La Londe les Maures to Resquiadou 120km
To Saints Maries de la Mer 112km
Juliet has arrived back in Christchurch, sans luggage. Some delightful rogue decided that he deserved to own her bike, and everything in her bike bag, and walked off the train with it, somewhere between San Remo and Rome. Ju was a little upset. She likes her "stuff", and her bike has had many adventures with her. I hope all her stuff goes to a worthy home.
Meanwhile, I'm cycling into a beautiful small bay and hear a roar over my left shoulder. Wow that's a loud truck.... I look back, and it's not a truck, it's four very large aircraft, skimming above the surf towards me. I stop, expecting to have to duck, and they turn in formation out towards the open sea, dropping lower, so as they are actually in the water. They then lift off the surface, and about 30m above the bay, release the water they have collected. They circuit again four times. They are fire fighting aircraft, practicing loading..... Impressive. Where were they when Hanmer Springs needed them last week?
Yesterday's ride was pretty nice. Even the climb up the last hill before Marseille was pleasant. Alot of the day was spent navigating cycle tracks. They're great. Keeps you away from the traffic, and allows you to get the occasional look at the surroundings. That's what I was doing, taking photos when I heard a "Yip" and a "toot". Two Cycle Tourers, one from Newcastle on Tyne, and one from Tunisia. Great chatting, yet again, exchanging stories and tips.
And then, at the top of a hill, a bunch of "classic cars". I took some more photos, just to show I care about the needs of my Petrol Head mates. Hope you enjoy them. What I had been looking for was a campsite. There were some really nice ones about, but they all had "No Camping" signs. So I did the downhill into Marseille.
Marseille is not a cycle friendly town. It has cycle lanes, and also "No Cycling" signs on the roads, but the cycle lanes are not friendly. They often have curbing instead of ramps at intersections, pedestrians and old ladies with Zimmer frames are all over them, sometimes they disappear completly, and cars and trucks will frequently zip across them in front of you. And everywhere is busy. Very busy.
I was trying to navigate all this at rush hour. At one stage I was cycling along tram tracks, between trams. Other times it was necessary to go the wrong way down one way streets. I did what ever was needed, to make progress in the right direction. Marseille is also very dirty, and rough. Lots of dodgy people about, but maybe that was because I was near the docks. I was being very wary as I navigated through, towards a commercial campsite...... which wasn't there..... Oh well, wild camping then, but a little further out of the city. I passed a small hotel, went through a tunnel, and took a small side road.... and ended up back at the small hotel. Guess I'll stay here then.
Through the tunnel again this morning, but I'm confused. I'm trying to navigate across a huge wetland, which has bike tracks and canal tracks, but to get to them it looks as if I will have to cycle on a motorway. In every other country the motorway signage has been Green, and normal roads Blue. Here, it seems to be opposite. I think I've worked out a route. I follow some small roads along the coast for 3km, and suddenly there is a huge padlocked gate, just before the bridge over the canal I was going to cross. Bother. I backtrack, and find an "I" site, and it's open. The lovely lady inside gave me directions. She told me that "giving directions is probably not enough to base a marriage on, even though I was very handsome."
The directions involved going on to very, very busy roads, through very ugly industrial and port areas, with very, very big, and very fast moving trucks. I was not comfortable, and some of the factories were pumping out some very unpleasant smoke and smells. I was coughing, and my eyes were watering.......but, then I entered a lovely small village..... and got lost... More directions, this time from the "Village Gardener" because they always know best. This time I ended up on a very pleasant, quiet road, and then on a dyke that passed through the wet lands. That's where I ran into heaps of "Twitters", that's bird watchers, on bikes. I asked one British Twit what they were watching out for. "Oh what ever..." I offered to put on some lippy, and pose, so he could take a photo of a "kiwi bird, very rare in this part of the world". He was not impressed, and called me a "fruit". Oh well, can't please everyone.
In the supermarket tonight, I met three young French people, who are three days into a kayaking trip from France to Istanbul, taking nine months. Now that would be an adventure. Maybe next year...