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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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  • Day14

    Vallabregues Loop Ride

    September 3, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    I awoke this morning to a quite astounding sight. At first I thought that I must have been delirious, but the image persisted, even after I opened and closed my eyes several times. Over the first few days of the cruise I had been used to being the first one to climb the stairs and reach the lounge room. Over the next hour or so I am gradually joined by a sleepy assortment of other Ghostriders as they are attracted by the prospect of breakfast.

    There is one person that I NEVER would have expected to be in the lounge before me. Carol has already established herself as the undisputed sleeping champion. She has perfected the art of falling asleep in seconds and at every available opportunity. And yet, here she was, the very first person awake. My reputation was in tatters.

    After the hot and windy ride of the previous day, we were pleased to be looking forward to a more modest day today. After an initial sail to Vallabegues, we unloaded the bikes and then rode back along the river bank to Aramon. Our first stop of the day was at the lovely village of Barbentane. When I spied a shop selling "Delices", I just had to see what these delices actually were. A short time later I was sitting under a shady tree, drinking coffee and eating my very first vanilla slice of the trip so far. Life really can be good some times.

    We then began a sustained climb up to the extensive Abbaye Saint Michel de Frigolet. The morning cool had been replaced with hot sunshine and I could feel it burning my face as I slowly worked my up to the summit. I discovered that the abbaye contained a cafe and decided to order a proper lunch instead of eating the sandwich that was squashed in my pannier. It was a wise decision and the French fries were glorious.

    We then enjoyed an exhilerating descent to the medieval village of Boulbon. Maggie and I climbed up part way to the castle to look down on the town, but the heat was becoming oppressive and we decided to return and rest in the shade instead. The centre of the town was dominated by a large cafe/bar. It was an ideal place to relax while some of the others joined a guided tour of the old city.

    The final section of the ride was assisted by a gentle tail wind and it was a welcome contrast to the challenging conditions of the previous day. Around 5 pm we were back at the Estello. In most respects it had been the best day so far.
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  • Day36

    Salt and sweat

    July 22, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    With Scot out of action due to the possible bug going around Nick, Megs and I headed to Cassis for a beach day. Arriving in Cassis we treated ourselves to a nice gelato! We then had a long walk to get to got first beach and thought it couldn't get any better swimming in beautiful blue waters and jumping off the rocks. We then hiked up and down a mountain on the more difficult path walking on slippery rocks. I thought I was going to turn into puddle of sweat! But we made it and it was a beautiful spot. There was also a cute well behaved dog practicing his moves. We then hiked it back up and down the mountain back into town for some dinner. We then realised that the busses up to the train station finish at 8 15 and it was 8 30! So we attempted to get an Uber or taxi however failed. Exhausted we hiked up another big hill turning a 45min walk into a 30min one just so we could make the train. Big day!Read more

  • Day17

    Studentenstadt Aix-en-Provence

    September 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Aix-en-Provence ist eine kleine, aber sehr schöne Studentenstadt. Rund 40.000 der 140.000 Einwohner sind Studenten, weshalb die Stadt trotz ihrer überschaubaren Größe einiges an Cafés und Bars zu bieten hat 🍻🙌 Untergekommen sind wir mitten in der Altstadt bei Valentin, einem super entspannten Masterstudenten, mit einem wunderschönen Balkon ❤️Read more

  • 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

  • Day2

    Camperparadies Camargue

    July 30 in France ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Um 11:30 Uhr sind wir auf dem Campingplatz losgekommen und einigermaßen gut durchgekommen.
    Um Lyon gab es etwas Stau, aber wir sind ja im Urlaub 😎

    18:30 Uhr sind wir dann an unserem Ziel mitten in der Camargue angekommen.
    Einfach ein Traum!
    Wir stehen direkt am Strand - nur Sand, Dünen, Sonne und Meer - wir lieben es.

    Parken ist hier erlaubt - Campen nicht.
    Naja jetzt schauen wir mal ob sie uns heute Nacht in Ruhe lassen, oder ob wir doch noch weg müssen 😉
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  • Day100

    Étang de Berre

    December 17, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Gestern Morgen haben wir unseren Platz an der Durance verlassen und sind weiter Richtung Mittelmeerküste gefahren. An der Étang de Berre einer Meeresbucht in der Provence 
    etwas nordwestlich von Marseille haben wir einen schönen, von Natur umgebenen Platz gefunden.

    Vor einigen Tagen haben wir abends durch Zufall entdeckt, dass die Wände unseres Hochdachs nass sind. Als wir uns die Sache am nächsten Morgen genauer ansahen, mussten wir zu unserem Bedauern feststellen, dass das Dach unseres Rubi's undicht ist.

    Kurzerhand entfernten wir einen großen Teil der Dämmung und mussten feststellen, dass sich die Nässe bereits über eine große Fläche unseres Aufbaus erstreckt. Im Baumarkt besorgten wir uns gestern ein Isolierband und beklebten unseren Rubi großzügig, da wir aktuell nicht wissen wo genau die Nässe eindringt und ob es sich um ein bzw. mehrere undichte Stellen handelt (spätestens beim nächsten Niederschlag wissen wir ob die richtigen Stellen abgedichtet sind 😂).
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  • Day43

    Last day on the ship

    March 25 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Morgen endet meine geplante Reise von 56 Tagen nach 43 Tagen.
    Die Pauschalreisenden sind immer noch in 30er Gruppen am ausschiffen und werden dann in Bussen 🚌 nach ganz Europa verteilt. Herrscht ein schreckliches Chaos.
    Ich werde morgen mit dem Taxi zum Flughafen gebracht und fliege über Paris nach Zürich. So der Plan, bin verhalten optimistisch 😅
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  • Day27

    Cassis, Calanques und Klippen

    September 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Heute habe ich den besten Ausflug erwischt, den Marseille zu bieten hat. Zuerst ging es in das idyllische Fischerörtchen Cassis. Anschließend ging es mit einem Privatboot an einer zerklüfteten Felslandschaft der Calanques-Buchten entlang und an einer einsamen Bucht gab es die erfrischende Gelegenheit in das türkis schimmernde und glasklare Wasser zu hüpfen. Ein Träumchen. 😎Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Département des Bouches-du-Rhône, Departement des Bouches-du-Rhone, Bouches-du-Rhône, Bocas del Ródano, Bocche del Rodano, Bocas do Ródano

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