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Skiing in retirement
28th Apr 2016 - 8th May 2016 - Iberia & France by bike 2016
In the South

From Prades to Avignon via Montpelier

Having made it to Prades, the obvious direction was north towards the Canal du Midi. This meant avoiding Carcassone, but taking in the delights of the southern edge of the Corbieres. First stage saw us as far as the village of Tuchan where we overnighted in a wooden cabin, before the next days ride to within touching distance of the canal.

Here we had the option of attending an evening of Orleans jazz, with convivialite, or heading into the nearest town for something else. Our host at the chambres took pity and offered to drive us the 3km, but we opted to bike it instead and found ourselves an Asian-style eaterie that at least made a change from our usual fare. And then to the Canal. Renewing our aquaintance with the route it was a bit of a shock to see quite extensive felling of canal-side trees - apparently to avoid spread of a disease that is killing them off: comes to the same thing, seemingly.

Not for the first time the next few days were determined more by the weather forecast than the actual weather. Fearing the promised adverse wind and rain we spent 2 days encamped in a not very propitious site near Beziers before contacting Craig and Valerie to accept their invitation to arrive in Montpelier 2 days early. This was sufficient prompt for the weather to ameliorate as we completed the Canal route, passing through Agde and Sete to spend a pleasant night in camp near the Med, where our pitch was invaded by a couple of German cyclists who arrived late and left early. To avoid paying site fees, perhaps?

And so via the etangs to meet C & V for a light fish lunch at Palavas before retiring to the comfort of their apartment in Montpelier. Time then to catch up, relax, enjoy splendid foods, wines and hospitality for 5 days. Time also to spectate the annual Festival International de Sports Extreme (?) or FISS that involved les jeunes on various wheeled contraptions going up and down ramps, accompanied by music of a certain sort.

We had made arrangements to spend a night with the Galinys, Carole and Daniel, parents of Laureline, at their home in Remoulins. This being 60km from Montpelier we were happy to accept C&Vs further kindness in driving us and our bikes the distance. Despite the passing of 14 years or so, we picked up easily with the Galinys, updating on news of families, re-visiting the Pont du Gard before setting out the next day to ride the 25 km to Avignon gare TGV to greet Andy and Nicky who arrived fresh and eager with folding bikes to join us on the next stage: through the gorges and cols of the Ardeche and Lot as far as Figeac



Next: Gorges of southern France
Previous: Up and over the Pyrenees


Diary Photos
28th Apr 2016  Celebrating news of Harriet's job.
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28th Apr 2016  Corbieres
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28th Apr 2016  Corbieres
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29th Apr 2016  Solidarit√©
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30th Apr 2016  Chambres in Corbieres.
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30th Apr 2016  Our old friend the Canal du Midi. On other stretches many of the old plane trees had been felled.
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30th Apr 2016  Waiting for the menu to appear
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3rd May 2016  Lost in the etangs
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3rd May 2016  No idea what this means.......you are welcome to cycle here?
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5th May 2016  At home with the Smiths
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5th May 2016  In Montpellier Debs tried her hand at Xtreme cycle touring, but lost her panniers in the process
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5th May 2016  Montpelier, view of le FISS
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8th May 2016  Carole & Daniel
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