Hello all !!
We've missed a few weeks of updates so I'm going to give you the quick and dirty version of the last weeks in France.
Once we crossed over to Eastern France the people there seemed quite different from the "west". ( not that there was anything wrong with the west). In the East (so east of Paris both North and South), we had people going out of their way all the time for us. If a hotel was full, instead of the yeah we're full, get out, we would get let me call another hotel for you and give you directions.
Or we would be standing on the street looking at some pile of rocks that we think are Roman and we have a very nice lady come over and to tell us what we are looking at. ( It turns out it is one of the last remaining Roman Gates in Europe that hasn't been touched...cool). We also had someone come and help us with directions when we took out the map. Love eastern France.
So Patrick had left you guys off in a little place called St. Lo where he had his beloved bike all dolled up and ready for another 10,000 km's. We moved on from there to a town called Arras in order to get close to Vimy Ridge.
Neither Patrick or I can say enough about Vimy Ridge. I think that every Canadian should go there it is that powerful. The memorial is an amazing piece of architecture and the National Park of Vimy has not been changed since the war. So what that really means is you see what our soldiers were going through as they headed into battle. The Government of Canada has students there to give tours of the underground railway system which is how troops and supplies were moved up to the front. You also get to see the front itself which I know must sound unbelievable. The German and Canadian front lines were only 30 yards apart - I know - unreal unless you see it. We spent at least 3 hours there and could have probably spent the whole day. I guess what really strikes you as you walk through Vimy Ridge is the feeling that you get, it's an emotional one that I can't quite put into words.
We move on to two big cities, Reims and Besancon.
Reims is pretty cool with great shopping (window shopping for me) and lots of old buildings to look at PLUS it´s the home of Champagne. I would like to tell you all that you can never, ever, get enough Champagne. A funny story about our hotel though. As you all know we are way over budget so Patrick picks our hotel in Reims for us. It is a great deal at €30 per night. However the bathroom is so small that you have to take your clothes off (sorry to get graphic here) in the other room as the toilet is under the sink and the shower is a limbo dance around the sink.......3 nights we stayed in this room...and you know it starts off funny having to do the limbo to go to the bathroom but by the 3rd day it really was annoying.
Besancon was also a great town. It's a university town so lots of young people around, good shopping and thank god a great self service laundry. Again, the luxury of having clean clothes knows no bounds.
We also stopped in Vichy France for 3 nights. For you history buffs that is where the Vichy government holed up during the war and for you Spa buffs that is where there are hot natural springs. Small town of about 25,000 and I think a little piece of French paradise. The guide books really don't talk this up as they should. We stayed in a great family run hotel for €45 per night. The hotel was called the Averna Hotel and we highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Vichy. Due to finances I was not allowed to partake in the Spa activities but had to content myself with putting my hand in the hot spring in the centre of town.....
We have to move on as we are in the mountains (Vichy is in the Massif region) and we start to the west and then to the south ( to avoid a little mountain range called the Pyrenees). No real good stories here as we were a) frozen due to very wet weather and cold temperatures and b) moved along every day so didn´t stay in one place long enough to do more than have dinner.
So overall in France some general stuff for future travellers....
1) the wine is only cheap in the grocery stores but you can get a good bottle of red for under €5 easy
2) wine is very expensive in the restaurants and bars and cafes
3) beer in France is only okay and it is always from some other country
4) all other drinks such as soda pop and water are also very expensive. in some parts of the country a can of coke (or glass of coke) could be €2.20. the cheapest I got if for was €1.75 in a cafe.
5)everything closes down for a 2 hour lunch....this is bad when you arrive in town and head to the tourist bureau and it doesn´t open for another hour....
6) gas is expensive at around €1.05 - €1.12 per litre. you can find it cheaper by about .09 cents at the big supermarches but you have to go there when they are open as our cards (visa) didn´t work in their 24 hour system.
7) the french do like you to try and speak french
8) France is expensive. We even bought a kettle for our coffee and tea and bought cereal bars for breakfast and that barely helped.
9) France´s version of McDonald's is a place called Quick and it was quite tasty as the hamburgers tasted like real hamburgers...shocking
10) the roads are good and easy to ride on, sometimes the signs don´t always match the map but hey getting lost is part of the game
11) there is really a whole lot of dog poo everywhere
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!