wine from Australia.

Arc de Triomph

We then went to the old port. We had gotten a good look at the new port coming into Barcelona in the convoy the day before.  We saw the statue in honor of Christopher Columbus called the Mirador de Colón. We looked around the old port and took a couple of photos including the Port of Barcelona Building.

Port of Barcelona building

Then we headed back to the hotel to pack for tomorrow, and I wanted to finish my book and update the blog.

Street performer in Barcelona

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Day 55: Salon-de-Provence to Montpellier – 120k

4,451km down: 1,774km to go

We left the camp site at 7:30 this morning, the day was nice and cool. The first 15k went well, a slight up with a slight tail wind – nice! Then we came around a corner and saw a truck we recognized on its side in the ditch. My immediate thoughts were “I hope no one’s hurt”, quickly followed by “I wonder what will happen with lunch?”. Christano was driving and had moved over as another car was coming towards him. Unfortunately Christano did not see the irrigation ditch next to him as it was covered in grass and looked just like a grassy verge. And would you believe, the oncoming car turned off the road just before him anyway!

Lunch truck in the ditch on way to Montpellier

The first truck out in the morning does the flagging until the lunch stop. The second truck (which carries the cook for dinner) does the flagging of the second half. We rely on the flagging, as well as our written directions. One of the team sometimes writes left when they mean right on the direction board so flagging is a vital part. As well as this, we have our own notes of the names of cities we are passing through. Plus of course we always have the end destination for the day. As the first flagging truck was now out of action, Esther – who was with Christiano in the truck – was sent by bike to do the flags. We are not sure what notes she was flagging but we ended up on a different highway.

Example of the flagging on the way to Montpellier

Whilst I was riding along at one point, there was a great big flock of black birds flying and swooping and soaring. I was watching them and thinking about how wonderful it is with all the intricate manoeuvres and changes of directions that they fly in sync with each other, without crashing and they know when to change directions. I get nervous just following one other rider closely, let alone riding in a peloton! I would probably not make a very good bird.

We stopped and looked at the remains of a roman aqueduct system, and we went past a chateau that my daughter Kelly would love to run events in – the Chateau de Barbegal (wedding and other events centre).

Aqueduct (roman ruins)

Chateau de Barbegal on the way to Montpellier

After we had been past the Roman ruins and the chateau we had to go through a town called St Gillies. We got into town but the flags were obstructed by a steel grille fence. We wandered back and forward but could not see a way round then we noticed that people were squeezing through the barriers and up the street. So we thought “Ok we can do that too”, but we could not fit through with our bikes. So then we saw a gateway, and thought we’d found the way in, so through we went. After about a minute a siren sounded, and the first thing we noticed was the people quickly going back out to the otherside of the barrier – which we can’t because our bikes don’t fit. And then Brett notices (now of all times) that the barrier looks like a stock barrier, not a people barrier! Oh my god do we start to cycle quickly!! We got to another opening and out we went like rats up a drain pipe! Turns out they have the Running of the Bull (note singular) in this village for three days at the end of summer each year. This was of these three days! So we had a lucky escape! In this event there are 6 cowboys and one bull with carpet on his horns but still …. Would not have liked to be caught in the middle of it!

One of the interesting parts of our daily rides is that because we cover quite a lot of ground in a day (average of 100k) we get a great contrast over a day. Today was no exception, we started off with hills, villages perched on the hillsides, through small towns, crazy busy stretches of highway, back roads, gravel tracks, marsh land, small towns, back to crazy intersections, we saw Camargue horses, rivers and canals. Plus we went past the Petite and Grand Rhône.

We rode though an area of marshland for about 25k (later when we looked at the map we had gone just over the top if it) and there were lots of white horses. We found out later they were a breed of horse – a Camargue horse – specific to the Rhone Delta.

