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  • Day15

    Les Carrieres de Lumieres

    September 4, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    We always expected that today was going to be a hard day at the office, and that is exactly how it turned out to be. Ever since we arrived in Provence about 12 days ago, we have been subjected to an unbroken run of hot weather. Considering we had arrived directly from the middle of a cold Melbourne winter, the weather has certainly been our biggest challenge.

    To make matters even worse, the forecast keeps changing every day. After our hot stay in Caumont Sur Durance, we were led to believe that the hot weather would cease as soon as we begun the bike and boat section. It didn't. In fact the sequence keeps being extended every time we read a new forecast. It is now appearing that we will not get any real relief until we travel up to Nevers next Monday.

    Today's ride was not only going to be the longest day so far, but it also had the toughest climb of the entire week. Our cycling guide had tried to encourage us by telling us that he once had a 92 year old complete the climb, however he failed to mention what sort of weather conditions the cycling Methuselah had completed his epic ride in. He also did not say exactly how long it took them,

    Of course, before we reached the climb we stopped at the town of St Remy de Provence. To our delight, we arrived right in the middle of an enormous market. The women in particular squealed with delight at the prospect of being able to buy even more stuff that they didn't need. I bought a leather belt for 5 Euro. The vendor truthfully told me that it "was not made in France". "Ce n'est pas possible" he explained.

    The market spread out over a huge area, and we never did manage to fully explore it. I managed to lose Maggie in the first 3 minutes, but I was happy to find an ice cream seller and a fruit vendor selling punnets of wonderful raspberries and blackberries. That meant that lunch was taken care of.

    Although it was only shortly after noon, the sun was already beating down relentlessly and the temperature was soaring back into the 30s. I should also be honest in pointing out that I am not a climber. In fact I am not precisely sure of exactly what I am, but climbing does not come naturally for me. It may be due to the fact that I am a rolly polly sort of guy who has to work about 60% harder that the tiny fly weight riders like Russell, Vicki and Kay.

    As we began the much anticipated climb I could feel the sun beating on my face. I slid the gear selector down to the lowest ratio and hoped I could find some lower ones. The sweat started flowing and my breath started huffing. I tried not to look at the road ahead and to just keep the pedals turning.

    I thought I was doing all right until a tiny shadow flew past on my left. At first I thought that it might have been just a speck on my glasses or a little dragonfly, but that would not have explained where the singing was coming from. It turned out to be Russell - apparently a tiny puff of wind had collected him and blown him straight to the top of the mountain,

    At the half way point the group assembled to decide whether or not to take the option of a lift to the summit. I am sure that several were sorely tempted, but the Ghostriders are built of exceptional stuff and the entire group decided to keep pedalling. The expectant van driver had to leave without a single fare. We later were told by the guide that this was the first time that had happened.

    About a kilometre further on I became aware that my nose had started bleeding. This is something that I have suffered intermittently from for over 40 years, but the timing could not have been worse. I had no choice but to pull over and wait for the bleeding to stop. The rest of the group left me haemorrhaging and continued their slow grind to the top.

    I won't labour over the rest of the details of the climb, suffice to say that I did finally make the top. The crest of the mountain is marked by the medieval village of Les Beaux de Provence. This has now become a huge tourist mecca, complete with a succession of tour buses and thousands of tourists. Not exactly my type of place.

    The main reason we had chosen to ride to this spot was not to see the thousands of tourists cramming in the village, but to experience Les Carrieres de Lumieres. This is an amazing sound and light display that has been set up in an unused Bauxite mine. I was just glad that it was cool inside. I took a seat and pressed my back against the cold rock. It turned out to be a bad idea. The sudden change of temperature caused my back to spasm and left me in agony. It took all my resolve to hobble to the cafetaria to get a coffee (actually two). The young assistant took pity on me and filled my drink bottle with ice and water. There are some advantages to looking about 92 years of age after all.

    We still had a long and hot ride of around 30 km to get to our boat at Arles. The final few km through the busy centre of the city were particularly stressful. By the time we arrived, we were all exhausted and spent the first twenty minutes rehydrating and trying to recover from the heat. Fortunately the evening meal was easily the best of the cruise so far. That was a popular end to a very tiring day.
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  • Day21

    Arles - Eine Reise in die Vergangenheit

    September 23, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Wer dachte Avignon wäre schön, hat Arles noch nicht gesehen❤️! Untergekommen sind wir in einem historischen Wohnviertel bei Zoe, die wie sie uns eben beim Abendessen erzählt hat, selbst mit 22 Jahren für drei Jahre und acht Monate, um die Welt gereist ist und das ohne Internet und Kreditkarte - wirklich beeindruckend!!! Ihr Haus ist aus dem 17. Jahrhundert, super klein, verwinkelt und einfach zum Wohlfühlen... Hier wären wir wirklich gerne länger geblieben, aber morgen geht es weiter nach Nimes :)Read more

  • Day106


    December 23, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Die letzten beiden Tage verbrachten wir auf einem, direkt am Ufer der Rhone gelegenen, Stellplatz in der Stadt Arles. Bei ausgedehnten Spaziergängen erkundeten wir die Stadt und unsere Umgebung. Besonders schön fanden wir die Altstadt, die mit ihren unzähligen verwinkelten Gassen und kleinen Geschäften eine wunderbar angenehme Atmosphäre ausstrahlt und zum verweilen einlädt.

