France
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

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  • Day2

    Driving, driving, driving

    October 12 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    The car feels like home. We have been listening to music and audiobooks ("Rich dad, Poor dad" today), we have been talking, pointing all the animals (birds, horses, cows, chicken, sheeps etc. especially the small baby ones), beautiful buildings, trees, camper vans, all the cute, pretty and exciting things on the way.
    This is definitely taking more time than we thought, but we have nowhere to hurry to.
    We just had a team call from the car with all the European business partners and that was amazing 😊

    Nos sentimos como en casa en el coche. Estamos escuchando música y audiobooks ("Rich dad, Poor dad" hoy), hemos estado hablando, señalando todos los animales ( pájaros, caballos, vacas, gallinas, ovejas, etc. especialmente los pequeñitos ), casas muy bonitas, árboles con colores, caravanas, todas las cosas bonitas y emocionantes en el camino.
    Está tomando más tiempo de lo que creíamos, pero no tenemos prisa.
    Acabamos de tener una video llamada con nuestros compañeros del negocio y ha sido espectacular.

    Auto tuntuu jo kodilta. Ollaan kuunneltu musiikkia ja äänikirjoja (Rich dad, Poor dad tänään), ollaan juteltu ja osoteltu kaikkia eläimiä (lintuja, hevosia, lehmiä, kanoja, lampaita ym. varsinki pieniä poikasia), kauniita rakennuksia, puita, asuntoautoja, kaikkia söpöjä, nättejä, jännittäviä asioita matkan varrella.
    Tää matka tosiaanki näyttää ottavan enempi aikaa mitä kuviteltiin, mutta ei meillä tarvi mihinkään kiirehtiä.
    Soitettiin just Zoom puhelu autosta muiden Eurooppalaisten bisneskumppaneiden kanssa ja se oli siistiä! 😊
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  • Day1

    1. Stopp in Dole France

    August 4 in France ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Nach 6 1/2 Stunden haben wir unseren 1. Stellplatz erreicht, war in Deutschland doch mehr auf der Autobahn los, als wir gedacht haben.
    Jetzt erst mal etwas Pause machen und dann mal sehen ob wir noch eine Strecke fahren.

  • Day34

    Letzter Stopp - Dole, France

    September 6 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Um 12 Uhr haben wir den idyllischen Waldcampingplatz am Pont du Gard verlassen.

    Für unsere vorletzte Etappe müssen wir 440 km fahren. Heute merkt man den Rückreiseverkehr der Bayern und Baden-Württemberger - die Schulferien gehen zu Ende und somit haben wohl die Letzten die Rückreise angetreten.

    Im großen und ganzen läuft es aber auf der französischen Autobahn ganz flüssig - der teilweise starke Wind ist da eher das Problem!

    Um 17:30 Uhr kommen wir gut in Dole an - genau hier auf dem großen Parkplatz haben wir auch den ersten Halt (Pause) bei unserer Reise gemacht. Heute werden wir hier übernachten, um morgen in aller Frische die letzten 400 km in die Heimat antreten zu können.

    Nach einer schönen Gassirunde machen wir noch einen schönen Spaziergang durch Dole.

    Dole ist wirklich sehenswert und auch einen Zwischenstopp wert. Wer nicht frei auf dem Parkplatz stehen möchte, kann auch den kleinen Campingplatz direkt um die Ecke am Kanal vorbei, benutzen.

    Dole ist die Stadt der Kunst und der Geschichte, Dole bildet eine harmonische Gesamtheit mit ihren Kanälen, ihren alten Häusern und ihrer Stiftskirche die das Ganze überragt. Das historische Zentrum von Dole, besonders bewahrt, steht unter Denkmalschutz. Sehr romantisch, die kleine Promenade welche den Kanal Tanneurs entlanggeht, ermuntert zum Schlendern.
    Es ist in diesem Viertel wo 1822 Louis Pasteur geboren wurde, Entdecker des Tollwut Impfstoff. Das Geburtshaus von Pasteur ist jetzt ein Museum welches das Leben und das wissenschaftliche Werk des berühmten Wissenschaftlers schildert

    Wir waren wirklich von den schönen Kaffees, Gaststätten und den kleinen Gassen und Kanälen beeindruckt.

    Im Womo verbringen wir dann noch einen gemütlichen Video Abend 😎
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  • Day37

    Competent

    June 9 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    In an unbiased self-assessment of our Tub steering and navigation skills we rated ourselves as 'competent' and ready for today's new experiences. Full of breakfast and bravado, we headed towards our first 'up' lock. So far all locks have been 'down' locks i.e. the lock is full of water when we enter and The Tub is gently lowered down to the next level as the water is drained from the lock. All we had to do was keep The Tub steady with a guiding rope at the front and back.

