“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Monday, 24 July 2017

Albi to Luchon

The view of our village, Mauriac from about 1km away.  There was a chateau but we never got to it as it was only open from 3-6 which were TdF hours.

These wine makers were literally 20 m from our super fantastic gite.  We didn't really realise how lucky we were ...until we arrived in Luchon!

The incredible Millau aqueduct was a day's outing and a rest from cycling for us.

We used the  supermarket car park located laundrettes during our stay  near Mont Ventoux and also here at Luchon.

I adored this unusual re-purposing of sewing machines!

First ride from our minuscule apartment in Luchon was to St Bertrand de Comminges Castle...I was there about 7 years ago...

on the way to St B de C's castle  I passed this sign

the only good thing about our apartment here.  The blurb says it can sleep 6..could do I guess if  all were children.  The internet is non existent.  There IS a dish washer and she has left us with 1 dish washer cube thing!!  1...I kid you not.  There is a dribble of dish washing liquid but no tea towel.  There is 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper.  There are indeed 2 bedrooms but you have to walk through 1 to get to the main one.  We have had a similar experience with an apartment in Canazei, which  like this one are pretty well the same price as the truly excellent ones we've been in before.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Avignon, Pont du Gard and Albi

Sur le pont d'Avignon etc.  
Since we were almost there, it was a no brainer that we had to visit Avignon but I'd have to say I was disappointed.  I'm not sure if it was the after the party effect of Bastille Day..the French national day, but the place was a mess.  Apart from rather a lot of people sleeping on the streets at 10am,  there were swathes of posters  hanging everywhere which sadly looked downright messy and spoilt the ambience of the old city.
We were on our transfer day and so opted not to spend time actually walking onto the bridge and the ramparts.  

 This was just an example of the posters everywhere.  I opted not to take too many pix

I loved this though...bollards guarding the pedestrian precinct which dropped down into the pavement when you swiped your card...and is that a "biscuiterie" I've inadvertently caught  on the side of the pix??

So then it was off to the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct from ??46-60AD.  Well worth a trip but we were sad and somewhat amazed to discover that as individual visitors our only chance of walking the top part of the bridge was at 3pm or 4pm.

We then set off to Albi, deciding to go the motorway route.  After getting rather tired half way there I stopped at a services to load up on caffeine.  On returning to the route we discovered a very long and very slow tail back. A quick look at the map and we were off onto the scenic route.  We later discovered the delay was at least 90 minutes!

We have been having alot of trouble with our car's GPS unit as it has been sending us off on ridiculous and totally unwarranted short cuts and directing us to drive down dead end roads, so we had a bit of trouble finding our gite in Mauriac, a tiny hamlet 20km outside of Albi.

Eventually we found it and WOW!

 The entrance  and where we keep our bikes
 stone and wood abound

modernised ++ but with the old beams  still in situ...

our drive into Albi took us past this fantastic example of re-purposing!
This well is on the TT course...
I hope I'm not going to be stopping by it again!

Friday, 14 July 2017

France..Avignon first stop

Or at least that was the plan, but where I'd booked was miles from any where and so we bailed, ending up in Malaucene, at the base of Mont Ventoux.

??!! outside where we were to have stayed

book case with a difference

at Gap..Alex had to stop in the middle of the street to allow me to take this pix out the car window!

no idea where this was..too much climbing has caused brain fade
 onto Ventoux..took me 2 goes but I got there!

 Sadly  it was the same day as the 50th Anniversary of Tom Simpson's death.  Sadly and selfishly because I didn't want to stop/put my foot down but with  this crowd in the way I had no choice.

I never saw the memorial as it was swarmed with Brits. However I did see quite alot of people stopped gasping by the side of the road and/or walking their bike up and rather sadly up the last really steep bit I had the misfortune to be behind someone in riding shorts rather than bibnix and whose shorts were too small causing an unedifying hairy bum vista for me.  He was using toe clips and luckily for me his foot shot off the pedal causing him to stop...the rest of the final heave was a much better sight!!

