Saints Maries de la Mer to Sete 95km
To Valras Plage 74km
Today would have to be a big part of what this amazing journey is all about. The whole idea was to join together places I had been before, and would like to see again, with so many of the places I had never seen or visited. And here I am, in Valras Plage.....
Thirty years ago, I resigned from my job, teaching PE at Amuri Area School, and accepted a job with PGL Young Adventure, managing a Sailing and Wind Surfing Centre, here on the French Mediterranean coast. Lisa and Paul, my kids, were four and five, but that didn't stop us. Quite a few of our friends thought we were crazy, and most still think I'm crazy, but for all four of us, it was the start of an amazing adventure. ( the pupils I left behind are all in their forties now).
Over the course of the next five months we met some amazing people, and had some amazing, fun times. Thanks Mick, Hillary, Jenny, and all those crazy staff... Jimbo, Gracey, James, Dave, and so many more, for a fantastic experience. (All those staff were in their 20's. Now they're all over 50) The experience I gained in France in 1986 has helped me so very much over the years.
I'm, back in Valras Plage, just down the road from Lou Village, our base camp. It's still there, but has changed as you might expect. Thirty years of progress and development. But it's amazing being here, and has been amazing cycling here. Especially over the last couple of days, as I recognise names of towns and villages that we visited in 1986. We bought bicycles when we arrived, and I used the siesta time each afternoon to explore..... perhaps my first taste of cycle touring. The small villages, with locals drinking wine and playing boules in the village square, haven't changed. The narrow streets, and church bells ringing are the same. Today I was overrun by locals heading to church with branches (Olive?). I even spotted a couple of old Renault 4 's, our site vehicle, way back then.
Way back then, I was also introduced to the canals and canal paths in the region, and thought I might like to travel along them one day. I was thinking by long boat, but cycling them, over the last few days, has been pretty fun too.
And even though it's "off season" here in the south of France, Valras Plage was pretty busy today, with families out for their Sunday wander. Oh, and the 100 plus members of the local Harley Davidson Chapter out for their Sunday ride. Noisy brutes, but impressive.
So it's great to be back. Thanks PGL, for the opportunity, the education, the learning, the memories, the inspiration to try new things in life, for the life long friendships, and the inspiration to come back for a look see. I've really enjoyed the memories.