    For the rest of our journey all locks will be the opposite ... we pootle into the empty lock and The Tub will be raised up to the next level as the lock fills. We'd been warned about what to expect in the 'up' locks, especially the movement of the boat as the water surges in to fill the lock. Our Franglish instructions stressed the requirement to secure The Tub in the lock to avoid being whoosed backwards with the surge and then forwards as the water hits the rear lock gate. We were a little nervy as we approached the lock but forgot about the pending surges as we encountered an undisclosed challenge ... how do we secure the ropes to the bollards when they're 8 feet above our heads ?????

    We added 'leaping from the roof of The Tub onto the top of a lock wall' to our rapidly expanding list of skills.

    Once through the lock we turned left, leaving the Canal de Bourgogne and joining the River Yonne where our newly acquired steering competency came to the fore ... there were other boats, currents and bridges across the river with big yellow diamonds indicating which arch we needed to pass under. Pleased to report there were no collisions or close calls.

    After a stint on the river, we bounced back into a deviation canal where Mr FitBody took one of the bikes off The Tub. He scooted along the tow path while the remaining Lemmonds manned (and wo-manned) The Tub. He met us at the next locks so we weren't one deck-hand down for roof-leaping and rope-tying duties.

    We covered a reasonable distance today and got through 7 locks but it was slow-going when we had to wait for locks to operate for the oncoming traffic before it was our turn ... especially the larger locks on the River Yonne. At one lock we had enough waiting time to set up a banquet of snacks and have drinks on the upper deck ... we were happy to wait.
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  • Day40

    The Last Leg

    June 12 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Our final day on The Tub was the easiest and not just because we know what we're doing. We only had one lock to get through on the Canal du Nivernais before turning onto an 'embranchment' canal towards Vermenton. This last canal was quiet and peaceful, back to the sounds of lapping water and birds which we'd been missing on the busier Nivernais canal and River Yonne.

    We tied up at Accolay and gathered all remaining food supplies from the cupboards to cobble together a lunch of sorts. It was hardly a gastronomic delight but it was very colourful and almost all food groups were represented.

    It was then only a short pootle to the port at Vermenton in the afternoon where we demonstrated our excellent Tub driving skills and nailed a perfect parallel park in an almost-not-quite-big-enough space on our first attempt. Pity there wasn't anyone there to act as an independent witness ... you'll just have to trust our account of the event.

    We've loved every aspect of our Tub experience. Sure, we may have preferred to not have had the occasional rain storm or the rather chilly weather but the rain only dampened the deck, not our enjoyment of the adventure. Bonus, we earned an honourary scout badge (self-awarded) for rope tying 😀😀

    After packing up and leaving The Tub in a very clean state, with a few new rub marks and gashes on the bumpers, we dragged our bags around the corner to the train station.

    Next stop: Paris
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  • Day50

    Dijon via Beaune motor museum

    June 30 in France ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    A short ride today as Mandy suggested I popped in to see the motor museum we didn't visit when we came through Beaune in the MG. It was a good suggestion as the museum was huge and I think I was one of very few visitors today. To hot I suspect. I took many photos of the hundreds of motorcycles, fiat abarth cars, fire engines, fighter aircraft, tractors, and the château. You can see all 200 of them if you click this link https://photos.app.goo.gl/S3af81BuJjmiuJ5u9
    Then back on the bike to Dijon which isn't far but by then the heat was stifling. I had a quick rest then came out in the heat to explore. I knew I was close to the centre and the cathedral. Before I entered the cathedral I could hear there was a mass in progress so at first I just peeked inside then set my camera for no flash and went in and down the side of what was a very full church. The mass must have been a special one because there were around fifty priests at the front with standing room only everywhere. Of course it was all in French but I was mesmerised by it all especially when the organ started and everyone started singing. I found it quiet moving. When I came out I noticed at the side a police van with several men dressed in riot gear watching everyone.
    Then I walked into what is a beautiful old city, ending up at the museum of art where I took more photos you can see on this link https://photos.app.goo.gl/4ULhfzKeDkv72xFB7
    I was told Dijon is lovely and I agree. Even the trams are pretty.
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  • Day20

    Trains, Trains and more Trains

    September 9 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Although there is no doubt we had all thoroughly enjoyed our time in Aigues Mortes, after two days of relative inactivity, we were starting to get itchy feet (and I am not referring to the tinea commonly experienced by some other travellers). We actually were ready to resume our cycling. The only problem was that first we had to traverse about 600 km of France to reach Nevers where we were to begin our ride along the Loire River.

    When I was putting this trip together I thought that it would be a good idea to include a couple of day's break between the end of section one and the start of section two. This turned out to be a very wise move as we discovered that it is basically impossible to get out of Aigues Mortes at the week end.

    Although there is a train station at Aigues Mortes, the long grass growing up between the rails is clear evidence that the line is not exactly frequently traversed by trains. In fact we found that the 11:52 am train to Nimes is basically the only option and it only runs on weekdays.

