Sur la pont d’Avignon… not

A good stay in the IBIS as always.

It stopped raining about half an hour after I arrived and this morning is dry but grey.  I have decided not to go on the autoroute but also am avoiding the mountains.  Google maps is showing a third option, down the nationals and D roads, which pass near to the toll road at a couple of points should I need to speed up… looks like a plan.

With just over 200 miles to go, I leave a little later than usual. After about half an hour, I notice that I seem to be heading towards the mountains… well they are certainly getting closer. I check the route on the garmin and yes it is routing me via the convoluted mountain roads… bugger!

Ok, I don’t have the option of choosing a different route on the gps as I can only change from fastest to shortest and a few options to avoid.  I want the fastest route, but without tolls, which is the route it is giving me now. I decide to use my phone maps and the garmin will eventually reroute itself in line with the google maps route I want.  This works well and eventually the routes align and I go back to using the garmin.

On my wayward travels I come across this town…

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I wonder if there is any connection with the syndrome??  If so, do you think this had anything to do with it?

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There’s a strange mural on one of the cooling towers… I zoom in…

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How odd… as I ride further along the N7 the power station comes into close view, here is the mural in all it’s glory

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Don’t know what that is about.

It begins raining again, so I am glad I put the romper on this morning.  It is that soaking type of rain, huge drops.

This part of France is really beautiful, no wonder so many people decide to move to Provence.

However, it soon passes and the day is beginning to brighten up… hurrah.

I arrive in Avignon and the route bypasses the famous Pont so I ignore the GPS and follow signage towards the bridge.  And here it is

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Not unsurprisingly the Pont is closed to traffic… pretty obvious really as it is ancient and half of it is missing!!  So unfortunately I don’t get to be sur la… the few lines of the song are reverberating around my head for the next hour.

Here’s a photo of the old town walls.

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Riding away from the bridge the GPS is routing me through the centre of the city and the traffic is horrendous. Ok, time to go off piste.  I decide to use the compass and as long as I am heading S/SW it’s tres Bon.  This makes for some interesting roads and my first three point turn this trip.

All this faffing around means I am still 130 miles from my hotel so, as the weather is much better… the sun is actually shining… I decide to join the autoroute.

As you know, I am not a fan of motorways, but I do like to ride fast; this means that I sometimes enjoy a good blatt down a relatively straight road and on a sunny day like today it is a joy.

As I leave the autoroute I have about 30kms to go to the hotel… here is a clip of me arriving in Sainte-Maxime, de Côte d’Azur

 

 

What a great place and full of Harley’s already.  The GPS routes me straight to the hotel.  The woman in reception is very welcoming and helpful.  The hotel doesn’t have its own parking, but I can park in a secure garage a short walk away for just €10 a night.  Once I have unpacked, I move the bike and look for a place to eat… there are loads of restaurants so plenty of choice.

I spot a nice place and see there is Croque-Madam on the menu… don’t know what that is so quick call home.. don’t know so check it out on google.  Aha! It’s Croque-Monsieur with a fried egg on top, mmm think I’ll try that.  Waiter is a bit sniffy and when I ask if they have wifi he says ‘No’ and walks off, not exactly waiter of the month.  I ask for my bill and pay in cash, he gives me a handful of change and when I check it, it’s 50c short… guess that’ll be his tip then.

A quick look for a shop to get a bottle of water and some sweets.. everything except the bars and restaurants are shut, which I am a little surprised about.  Eventually I give up and return to my hotel.  I was expecting the reception to be closed, but she is still there so I ask about a shop. Everything is closed now, 9.30, but she asks me what I wanted.  I say ‘oh just a bottle of water and’, a little reluctantly, ‘some Bon Bons’, to which she laughs and says she can get me some water, a litre bottle for €2.50 and also gives me a handful of sweets from a jar on the counter.  She is very sweet, pun intended, and even though they don’t have a lift, which meant I had to struggle up loads of stairs with my bags, not doing much good for my crap knees, I would definitely stay here again.

All in all a very good day.  Tomorrow up early to wash the bike and get over to Grimaud where the rally is being held; am looking forward to it.

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