Travel-blog45

The Atlantic to the Mediterranean

The next part of our journey begins at Lormont, Bordeaux, where we meet up with 13 Brits with almost all older than us and 1 Ozzie to join forces on a venture biking from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. A great trip was embarked on as they stumbled off their luxury bus at 7am to join us for breakfast. Expectations were high for a sun drenched trip in the glorious warmth of southern France. In the blurry haze of the early morning having shared burps, farts and snores for the last 20 hours the Brits gathered in the cool drizzle. We were off and the kiwis hung on grimly making out that they were happy to keep the back markers company when in reality we were keen to just hang on to any wheel we could. Aussie Davo was off out the front looking for some real hills with Sheldon and a few others to keep him company.

A great journey began with many fond memories and stories. The question is asked – is it a greater crime to be called a towel thief or to simply share one with an aging male of dodgy repute. Perhaps Peter has the answer?

Loaded with caffeine from breakfast at The cellubrious Premier Class Hotel in Lomont Bordeaux the crew are busting the first pit stop. 15 males trying to work out how to share 7 trees and Louise wondering 'well -where do i go'?

Louise turning her back on the chance to go swimming at the Atlantic in the Arcachon Harbour. Can't understand why. Beautiful harbour and seaside a bit bigger in area than the Manukau.

Some of the amazing sea food on display at Arcachon including bloody big crayfish.

The Anzacs coming together with Melbourne Dave (Davo) and Louise about to storm up Europes largest sand dune.

On top of Europe's tallest sand dunes just south of Arcachon looking out over the Atlantic. Great spot great view.

Another shot from the top looking out over the bar to the Atlantic

Briefly we were biking along a canal that runs all the way from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean

Hey Bob - this Kiwis thinking we could get 16 bikes on a canal oat like this and simply cruise to the med in style.

Church from the outside - the norm for many quite small Villages.

Impressive church somewhere in France

Another spiritual moment

One of the many cool places Bob organised for us to stay at along the way. Serignac I think.

A roof with a twist.

The river that flows through the middle of Castre. Pretty cool with doors in houses right at water level. Guess it was built before global warming was too much in the news.

Here's one of the many churches we have popped into. Communities over here could build some amazing stuff when they put their mind to it.

Louise & Dave checking out the central square in Castres. It was pretty deserted as everyone had gone up to Paris to support their rugby team beating Toulon with Johnny Wilkinson in the French Super 14 final.

Joe putting the pace on hearing the news that lunch is just around the corner

Doing it tough for lunch with dessert to follow after a cool morning ride up the beautiful Agout river. Mike following the theory that the French live longer because whenever they have red meat it is always with red wine.

After lunch we did a brief tour of Brassac to take in some of the sights.

Agout river looking downstream from Brassac

Agout river looking upstream from Brassac

Brassac old style bridge

Does France still have big hungry wild bears? At least there are a few good sized tres to get lost in.

Just another shitty view on life. Quite cool howthe French have mixed up patches of conifers with oaks etc for semi commercial forestry.

Lakes, tracks, hills, deer, pigs and trout - what more could a kiwi want? Perhaps just the sea. But in case you are Sheldon - hey we will even throw in some giant carp.

Cool scenery as we descend before yet another climb.

Frankly where the far kiwi? Not exactly sure but there's lots of big valleys, we're pretty high up and it is somewhere in France.

Tour leader Bob Norton and able assistant and nav man, Frank Weire relaxing after our highest Col. We have collapsed somewhere on the ground nearby. It was appropriate that we renamed kiwi from Were to Frankly We're.

After days of the English crew doubting if the bus had made it across the channel we come off the hills, the sun is shining and heres proof of the temperature above double figures.

The crew enjoying a meal at lamelou where apparently all old bastards go to recover.

Louise not so enjoying ABC. This has morphed from Another Bloody Chateau to Another Bloody Climb.

Dave enjoying a descent taking time out at a switch back to admire where we've been.

Louise walking past the Abbey at St Guilhem which is a beautiful Village even by French standards. Pics don't do it justice so you will have to come see it for yourself.

Kiwi also enjoying the Village stroll.

Kiwi wondering how they do that - have a close look with building merging into cliff.

Frank Were, John Beer, Frankly Were and Norman here enjoying a beer St Guilhem.

Tour leader Bob & Louise taking in the village of St Guilhem.

Another scenic view close to St Guilhem where the Henault river comes out of the gorge.

Enjoying the beautiful scenery by the Henault river but not going in for a swim as this kiwi knows that it is Frankly F...ing Freezing with the water coming down a narrow gorge from high in the mountains.

Some idiot too dumb to know that

Spot the anxious kiwi aboard this giant French dragonfly.

Spot the unlucky kiwi in the giant spiders web. How did he get there? Kiwis can't fly?

Spot the very anxious kiwi wishing he was back in Godzone.

We make it to the Mediterranean Sea but only 1 idiot jumps in.

Dragging the chain after piking on the last leg Frankly Were finally makes it to the med. we are yet to get to the bottom of the story and can't believe that he bailed in Aniane because of the hot bitch at the hotel. (French bull dog). She was ugly - come on Frankly Were - you can do better than that.

Whole crew make it to the Med gathered around Frankly Were the far kiwi.

Mike from Northern England can't believe it - the warmth - there are no icebergs in sight unlike Newcastle in mid summer.

Roberts with Mike

Request from Spider to include some shots like this. French chick stripping off at the Med.

The end of our trip with the Brits and Davo requires a footnote with the picture below. Just Louise and myslf returned to Aniane a few days later to the same hotel. We were able to check hotel security video footage to uncover the full story of Frankly Were the far kiwis disappearance. We had to apologise to Kiwi as he had no intention of hanging out with zee ugly French bitch. She had pounced on Frankly Were and grabbed him from on top of the bike just before we set off. She had dragged him into the lounge and was about to eat him when kiwi kicked into gear with a massive karate kick and his famous call. The startled French Bulldog bitch momentarily released her grip. This gave Kiwi the chance he was looking for with a dash under he couch.

He missed the ride with us but after the bulldog went to sleep he was able to make a mad dash to the hotel entrance and look appealing to the next cycle crew who were about o take off. Fortunately they recognised the situation and gave him a lift.

End of the Med part

Zee ugly French Bulldog bitch caught on security video footage before Frankly Were manufactures a miraculous escape and finds his own way to the Mediterranean.

Check out the joker (ess), hanging off the balcony at the Hotel de Comedie just 50m from the central square at Montpellier with sounds of buskers floating by.

Is this the future of downtown Auckland? The old and the new combine in the centre of Montpellier with a population of just 300,000.

Note hot chick to the left in central square Montpellier in the quiet of late morning

Enjoying the view from the summit of Montpellier

End of June 3rd update