Spiderman in France

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-2When we wake up on Sunday, it is still foggy in Fraîture (Belgium). Luckily that fog dissolves quickly. When we start the bikes after a good breakfast, we ride off in the sun. Despite the sunshine it’s quite chilly. Under our helmet we both wear a ’balaclava’. That’s a lot warmer, but looks like we are about to rob a bank. Peter even looks like Spiderman, when he does not have his helmet on yet.

We drive from Belgium to France on the highway, but choose to take the main roads once the toll roads come into view. We usually do not drive much faster than 80 or 90 km/h (50 or 55 miles/hour), so the BIS route through France is fine. Besides, this route is often much nicer.

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-5Toll roads are quite difficult with a bike anyway. That became clear when we took a wrong turn and were in front of the gate accidentally. You should just try to get that ticket from the machine with your winter gloves on and then with the same hand ( where that ticket already is ) try to squeeze your clutch to drive away. Each time we have to stop just after the gate to put away the tickert. It is even more complicated to pay. At the first junction where we could get off the toll road, we had to pay 60 cents. Peter was standing before me, his card did not work and he had only 50 cents. Now what? I had coins, but I could not just give them to him. Where do you leave your bike? So, I get off my gloves, take out my wallet and put an extra coin in the machine. Peter is allowed through, now it is my turn. I get back on the bike, drive forward, put it in neutral, ticket in the machine, coin into the machine, change back into my pocket, motor into first gear and quickly through the gate before it closes. Then I have to stop to store everything and put my gloves back on. Meanwhile, there was a traffic jam behind me. Reason enough to avoid toll roads when possible.

On the way south we drive through the Vosges (France). It is very beautiful. Hilly, with long straight roads where oncoming traffic occasionally disappears into the deeper stretches of the road. Behind every hill there is a new village, of which you can only see the tower of the church at first. Next to a church, you can find at least one walled mansion in each village and a monument with a rooster and a weathered French flag that remembers the victims of the First World War.

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-4We think it is too cold to camp and most campsites are already closed. We therefore choose to spend the night at (cheap) hotels until we reach the Mediterranean. The first four hotels that we find are closed. They are waiting for better times with more tourists. A nice lady points us in the direction of Neuf Chateau. We would certainly be able to find a hotel there. Again, many hotels and restaurants appear to be closed. The third place is open and has a garage for motorcycles too.

If we look out the window the next morning, we see blue sky. It is blue, sunny and there is a gentle breeze. Actually fine whether to go iceskating! Here and there ponds have already frozen. It’s not a luxury to wear our Spiderman masks now, because the riding wind makes it even more chilly.

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-6After a few hours, we are cold and decide to look for a restaurant for lunch. The waitress asks if we want to drink an ’aperitive’. I ask for a coffee. She looks at me puzzled: “But do not you eat?“. “Yes, I’ll eat, but I would still like to have a hot coffee, because I ‘m quite cold.” Still amazed she asks: “Coffee, before your food?“. “Yes , it might not be like the French, but to warm up a bit, I would first like coffee and food afterwards.” She is satisfied with the answer, but does make an additional note on the receipt for her colleague. We both order the menu of the day and enjoy kalamaris, chicken with potato dish and a piece of pie. We skip the coffee afterwards.

Slightly warmed we drive further to the south. In Bourg-en-Bresse we stop early in the afternoon, at the Ibis Budget hotel. That is a good option. The bikes are in front of the window in an enclosed parking place, we have a fine bed and (most importantly) a hot shower! How a hot shower can make you happy! After the shower, the world looked a lot better.

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-13When we wake up the next morning , the bikes have turned white from the frost. It’s cold, but sunny again. The route leads us towards the Alps, through Grenoble to Sisteron. The further south we go, the more snow there is. The roads are clean and dry, but beside the road there is up to 30cm of snow. When we stop to take a picture, a car pulls up next to us. The driver asks if everything is OK and if he can help us. We tell him we are just enjoying the scenery. He then gets out of his car, turns into a tourist guide and starts telling us about the area. Excited about our stories, he writes his contact information. He has friends all over the world and can bring us in contact with them if necessary. A special and unexpected encounter.

In Sisteron we again choose the Ibis Budget hotel. After the hot shower we search the Internet for a B&B on the Mediterranean Sea for the next days. According to the weather report, it was 18 degrees (celcius) in Nice, so we would leave the snow and cold quickly behind us .

On Wednesday, the GPS is set at Frejus Plage, where we had booked a little studio with a kitchen for two nights. The route goes in a straight line to the south, through the National Park Verdon through the Gorges du Verdon. A beautiful route, where you would find a lot of tourist in the summer. Now it was very quiet with only locals riding the same road. On both sides of the road there is snow or ice, but the road itself is clean and dry. In parts where the sun has not yet been, the trees are white with frost. As soon as the sun shines over the ridge, the ripe disappears and  colors can be seen again. Really nice. But also very cold. So after several photo opportunities, we hit the gas and ride further south, towards the sun.

schaatsweer-en-warme-douche-27Frejus Plage is quickly found. And indeed, with 15 degrees the temperature is a lot more pleasant than in the previous days. After a day of sleeping in late and some culture, now on to Italy.

PS Thanks for a the massages on the website, through mail, sms and WhatsApp!

Click here to see the photos.

Distance covered: 1373 km (853 mile)

| Leonie | Belgium, EUROPE, France

11 Reacties (Comments) - Spiderman in France

  1. Dienie

    prachtige foto’s en een verslag alsof je achterop de motor meereist..
    ben benieuwd waar we volgende maand zijn..;-)
    goede reis en prettige feestdagen, lieve groet van Dienie

  2. Erik Keume

    Nu 23:23 op 12-12-13 zijn wij ondertussen best wel een bietje nieuwschierig waar jullie zitte. En hoe het met jullie gaat . Liefs Astrid en Erik XXX

  3. Mieke

    Heerlijk om jullie verhaal te lezen. Ook zoiets simpels als een kopje koffie kan al een mooie belevenis zijn. Ben nu alweer benieuwd naar het vervolg. Groetjes

  4. Celine en Leon

    Supercool die baklava’s! Ik dacht altijd dat dat heel wat anders was 😉 Leuk ook z’on onverwachtse ontmoeting, dat zijn de mooie dingen van reizen, geniet ervan stoer stel, X Leon en Celine

  5. Maud

    Weer een mooi verhaal! Leuk om zo n beetje mee op reis te zijn. Ben benieuwd naar de volgende ‘column’. Mxxx

  6. Ben & Titia

    Heel leuk geschreven. Ik zou een functie als columniste ambiëren bij terugkomst als ik jouw was;-). Geniet er van jullie. Groetjes Ben & Titia

  7. Michiel Pas

    Stoer!!! Ik leef heel erg met jullie mee. Op naar de zon!!

  8. Mip

    Oh jeetje, het begint weer helemaal te kriebelen als jullie verhaal lees en foto’s zie. En bedankt he… 😉
    Het klinkt en ziet er fantastisch uit allemaal luitjes, geniet ervan (en het zal alleen maar warmer worden voorlopig :-D)!

  9. Jan en Mariët

    Zo dus al 1 nieuwe vriend gemaakt!
    Toch past die foto van de middelandse zee beter bij een reis op de motor als al die sneeuw foto s. Maar wat mooi. Liefs. xx

  10. erik

    Weer een mooi verslag met mooie foto’s.
    Zit weer te genieten.

  11. Gerard

    Prachtig geschreven verhaal en mooie foto’s. De groetjes van Gerard en Anja.