Friday, 31 August 2007

Here he goes again...

While my current slightly unwarranted rest period is only halfway through (I leave Biel on Sunday 2nd of September), I can't wait to get back on the bike. Sure, I have the time to relax, and my ass is still sore, but this lying around and doing nothing is driving me crazy.

Since my host works during the day, I have had the apartment to myself, and naturally I have gravitated towards the internet. Some of the stories of adventurers and cyclists on REAL expedition trips (ie: Russia, China) have made me quite jealous. I have decided to make a line straight back to the U.K, probably Edinburgh, where I can work, save my pennies, and undertake an adventure such as the ones I've read.

Sure, there have been some hard parts of this trip (Two sets of Alps and the Rivieras), but looking back, I have found these hard stages the most rewarding and enjoyable. I yearn for actual wilderness cycling, where the isn't someone close by who can speak english, where I have to work out water and food plans, and where I won't see some sort of town every 2km.

Of course, I may regret it when I'm actually doing it, and I have no real experience in these matters, but you have to start somewhere. If I am to have my ego shattered, I'd rather have in shattered in the middle of Siberia.

So I'll be making my way from Biel to the Rhine and follow the great river to Amsterdam and over the sea to Britain. On the way I will pass through the Black Forest, and, come to think of it, that actually sounds a little adventurous....

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Creature comforts

Looking out at the lake towards Biel

I have finally made it to Biel, and to the comforts of a real house. I will certainly be staying as long as my host allows. The ride here I somehow got lost, even though all I had to do was follow a lake. I happened to get lost in an area where there was a huge prison, not so nice. But all's well that ends well.

On a ferry from Evian to Lusanne (reason for the salute is unknown)

Out-of-focus tree photo

Another fairytale village

Geneva Convention

We arrived in Geneva after a small stint on the motorway, and after asking the guards to stamp our passports (border control is so lax these days they dont usually bother). In Geneva, the nearest place to camp was 7km away so we went to the hostel. It was marvellous having a shower and a bed. The next step was Bern or the nearby town Biel, where my friend Reggie graciously offered to let me stay.

Lake Geneva bay

Canal in Geneva

The mighty General Dessaix

On the road from Geneva to Bern

Lakeside photo opportunity

More of day two and three

Magnificent gap in the mountains just before Geneva

Small town near Lac Bourget

Same town

Typical Swiss countryside

Small village street

The Gap

Day two of the Lyon - Geneva route

Were still following the Rhone river, its getting more clear and swimmable. Great views around every corner here. The bike feels as heavy as ever, and the hills in the distance dont agree with that...

In thought....

Waterfall in the morning

Another bridge over the Rhone

Slow but steady climb

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Over the Alps again (well, the foothills, anyway)

From Avignon, it took me two and a half days to arrive in Lyon. Great scenery the whole way, no bike probs. In Lyon, I stayed for two nights and met a batch of travellers. To my delight, one of the aforementioned travellers was a bike tourer, Sadi, and I convinced him to go to Switzerland rather than north France.

Sadi and myself shortly before leaving Lyon

Street in Lyon

Campsite next to the carpark of a small town

One of many nuclear reactors in France

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

I cant wait to get on the Rhone again

I slept at a proper campsite last night, it turned out to be a beutiful Chateaux, a HUGE yard to camp in, and great hospitality (beer). Today I made a line for Lyon, France, and got to within 15km when a massive storm hit. Myself and another bike tourer sheltered on the side of the road under my tarp and fixed his puncture, had a cup of tea and some soup while we waited out the storm.

Campsite bar (notice the kangaroo sign above the bar)

Road to Lyon

Vienne (not Vienna) just south of Lyon

Lyon Hostel terrace

Malik in Red Square, Lyon

Crest for the night

I spent the night in a town called Crest, fitted my new panniers, and went for a refreshing dip in the Drome River. I kept seeing all these signs for "Velo - Drome" and I thought to myself 'Wow theres a lot of Velodromes (bike racing stadiums) in France...' It was only later that I realised that it was the Drome river cyclepath...


Malik looking heavy (new red panniers)

Sunflowers, I presume

Into Provence

The county of Provence in southern France is by far the most consistantly beautiful place so far in Europe (I seem to say that a lot). Hilltop villages and castles everywhere, great scenery, vineyards and country roads make for great cycling.
Unfortunately the night before I left Avignon, I had one of my front panniers stolen from outside my tent. So my bike looked and steered quite odd. When I was passing through a small village in Provnce, and man leaned out of his window and asked if I wanted a drink. Jean-Noel provided me with a terrific beer, and upon enquiring about my odd baggage setup, proceeded to give me some new panniers, just like that! Things always have a habit of working out, eh?

Outside Jean-Noels little house

Last shot of Avignon


Its a big problem in France, apparently

Random vista

Dancing on the Birdge in Avignon

Avignon is beautiful, the perfect walled fairytale city. I spent two days with some scottish lads exploring the city (and juggling)

Pedestrian Alley


The Palace du Papes

View of the city from my campsite

The city again

Pedestrian thoroughfare

Friday, 17 August 2007 Avignon

More pics guys. Now Im in Avignon, but I havent taken any photos yet. Ive been too busy doing this blog! Avignon is my second favourite city so far, the first being Hamburg, and the third being Padua (Padova).

The landscape slightly restored my strength.

Town. (Im very descriptive, arent I?)

Bay Sunset

Another beautiful bay

At the statue in Toulon (Picture taken by a squad of U.S Marines, who were impressed by my effort!)

My beard was the source of my power

I shaved after someone special asked me to, and I swear it was the worst decision I have made. My Bicycle Hero powers have diminished, I feel lethargic, I cant spell very well on the keyboard, and my knees hurt. Surely the beard is the cause. Anyhow, the latest batch of scenery was awesome. Almost made up for the missing beard, but not quite.

Something missing...

Oh, the beard

Landscape 1

Landscape 2

Landscape 3