Saturday, November 26, 2016

Europe Tour 2016 Part 5 - The last leg.

Continued from Part 4

Having had a great kip in Hotel Altitude we packed up and headed north again. Today's ride would be a short one, with Beaufort being our destination, just over the next pass. Beaufort was where HB and I had got stranded for three days when the 1150 GS's fuel pump shat itself back in 2009.
Riding away from Val d'Isere it seemed like we were going down for ages before the road climbs sharply up the tight twists and turns to the top of the Cormet De Roselend. Aidan loved this pass, flying off in front,  chucking his Triumph through the tight turns. The pass opens up at the top offering great visibility to really have fun in the corners. We stopped at the top where there was a guy selling juice and some local meats and cheese. He offered us a wee taste which we took, despite the flies landing here and there. 
We tore off down the hill once more till Aidan pulled over for a photo in nearly the same spot as we had broken down years ago. There's great views of Lac de Roselend, which the road flows around before a wide hairpin decent to Beaufort. 

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We stopped in Beaufort for a coffee and some superb cakes over which we discussed our options. I suggested staying in Beaufort, another hotel guys? I left the guys at the cake shop and headed to tourist information, then round the corner to the two hotels that were open in the small town. The cheaper of the two looked the nicest and also said if we stayed we could park our bikes in their garage. By the time I got back with the options everyone else had decided we'd definitely be staying in Beaufort. They agreed on the hotel with the garage and in no time we'd stashed the bikes, had a shower and were back at the cake shop having a braw cold beer. I'd always said that if we we're back in Beaufort it would be good to stay in a nice hotel and get a good meal rather than being stranded bikeless in the tent. That evening we went out for that meal before heading back to the hotel for an early night (for us).

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phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour








Beaufort was to be our last night in the Alps. Our next destination was at the end of another long motorway stint. We were headed for Aubigny sur Nere, a town with a big Scottish connection and is twinned with the town of Haddington where Euan and I went to school. 
At one of the fuel/water stops I got stick for riding too slow. I had been sitting at 130-140 kph according to the GPS but Euan Rossi and Aidan Marquez thought I was driving miss Daisy. I suggested a wee race too Aubigny which, once was re-worded into a "challenge to Aubigny" to satisfy Aidan's paranoia about cursing ourselves, was on. I sat at my 130 - 140 and watched the pair of them pull off onto the distance. We chilled out and followed the GPS off the motorway onto and A road before we were guided along some really nice, almost single track backroads. We passed Sancerre and rode through its awesome vineyards which came right to the roadside. Soon after we pulled into Aubigny and found our campsite. The weather was once more superb, but making a hot tent less appealing, especially when there was "mobilehomes," wee chalet type things available. Our plan was to stay two nights at Aubigny so HB and I made the executive decision to take one of these  chalets for the four of us.
I asked if there were any other bikes here. Surprisingly the answer was no. I expected Euan and Aidan to have made it here before us, but they were no where to be seen. We chilled out on the front of our chalet and I nipped back and forth to reception to access the wifi and check for messages. After an hour we started to get a bit concerned. Still no sign of Euan and Aidan. My mind flashed back to Aidan's worried voice about cursing ourselves by having a race....
Eventually the phone went. They were fine and had arrived in Aubigny town centre. I gave them directions to the campsite and they rolled in, happy with the decision to take a chalet.

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phone pics from euro tour

Our time in Aubigny was spent chilling out at the chalet and wandering around the town. France were playing is the football competition (world cup maybe? I cant remember) and the wee old lady in the shop gave us a lip stick type thing that painted red white and blue French flags on our bodies. There was also a few shouts of "Viva l'Ecosse!" to us, I dunno if this was down to Brexit or the Auld Alliance. We tried to visit the Stuart's castle, but it was closed for renovation. We sampled loads of nice food and drinks, from local French black pudding to a kebab and cocktails in the Cutty Sark pub where we watched the football. France won and the locals went mental, driving around beeping their horns and shouting and waving flags. We also got more "Viva l'Ecosse!!" shouts as we walked back up the street to the campsite.

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phone pics from euro tour

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phone pics from euro tour

Leaving Aubigny Sur Nere took us onto another motorway blast north. Bouillon was our destination; a small Belgian town just over the French border and only a few hours ride back up north to the ferry at Ijmuiden. We had crossed the border and I had dropped my speed a wee bit as the sat nav was all over the shop thanks to its out of date maps not quite matching the roads. I had spied a few signs for Bouillon, so I new we were close. Just as I was looking for the slip road to take Euan blasted past (he must have been hangry) taking the lead. About half a kilometer later there was the slip road, about a hundred meters after the junction was Euan. His flight of the navigator pace was no match for the beemers brakes. Luckily the dual carriageway we were on was empty cos Euan's solution was to ride back up the road. It was only a hundred meters or so.....
In Bouillon we found Hotel Godefroy easily, and got the our shit off the bikes. This was to be Euan and Aidan's last night, they were getting the ferry home the next day. We had a great meal at Chez Betty's had a few Belgian Beers and sampled some cafe gourmand, coffee served with wee cakes and desserts. Aidan and Euan set off earlyish the next day while it was still relatively cool. HB and I had an extra couple of days which were spent relaxing around Bouillon while trying to hide from the 32 degree heat.

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

phone pics from euro tour

It's an easy run north to Ijmuiden for the ferry. We got up there in no time and chatted with other bikers beside the boat. Once onboard it was the usual meal and a couple of beers in the bar. It's only a couple of hours run home, if you include a breakfast stop for a bacon roll just over the border back in civilisation.
It had been an amazing three week trip, but if you fancy a trip to the alps or the Black Forest you can do it in ten days or so. It's not that far away so get yer passport dug out and get yer arse over. You'll be glad you did.

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Mike.









4 comments:

  1. Nice set of posts summing up your trip....brought back a few memories of my time in the Alps....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers. I edited that other post too and added more paragraphs.

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  2. Epic. Thanks for taking the time to post about your trip. As always the photos were great and the narrative as well.

    ReplyDelete