Alps 2013

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by duffs, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
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    **UPDATE - Back home in London, day-by-day throughout the thread!**

    Hello everyone - this will be my first proper ride report. My trip will be a loop starting/ending in London:
    [​IMG]
    • Lille FR - ales with Loutre
    • Luxembourg - because I've never been there
    • Ammerschwihr FR - visiting a friend at her family's vineyard
    • Annecy FR - sentimental reasons
    • Nancroix FR - to see my snowboarding haunt near Les Arcs
    • Verdon Gorge FR - Europe's 'Grand Canyon' [UPDATE: skipped]
    • Nice - because it's nice?! (and hopefully warm!) [UPDATE: skipped]
    • Monaco - because it's along the way [UPDATE: skipped]
    • Passo dello Stelvio - a cliché but has to be done [UPDATE: skipped]
    • Liechtenstein (via Switzerland) - no one ever goes there, so I want to see it with my own eyes
    • Schloss Neuschwanstein DE - another cliché but such a beautiful area
    • Flachau AT - visiting another friend and her family to see the Großglockner
    • Munich DE - visiting BMW Welt
    • Kitzingen DE - Dracula's crypt
    • Sneek NL - visiting my cousins [UPDATE: skipped]
    • Brugge BE - Lumina Domestica (ok just for the chocolatiers...)
    No camping this time - B&Bing for the most part. In my experience travelling through Europe there are always villages along the way with cheap accommodation, and it's a good way to get a few hours alongside the locals in some out-of-the way places.

    I will be joined by my not-so-well-travelled travelling companion/confidant/best mate Zev who is in the dubious position of riding pillion for 3,000 miles. Another reason to save the weight of camping gear x2.

    Really looking forward to setting off and I hope to update daily once underway... Also to see how the gear holds up in changing weather conditions since we'll most likely experience temperatures from 5–35°C along the way. Photos/videos will be dependent on wifi access, as my data cuts off after 50mb/day when roaming outside the UK.

    If anyone lives along the basic route I plotted above, let me know!

    George
    #1
  2. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    :thumb
    Subscribed. PM sent.
    #2
  3. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Cheers for that! PM'd back.
    #3
  4. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    59 hours 27 minutes until we board the Eurotunnel carriage to Calais... so I got a bit handy and made myself a logo to mark the trip... thoughts?

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Coloradical

    Coloradical Long timer

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    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Are you Bob Oblong?
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sorry, that was my first thought when I saw the logo.
    The Oblongs was a bad American cartoon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oblongs
    #5
  6. JJay51

    JJay51 Adventurer

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    Do you have full travel insurance as well as your E card?
    #6
  7. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Ha! First I've seen of bob oblong! Maybe I should add legs...
    #7
  8. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Indeed - full worldwide coverage.
    #8
  9. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    #9
  10. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Just a reminder that self-pump petrol stations in France usually don't take 'foreign' credit/debit cards. Cash is king and Sunday is not the day to realize that the tank is empty.

    I hope the weather gets better for you. This Spring has been the absolute pits. I'm off to Lake Garda in about 10 days. Crossing my fingers.

    Oh, and if you do pass through Liechtenstein, stop in at the Tourist Office and ask to have your passports stamped. Good conversation starter.
    #10
  11. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Thanks, not long now! I've done much of this journey by car years ago so am looking forward to reliving it on the bike :D
    #11
  12. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    Thanks for the note - I believe Carrefour hypermarkets will digest HSBC cards if I remember from previous trips, but the French (and Italian) pay-at-the-pump machines are notoriously difficult... Fortunately I'm only going as far as Lille on Sunday so shouldn't need to fill up and the rest of the time going into the shop/booth always seems to work.

    Fingers crossed about the weather, but the Met has been predicting rain all week without consequence so hopefully my luck doesn't run out! Never thought about a passport stamp but yes must do... also in Luxembourg if I can find a human being at the open border!
    #12
  13. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
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    Milo has found himself a new space.

