September 27, 2007 GMT
Sete and Montpellier

21 to 24 Sep 07

We could set up in Sete without any difficulty at all. It is a great little town.

Mike and Nick at Sete.jpg

Settling in to Sete like a local. It is a tough life on the road.

Nick was there a day before us and had found a cheap hotel right in the centre of town with a garage for the bike and his little hire car. Nick had explained in his fractured French that we needed parking for a small car and a moto. Madame assumed “moto” meant the type of little scooter they ride around these parts and not the monster we arrived on. Ah, it is these little miscommunications that make travel fun!

City from Sete LO.jpg

A view of Sete from a lookout above town

Mike and Jo on steps.jpg

Unfortunately, getting to the lookout required a gentle afternoon stroll

We settled in, bought some train tickets to Montpellier for the next day and found some food and cold beer. Life was looking good.

The only downside to the place seemed to be that with the three of us stuffed in a small room, Jo and I had to wear some bed clothes for the first time in recent memory!

The town of Sete is a working fishing port, container port and tourist centre. The old town is built on the mainland and two islands formed by a couple of nice straight grand canals.

Sete canal by night.jpg

A canal at Sete by night. The weather is warm, but not warm enough for a Queenslander to swim

On game day (22 Sep) the train to Montpellier took about 40 minutes. The town was spacious, easy to get around and full of uni students returning from the summer break. The old hands were smoking and drinking coffee in the cafes; the freshmen standing on corners with large suitcases and a map, looking bewildered.

Waiting for a train.jpg

French trains generally run on time!!!!!

I am not sure who decided to make the tramway the main transport to the stadium but he was certainly in the sardine packing industry. I am sure that the trip would be pleasant if you could breathe, but it was a very long trip on a hot Autumn day in a crush of smelly bodies. When we saw the crush pouring towards the stadium, we realised that crowd control is not a French long-suit and made a resolution to get to the game in Bordeaux much earlier.

Getting into the stadium.jpg

Crowd control the French way

Australia won comfortably over a lack-lustre Fiji outfit, we braved the tram crowd back to town, found more food and beer and coffee and pastries (all the necessities), and scurried back to Sete as quick as we could.

We were delighted to find a small Arc de Triumph in MP. After the tackiness of the mini-Statue of Liberty in Rouen, we thought we had found the French out twice in a week. Image our disappointment when we discovered that the MP Arc is hundreds of years older than the Napoleonic era version in Paris and not just a provincial replica!

Arc de triumph.jpg

The Montpellier Arc de Triumph. Not as big as some!

A layover day to do the regular tourist stuff in Sete and find an internet connection and the Med coast was done and dusted, it was back onto the bike and into the mountain roads.

wiring Sete`style.jpg

Greg McBride would love the wiring on some of these old buildings

Posted by Mike Hannan at September 27, 2007 06:11 PM GMT

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