    Nach unserem "Weihnachtseinkauf" ging es heute morgen weiter in die Camargue.
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  • Day15

    Rondje Camargue

    August 10, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Vandaag zijn we de auto ingestapt en hebben we weer een stukje Camargue gezien! Natuurlijk ook vele vogels gezien, vooral bijzonder op de foto's te zien de bijeneter en de waarschijnlijk in Marokko geringde Audouins meeuw. Deze meeuw is zeldzaam in de omgeving en ook een nieuwe soort voor op de lijst, waar we uiteraard weer erg blij mee zijn, waarneming van de vakantie!!Read more

  • Day285

    Salin de Giraud

    January 3, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    Well we had a beautiful day, Sun was shining almost no wind and nothing else to do so we decided to revisit Salin de Giraud. As this was a planned excursion we remembered the iPad for photos as well as some snacks and water.
    We rode up along the east bank of the Rhône to Barcarin, where the ferry is spotting a bird of prey on the way, it might have been a buzzard. We arrived just in time to hop straight on and across we went, the river was definitely in a much calmer and more relaxed state than the first time, but we’ve had no real rain for a few weeks so that makes sense. Once across we headed back down towards the sea not quite on the West bank of the river as the tow path there was a bit bumpy for our not mountain bikes but initially we were on a new cycle lane but this did disappear. On the way down we saw another bird of prey, and stopped at an artificially raised viewing platform to see the salt flats and salt mountain. The info boards told that this salt was used for the roads so wasn’t refined very much. Then onwards to the beach, this one also had a lifeguard station also only open for the two summer months. The beach was very long and apart from the lifeguard station the only features were the wooden teepees that visitors had built out of drift wood. There seemed to be a lot less rubbish perhaps this is because the prevailing wind carries the river rubbish east to Port St Louis’s beach. We stopped for a snack and to watch a family have fun extricating their people carrier from the sand, then back up to Salin for a hot chocolate. The cafe/bar/restaurant is a bit odd it is one big room with a really high ceiling a section that is the ‘restaurant’ a bar on one wall and random decor, photo on next post.John said it reminded him of a church hall or old fashioned community hall. Near the ferry we met a ram with enormous horns and saw two more birds of prey, maybe the same ones again who knows.
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  • Day444

    Arles - without the boat

    June 10, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We had been told the Roman ruins and walled nature of the old town made Arles worth a visit. We had hoped initially to visit it by cycling, back when we were based in Port Saint Louis, but the timing was never right and then we hoped to stop there with Take Five as our first Rhône mooring but we weren’t allowed to moor along side the Peniche restaurant, a barge boat, due to Covid restrictions so we took a train.
    The old walled town is very picturesque and large sections of the walls remain but they no longer ring the town as they do here in Avignon and did in Aigues Mortes. Not all of the tourist sites were open due to Covid but we did visit the Roman Theatre and the Roman Amphitheater. Both are used today so certain adaptations and restorations have been made. I think if we hadn’t already visited numerous examples of both we would have been more impressed. From the exterior the Amphitheater looks great but inside there is a lot of tiered metal seating and the interior circle is wood lined for the bull fights regularly held there. We were told no bulls are killed but who knows. We both ate delicious galettes for lunch to pretend we were in northern rather than southern France.
    Tomorrow we have decided to move on probably not far hopefully to Rochemaure for a wine tour about the Côte du Rhône appellation which originated there.
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  • Day17

    Heading to Sud de France

    June 13, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    A long drive made longer in Nimes due to an hour standstill on the motorway due to a multi- lorry crash. Looked very bad.
    Then to Arles - Van Gogh's hang out and where he painted around 300 works. A beautiful old town on the Rhone. Lovely to wander the streets. Also home of the ancient Roman Amphitheatre and bull fighting - they still do this.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Arles, Arlet, آرل, Горад Арль, Арл, Arle, Αρλ, Arlés, ارل, ארל, アルル, არლი, 아를, Arelate, Arlis, Arla, Арль, 阿爾勒

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