Thursday 30 August 2012

The road to Chauorce

The drive from Baron to Chaource was just under 4 hours. When we checked Kate’s suggested route we saw she was taking us within 10 minute of the Velo Vert at Buxy around 50 minute away. It’s an excellent bike path we had cycled around 6 years previously and there was the added advantage of having a cooperative wine cave in Buxy. First stop was the wine cellar for a tasting and then it was off on the Velo Vert. We headed south in the direction on Macon. Making it to Cormatin to purchase yet another quiche and bread for lunch.
For the drive to Chaource we decided to avoid the motorway. Kate helpfully tried to direct us back onto the correct route and evens Lyn’s attempts to exclude a section of the motorway failed to have the desired result. Eventually she excluded all motorways, Kate replanned the route and everyone was happy.
The hotel in Chaource was modern, clean, efficient but lacking in the eccentric collection of objects of our previous B&B. We had a walked around the town but decide to eat in the hotel. The set menu at 17.50 euros for 3 courses was simple but tasty and offered good value.

Canal Du Centre

Wednesday 29th August
The Domaine de la Vallée has a wonderful setting on the outskirts of the small village of Baron. The owners are most welcoming hosts with an eclectic taste in objects and decoration. They reserved us a table at the local bar restaurant in Baron the previous evening. A half mile walk from the house. The bar can cater for 120 people and they could probably feed the entire village in one sitting if they chose to attend. The menu consisted of a choice of 4 set meals with no individual dishes available to order. We opted to eat inside and sat opposite a group of 5 adults. We selected the 25 euro menu as we both wanted the salad to start and wanted to avoid the menu with the frogs legs. A huge plate arrived complete with fried ham and fried egg. The main course which we had hoped was a stew as we had not selected the Charollais streak turned out to be a massive piece of meat with a cream and onion sauce. The portion size would have feed two but it was rather on the tough side and proved challenging eating. Not wanting to offend our hosts we worked our way though as much as we could. The party on the next table meant that sliding a large quantity into a money belt was not a real option but was considered. The Legume course never arrived. It may have been the pasta included with the main course! After the meat we just had to finish the cheese course and then a pancake with plum jam arrived. An experience. The owners were friendly but portion sizes strange and vegetables sadly lacking. The group on the opposite table selected the raw ham for his starter and it would have feed Lyn and I for a week.
Breakfast in the morning wastaken the terrace overlooking the fields and Charlais cows. We decided to do a ride on the Canal du Centre. Our host gave us an updated map showing an extended Velo vert network from our old (2006?) guide. The Vert Vert route ran in the direction of the Canal Du Centre but was not directly alongside it all the way . As it was only 5 miles from the B&B we set off by bike We had a long decent into Saint Aubinen Charlolas and then after a couple of short climbs we were on the route. We headed south stopping in Paray-Le-Monial for provisions and the onto Digoin and its wonderful Pont Canal. After the Pont we returned to Paray-Le-Monial a for a quick tour around the town. The second most visited pilgrim town in France second only to Lourdes. We then followed the canal rather than the Velo Vert route and then left the canal for the “climb” back to Baron. A short shower briefly delayed our progress. Just long enough to eat half an apple while sitting in a conveniently located bus shelter. For the amount it rained we could have continued cycling. A 41 mile round trip. We played it safe and eat in Chorolles a 6km drive away. Selected a basic meal at a local hotel. We could have eat in the Michelin stared restaurant for only 3 euros more than me paid the previous evening. It had just stared raining as we returned to the car and we were treated to a spectacular thunder storm on our way back to the B&B.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Full Day Today

Bike ride,wine tasting and 3hour drive to our next accommodation.Free WIWI so will update blog later or in morning.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Updated postings

Added Text now to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 23rd and photos added for today.

Col du Galibier

Robert climbed Col Du Galibier twice today and Lyn once.The later ascent being in the car.Images of the ride will appear once we have returned to England as I do not have adapter to down load the photos.

When we planned this trip I decided I wanted to attempt the classic climb up Col du Galibier. The Col du Galibier has been crossed 58 times by the Tour de France and has seen Tours won and lost on its slopes. The Col can be climbed from two sides. The “easier” climb is from Briancon but I wanted to do the classic route from St-Michael-De-Maurienne. The disadvantage of this choice was The Col De Telegraph with an ascent of around 840m has to be tackled first. It is then 5 km down hill to Valloire where the climb of the Galibier starts.The total assent on the climb is around 2400 m.
We struggled to find good accommodation in St-Michael-De-Maurienne so instead we opted to stay in Valloire. For my trip up the Galibier I first had to climb the Col du Telegraph from Valloire, descend to St-Michael-De-Maurienne and then start the climb. It’s not the gradients that are the real challenge but the length of the climb. The slope varies from 3 to 10 % and averages around 6.9%. My speed would not have set any records. I completed the trip in 5 hours including stopping at the top and taking photos on the descent. I did all of the climb without a break. Approximate timings were 40 minutes to St-Michael-De-Maurienne, 60 minutes back to Valloire, 2 hours to climb the Galibier and then 40 minutes back to the hotel. The last kilometres from the tunnel were a real challenge as my legs were getting tired and I had to resort to my lowest gear on a few of the hair pins. I started at 8:30 am and only saw a few cyclists on my ascent. The route appears more popular later in the day as we passed a steady stream of cyclists when I returned with Lyn for my second ascent of the day, this time in the car.
Lyn stayed in Valloire catching up with the blog, doing her nails and washing the Brexton set and exploring Valloire. She was hoping I would spend longer on the ride has she had not finished her list of thing she wanted to get done before I returned.

A photo Blog of the ride written in 2005 with some good pictures.

The Grand Depart

The elevation from Valloire

View climbing up to the tunnel

The climb up

Saturday 25 August 2012

Saturday 25th

Still behind with the text.Now in Valloire but starting with some pictures of last nights B&B up in the hill above Neufchateau.

Friday 24 August 2012

Lake Constance

Yet another good breakfast that was served at our table rather than a buffet. One cheese was crinkled and paper thin with quite a strong taste – we had not seen this before. The ham was particularly tasty today. We arranged to leave our car in the car park whilst we set off for a short cycle round part of the Lake Constance route. We joined this near the hotel and cycled towards Austria and away from the city of Konstanz. The ride was easy but interesting, going close to the lake at points and through little villages and small towns. Lyn was impressed by the frequency of the free toilet facilities on the route – something to note for another time should we decide to re-visit and do the whole lake ride, which should only take about 3 days. Today we had to turn round after 15 miles in order to get to our next destination this evening. We had almost made it to the Austrian border. Stopped for a coffee in a bakery and purchased some Birchermuesli for a picnic stop later. We did have the first real rain that affected us this holiday on the way back to the car and had to shelter for 20 minutes under a tree. Otherwise the warm but grey day was welcome on a bike ride after the 38 degrees of earlier in the holiday. The B&B was a 15 minute drive up the hill from Neuchatel . We had our own cooking facilities so stocked up with provisions from Aldi for tea. It would have be hard to find without Kate’s excellent direct directions. She did offer us a different route with a 10 minute saving in Zurich. We followed her advice and ended up stuck in traffic in the town centre. The B&B was a quirky as the reviews on The couple who one reviewer described as old aged turned out to be only a little bit older than us! The B&B at £71 offered excellent value for Switzerland and the ability to cook our own meal was areal bonus.

For all the traveling I have done I did not realise the Swiss have their own design on elctric plugs. The hotel learnt us an adaptor to the European plug last night and if you do not require an earth one of our European adaptors fits. Some of the sockets however are recessed and for those you require a Swiss adaptor.