    In order to make our way to Nevers we would have to somehow negotiate a complex sequence of train connections and a glitch in any one of the these connections could have potentially disastrous consequences.

    The long odyssey began with a walking peloton from our hotel to the station. We piled our mountain of luggage in a strategic position and waited for the train to arrive. When it did finally roll into the station, we were horrified to find that it was more like a bus than a train. It only had one carriage and that was already filled with passengers from the previous station.

    We had no choice other than to resort to brute force. Fifteen elderly Ghostriders jammed cases into every available space (mostly in the middle of the single aisle) and then tried to find a place to stand. I spent the next 30 minutes balanced on one leg and trying to avoid falling into the pram that was pressed against my other leg. To make matters worse, the airconditioning was almost non existent and the temperature was soon soaring. It was not a pleasant start to a long journey.

    When we arrived at Nimes we all were exceedingly glad to be free of the train. Since we had a 90 minute gap before the next train was due, we took the opportunity to get something to eat for lunch. The next train would be a first class ride to Dijon. At least we would look forward to reserved seats. The only problem was that, when we reached the platform we were told that the "train was retarded". That was not the news we wanted to hear, especially as we only had a 20 minute break at Dijon before we had to catch the final train to Nevers.

    Our train was indeed retarded and became more so as the trip progressed. Although the scenery was absolutely glorious, I was too stressed to really enjoy it. It was soon obvious that we would have no hope of catching our third connection and I had horrific visions of having to spend the entire night sleeping on the railway platform, surrounded by our luggage. At least the wifi on the train was excellent, easily the best we had experienced in our entire trip so far.

    Of course we arrived at Dijon, just in time to see the train we wanted to catch, disappear into the distance. This could have been catastrophic, but we did discover that there was a second train due to leave in about 40 minutes time. At least it looked like we would be able to reach our hotel, but probably too late for dinner.

    Although it had not gone exactly to plan, we were delighted to discover that the train to Nevers was almost empty. We spread out over an entire carriage and started to misbehave terribly. It had been a very long day in transit and the combination of stress and sugar was starting to make the group act like kids at a red cordial fuelled birthday party. The few remaining locals in the carriage soon departed for other quieter parts of the train.

    We finally rolled into Nevers at about 8 pm. The light was fading and the temperature was dropping as we rolled our cases up the deserted main street to the Best Western Hotel de Diane. I was relieved to find that the hotel reception was still waiting for us and they informed us that we had not missed our dinner after all.

    We were even happier to find that the rooms were amazing - large, clean and comfortable. Best of all was the fact that the dinner was absolutely superb. As each dish was presented to us, we relished every mouthful. The benchmark for dining has now been set at an absurdly high level. It had been quite a day. Tomorrow we will be back on the bikes again.
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  • Day25

    From Geneva to France

    September 30 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Woke up to another beautiful day. Realising we’ve been super lucky with the weather - it’s usually not shorts and singlet weather at this time of the year.

    We started out drive back up France which kinda feels a little like we are on our homeward stretch. Can’t believe we’ve almost been away a month!

    Arriving into Santenay we stayed at a lovely sunny campsite right next to the vineyards. Glass of Rose (Bel we thought of you!) whilst the boys played football - couldn’t have been a better more relaxing night.
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  • Day21

    On the Road Again

    September 10 in France ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    After our three days of relative inactivity (actually disorganised mayhem), it was time to resume our cycling. After all, that was why we had come all this way to the far side of the planet.

    Before we could start riding we first had to get bikes. That is sort of a basic fact of the universe. But there was a problem, There often is. I received a phone call informing me that the man who was bringing the bikes from Blois was stuck in thick traffic and would be "retarded by at least an hour". We would have to adapt Plan B.

    We had read that there was an amazing market in Nevers that was really worth seeing. A little further research showed that it was apparently close to our hotel. I therefore suggested to our riders that they might like to have a look at the market first, and then get the bikes later. Before I had finished my sentence, the women were already out the door looking for the market and an opportunity to spend money.

    About 45 minutes later I thought I might as well have a look as well. The bikes still had not arrived and the hotel foyer was getting a little boring. I had not walked far when I found Carol and Sam walking back towards me. They were devastated. They had not been able to find the market. Obviously life can not get much wore than this. On further investigation, I found that they had actually walked right past the front door. I had to admit that it was a little underwhelming as it was only a food market and most of the stalls were still locked. There were none of those exciting stalls where women could buy Chinese knock offs at inflated prices. What a letdown.

    The big bike delivery van finally arrived about 10 am and the driver slowly and carefully unloaded all 16 bikes. He did not want help as he wanted to do it his way. About 30 minutes later the bikes were unloaded and then began the familiar process of each rider finding their allocated bike and assessing its suitability. I had been in this position many times before and always find it stressful.