These public toilets were a bit of a surprise..luckily I had changed out of bike shoes!


Enough with the cycling..we need a bit of culture..where to go...Padova..it's only 50km away and there's even a velodrome there although closed to the public most times it seems.

We arrived...we couldn't find a place to park the car anywhere but finally there was not only 1 but 2 places free...I drove in front first, misjudged  where the kerb was and for the second year running we found out that Italian kerbs are razor sharp.
Alex was involved in last year's debacle and so knew where to find all the bits required to do the change over, then it was off to a Citroen garage to get the thing fixed.  Well that sorted out the parking issue as it was going to take four hours to be fixed!!!

Sooo..taxi into town and tourist time followed:


then it was on to walking to the botanical garden, having coffee, lunch, coffee and taking pix of thing that caught my eye

plenty of these around

no idea but I love cats so I took the pix

there are many predictable street names in Italian cities..often dates of important events or names of heroes but this one translates as Behind the Cathedral Street


and again!

off to France!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Final days in the flat lands north of Trevsio

This year's VERY special souvenir!
This Saturday we start moving into hillier country.  

First to Trento to race the Charly Gaul gran fondo..a race that last year I said "Never again" 😜and which Alex failed to finish..hopefully we will be a bit better this year!

After Trento we take 2 days to drive to Avignon, stopping at Briancon on the way.  We have sorted out where we're going by keeping out of the way of the Tour de  France..unlike most of our friends we have no great desire to be  spectators..Alex has once and wont get sucked into that again!

We're at Avignon for 5 days and apart from gazing at the pont d' Avignon we will climb the Mont Ventoux.

We've enjoyed being here and the apartment is incredibly economical..1300 euros for 2 people for 4 weeks ..wifi, AC,2 bedrooms, washing machine and endless hot water...sadly only 1 settee for horizontal TV watching but that aside all mod cons!  

my car on the left and the door to our apartment far right

Today's adventure on the bike was going to be a very long ride in the hillier part of the area but after about 70 minutes a wasp decided to explore the inner workings of my mouth...I managed to foil it's efforts but in passing it stung my lip, so I decided not to ride in the back blocks just in case I got an adverse reaction and so turned for home.   A swollen bottom lip was all I got and it's now settled down almost completely.

Random pix follow:

The picnic type knife and fork here are made out of maize/corn and are biodegradable.
Dead tree?..make it a feature

Caught by the vagaries of the English language (2nd down)
These are ALL Prosecco
Not sure why they don't chop the ivy off before this happens
modern fresco!
4 legged animals not allowed to drink!
Asolo a hill top old town with cobbled streets we visited earlier this week

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

More pix

Asolo is a great place to go but perhaps not on a Monday, when along with  the rest of Italy, shops are closed.  Trip Advisor said the 5th best place to visit there is the cemetary which led us to wonder whether the visit would be worth it!  Well it  was, despite everything being closed...even the tourist info centre which appears to be shut Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday!!!  Great views and the beer glass made up for everything!
Allowing animals to drink is forbidden!

Asolo..hill top mediaeval town..very very narrow cobble streets
The best part of Asolo..and I bought the glass as well as the beer!

Somewhat different from the usual fresco!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Spending money

Last year we stayed at an apartment which had one of those pod coffee makers..running out of pods I managed to buy the wrong make and here we are 1 year later and they are still waiting to be used

what to do??..wait to see if another apartment saves me from chucking out a whole 5 euros worth of coffee when it becomes out of date later this year???


give in/succumb

so  we did....question is do they sell this sort of pod in Aus or will this have to stay here with all the rest of my gear?!??

AND one of our goals for this hols was to find pix for the renovated kitchen which currently has very bare walls.......sooo after searching high and low in Treviso for 3 weeks  Alex and I found a groovy picture for the  kitchen wall while we were very briefly  in Feltre....2 pix down (I also found 1 in UK) ...a few still to go