Me looking at some of the Camargue horses

Today we had our first introduction to what is known as the Mistral winds that happen throughout the year in the Rhone Delta. It was like being back in Wellington, struggling to get over 10k, which made it a long day. For the first time on the trip jackets are out, and when we walk to dinner the temperature has cooled noticeably.

We are staying at the Kyriad Hotel, yay it has air conditioning and WiFi, plus a laundry nearby (but this can wait until tomorrow). I went to a restaurant with Michele, John and Brett called Le Suite. We all had the special of steak but different deserts. I had the lemon tart (citron pie), it was fantastic. I can understand now why my friends Delwyn and Pat were determined to recreate one when they got back from France last year.

One observation made on the trip is that in general, the drivers over here are pretty good about bikers; the big trucks even give a very small toot just to let you know they are behind you so you don’t suddenly swerve in front of them. The drivers we have the most trouble with are drivers of small white cars. These drivers toot angrily at you as if you could pull over more, then go right into the other lane to pass you. This is followed by other drivers who move out slightly giving you room but pass you within the lane. I will have to see if this is the same at home.

Snails on the way to Montpellier – I wonder if some of the riders who eat snails stopped for lunch in case the lunch truck did not make it out in time?

Edit 06/09/12: Cristiano had to wait about four hours for the right machine to come along to extract the van from the ditch!

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Day 49: Rest day in Genoa

I was looking forward to a sleep-in but hadn’t planned on missing breakfast. Unlike every Hotel we have stayed in the breakfast here ended at 915 instead of 1015, so I ended up going out and having brunch. Every time you go out you have to have a shower when you get back to the hotel and a change of clothes because it’s so hot!

I had planned to have a look around town and catch up with my blog however after brunch I ended up sorting out my bags and then lying down and having a sleep for over three hours! I guess the lack of sleep from the past three nights caught up with me. I did not even get to go and see the house that Christopher Columbus grew up in, until he left for Spain at the age of 14. One of the other riders did though, so I have a photo of it at least.

The early home of Christopher Columbus. For a better photo try here, here, or here.

I must admit that although I still think they are fantastic, I am running out of energy to go and see more castles, churches and walls. This town has walls dating back to the 7th, 9th, 11th, 14th and 17th centuries!

There were a number of cruise ships in the harbour plus there were areas down by the beach that had changing sheds about 5 deep, then rows and rows of umbrellas and deck chairs. The Mediterranean sea looked fantastic.

I went for dinner in the city, I had a very small look around and then sat at an outside table and people watched. I headed back to the hotel for an early night as we have an early start tomorrow, once again to beat the heat.

We are cycling 117k tomorrow, bound to be hills as while walking around the town I noticed that every side is hemmed in by hills. Well, mountain ranges actually.

We are leaving in a convoy for the first 10k, and I have to remember to watch out for scooters when we leave!

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Day 43: Rest day one in Venice

I woke up this morning feeling a bit jaded from the alcohol intake last night. It was a great night though.

We had to change hotels which required a 30 minute boat ride back into Venice. I sat very still and focused on the horizon, and luckily did not get sea sick. This was doubly lucky as I then had to get on a bus for 35 minutes. We caught a bus to Mira where the new hotel is. Our bikes and bags came in the tour trucks but there is no extra space for riders. Once we got to Mira we then had to walk 15 min to the hotel. I am pleased we are not biking today, it is so hot!

I had thought about going back into Venice today, but the place we are saying in – Hotel Villa Alberti – has really lovely gardens, and nobody apart from Jan and Dayna headed back into the city. Mostly people caught up on emails, laundry and read and dozed. Tomorrow the plan is to go in early and get to St Marks Market early before the crowds, and have a look around before the heat sets in. The place we are staying is 350 years old, amazing!

There is a really nice fish restaurant 300 metres down the road that some of the riders checked out for lunch that we are going to go back to for dinner. Then I think it will be early to bed for me.

Venice (Ciran’s Head)

Buildings seen by boat just before the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge

Vapperrato (water taxi) passing us

Rob and Walli on the water taxi

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