    "My bike's too big", "My bike's too small", "Mine is the wrong colour for my shirt", "I won't ride a ladies bike", "I didn't know we had to ride bikes", "My handlebars are too pointy", "My seat's all funny", "My bottom is hurting already", "How do you change gears ?", "What are gears for anyway ?", "I don't want a pannier", "I want more panniers", "I want lunch".

    It went on and on. It's not easy trying to set up 16 elderly citizens with walking frames, let alone with bicycles. After every single bike was adjusted, poked, asssessed and decorated with ribbons, we were finally ready to go.

    Our peloton slowly wobbled down the main street, watched by numerous bemused locals. We somehow made it to the old city without too much incident, but then stumbled into a complicated sequence of staircases. We had to manhandle all the bikes down the stairs, at times coming close to destroying a couple of the ebikes. It was not an an auspicious start to the ride.

    We finally left the city by crossing the bridge over the Loire. We were on our way at last. Actually we were on the wrong way. I had made a small error of navigation and was leading the group in the opposite direction. I quickly realised my error, the group U turned and we found the correct route.

    What followed next was a beautiful bike path, right alongside a shady canal. This was just the type of riding that we all adored. It was what we needed to settle our nerves after the stress of the morning. You can imagine my joy when I spied a lovely cafe, right on the bank of the canal.

    "This looks like a suitable coffee stop", I yelled.
    "But we have only been riding for 10 minutes", someone commented.
    "We have no idea when the next opportunity will be", I countered.

    Since no one could fault my logic, we all parked the bikes. Actually we spread them all over the precinct in a random array of unlocked vehicles. Arie was no longer here to dictate that all be parked in a precise line with locks and chains galore. We just needed coffee.

    It was now after 12 noon and I think that everyone was happy to sit and enjoy the surroundings. We also took a new group photo to immortalise the occasion. Our adventure on the Loire was now officially underway.

    We never did find another place to buy our baguette lunch. Well actually we did, but they had none left. We rode the remaining 45km on empty stomachs. Fortunately the scenery was absolutely superb - a never ending sequence of canals, locks, tiny flowered villages and quiet bike paths.

    The highlight was the Pont de Canal, an amazing sight which allows the Canal of the Loire to cross the Allier River. It would even have been more amazing to see a barge crossing the Pont, but the canal was deserted. The huge lock at the end had gates which must have been 10 metres high and they were decorated with colourful flowers. From the side, the structure almost looked like the huge Roman Pont du Gard, that we had ridden past in Provence. In nature it would be highly unusual to see two rivers crossing each other !

    By the late afternoon a steady head wind had developed. It was nowhere near as strong as the Mistral we had endured in Provence, but on empty stomachs it was a challenge. Our first view of Charite Sur Loire was a memorable one, cameras were produced and pictures were taken.

    The final kilometre to our hotel involved a long walking peloton through the ancient town. Our hotel was the quaint "Thousand and One Books" hotel. Every inch of the place had been decorated in a literary theme. The staircases were about 30 cm wide and there was no lift. It was going to be the pitstop for the first day of our Loire Ride.

    Our evening meal was at the restaurant attached to the hotel, so we did not have to walk far. Once again the food was glorious. It had been the first time most of us had eaten since breakfast in Nevers.
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  • Day35

    Novices

    June 7 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After 10 minutes of instruction from the boat company representative we signed for the keys to 'Celeste', a 14m long floating tub with a dodgy steering system. The rep went with us from the port at Saint Florentin to the first canal lock to help us get accustomed to the boat .... a distance of approximately 100m. It's amazing how much desperate learning you can cram into 100m but there's a heck of a lot that you don't know if, like us, you've never been in control of a canal boat. Perhaps the word 'control' gives the wrong impression at this stage of our journey.

    Armed with maps and manuals in three languages we waved goodbye to the boat rep mid-afternoon and set off on our own down the Canal de Bourgogne. We had the canal to ourselves which was a very good thing as we tried to get the hang of keeping a giant bath tub travelling in the direction we wanted it to go. It was very easy to over-correct when The Tub started to wander off-track and we had a hilarious stretch of slow-mo chicaning and drift sliding down the canal, at one point almost ending in the opposite direction to where we should have been. The lock-keepers must have been laughing themselves silly as The Tub weaved it's way into the locks, bouncing off the walls on both sides with the extremely inexperienced crew getting themselves tangled in the ropes.

    When we weren't giggling at our own ineptitude or making unhelpful navigation suggestions, we were slowly wobbling down the canal to the sound of birds and lapping water. We didn't go very far on our first outing ... just through a couple of locks until we found a nice spot to tie up and start tucking into our pre-delivered supplies. This is going to be a very relaxing part of our holiday ... just as long as there are no icebergs to run into Titanic-style.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, Borgogna-Franca Contea

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