So we finally leave the Eastern part of the south of France. No need for further comment except .... Yeah!! Yippee!! Much jumping up and down and rejoicing. We jump on the bike with most of our clothing on as the temp has dropped to about 3 degrees. Makes packing the bike easier ....... A little rain makes the riding nice and slippery just perfect for really testing your riding gear ( it failed) After the chilly ride we stopped for 2 days in Arles. Nice place Arles, lots of cool roman ruins including a cool amphitheatre. From what I understand this area was given to roman soldiers for service to the state, like a pension. The Alycamps is a road with carved stone coffins lining it. We arrived in the morning to find we had the whole site to ourselves. Very cool. Did I mention that it was sunny and freezing cold?? Was a good day anyway. So strange that this part of France is so different from the Cote DÁzur and yet is fairly close.
Onwards to Narbonne. Once again get all your clothes on so that you appear to be the Michelin Tire Man. As an added bonus the wind is blowing at about 90 kms/h . Oh Goody !!! Suffice it to say that this part of the trip was not D´s favourite as the bike was acting like a sailboat. Getting blown around by the wind on the motorways is not the most enjoyable pastime in the world. Narbonne is a nice city once again with lots of old churches and castle type thingies. Also has preserved in the square a part of the Roman road that went through the area. Betcha it led to Rome......
Must say that travelling off season is neat as it feels we have the whole of Europe to ourselves. The weather is colder but still I would recommend it as it is cheaper and the towns like Arles and Narbonne would be packed in summer time. Seems like the people are more relaxed as well. Except in the Cote d ´Azur but I digress.
The autotrain is a neat deal. Drive your car/motobike onto the train and after a nice sleep in your compartment on the train you wake up in Frankfurt rested and ready to go. Good in theory. We arrive at the station early to catch the train. Posted on the gate is a sign that says STRIEK. Narbonne train station is on strike. We have to ride to Avignon 200 kms away to catch the train. So sorry!!! It was no big deal but a quick 200 kms later we find the train and settle in to await departure. The guys that tie your bike down have clearly done this a ton of times and are pros. You get a complimentary beverage on the train and away you go. Getting off is just as easy. What a great set up. Look up Autozug on the internet and you should find it. Lots of different destinations. Good way to get you and your bike to the good riding without lots of boring motorways.
After a slight unintended loop around Frankfurt , we found our way to Heidelburg and Stefan Knopf´s place. Look him up on the internet as well. His site should be listed on HU as well. Tours, B&B, rentals,shipping, he does it all and is one of the good guys in the world.
From here we will arrange transport for the bike back to Canada and then buzz around Germany by train.
See ya soon !!!
Posted by Patrick Harkness at January 15, 2004 01:03 PM GMT