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    Always hard to say goodbye :cry

    Ride safe guys! Thanks for your visit and the ale :wink:

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    My last proper holiday was in August 2012 meaning I've been well overdue... similarly, I still had 23.5 of my 27 days of annual leave to use up before September, as we are only permitted to carry over up to 5 days and the rest will dissolve into the ether.<div><br></div><div>But the last few months have been gruelling to say the least, since March to June is the time where we have a number of statutory documents to produce and several events to coordinate. This has left me somewhat more than exhausted.</div><div><br></div><div>Sunday morning rolls around and of course I could hardly bring myself to get out of bed and into the shower despite the excitement of finally getting away. I eventually left at 11am which was insufficient time to make my scheduled Eurotunnel crossing at 12:30, more than 100 miles away from London in Folkestone.</div><div><br></div><div>Sure enough I arrive at 1:15 and the automated check-in kiosk moved me to the 1:35 shuttle. The Eurotunnel is a service I can't really fault since the tickets have a ±2 hour leeway on all bookings, recognising the fact that it simply isn't possible to foresee traffic conditions, dragging my fat arse out of bed on time etc.</div><div><br></div><div>On the English side you go through French passport control which is nothing more than a formality (or joke, depending on your point of view)—we weren't asked to remove our helmets, and when I was fumbling to open my tankbag for the passports he told me to forget about it and go.</div><div><br></div><div>And go I did, since by then I had only 5 minutes before the departure to get onto the train. I needn't have worried, however, since I waited nearly 30 minutes to get on the train, along with 2 other bikers, as one of the earlier trains had a problem in the tunnel and blocked up everything.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Safely stopped in the train, on the side stand and in 1st gear with the front wheel against the kerb, we finally got underway just before 2pm and came out the other end 30 minutes later plus one hour for the French time change at 3:30pm.</div><div><br></div><div><span style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); ">Zev contemplates the shuttle journey.</span></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-U7PRJmLdx4M/UcrqDr5DAEI/AAAAAAAAAhE/nyaLyl4OGOw/s640/blogger-image-1823909721.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-U7PRJmLdx4M/UcrqDr5DAEI/AAAAAAAAAhE/nyaLyl4OGOw/s640/blogger-image-1823909721.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><span style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); ">In position, no tie-downs required. Honda ST1300 rider suspiciously kept to himself the entire journey, clearly we were too common for socialising.</span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-E2Zz4W7a3eA/UcrqBXBhUuI/AAAAAAAAAg8/CCJYdqBPeXI/s640/blogger-image-2019812511.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-E2Zz4W7a3eA/UcrqBXBhUuI/AAAAAAAAAg8/CCJYdqBPeXI/s640/blogger-image-2019812511.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Trust the Dutch to throw in a 'hoe kunt' when explaining how to get help.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VswsvQEbikA/UcrqGGPRMAI/AAAAAAAAAhM/lZjMSbkw_7c/s640/blogger-image--2118469791.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VswsvQEbikA/UcrqGGPRMAI/AAAAAAAAAhM/lZjMSbkw_7c/s640/blogger-image--2118469791.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Coming out the French side of the Eurotunnel you are quite literally ejected straight onto a motorway and often greeted to the wrath of North Sea winds threatening to blow you into the next lane. I had preprogrammed the route into the GPS and specified no motorways or toll roads where possible and it dutifully guided me along France's excellent N-road network toward Lille.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The N-roads are generally 90km/hr (110km/hr where they are divided with 4 lanes) and thread through all sorts of towns and villages. Taking theses routes means effectively doubling the journey time compared to slabbing it on the Autoroute (motorway). However, rather than hours of hedges and concrete barriers, the N-routes provide a scenic way to see some local culture and makes you feel more connected with the country.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We stopped to fill up in Hazelbrouck. Two bikers came racing up the road, nearly colliding into each other, then skidded to a stop and began to scream at each other. Not sure what to make of that and, judging from the faces of everyone around including the woman behind the counter in the petrol station, neither did they... Then, just as quickly, they hopped back on their bikes and tore off.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Fuel stop in Hazelbrouck, somewhere between Calais and Lille</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-M8u2QEsDZHU/Ucrp-flzHFI/AAAAAAAAAg0/xzjygk487QQ/s640/blogger-image-935460734.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-M8u2QEsDZHU/Ucrp-flzHFI/AAAAAAAAAg0/xzjygk487QQ/s640/blogger-image-935460734.jpg"></a></div></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">As good a seat as any...</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-SjddPf1poHc/Ucrp759ECKI/AAAAAAAAAgs/KrFHVbK1lz0/s640/blogger-image--1333924226.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-SjddPf1poHc/Ucrp759ECKI/AAAAAAAAAgs/KrFHVbK1lz0/s640/blogger-image--1333924226.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We arrived at Tom's around 6pm, a good two hours later than expected. Living in a traditional northeastern French building with steep and narrow circling flights of stairs, he kindly helped carry our panniers up 3 flights to his flat. We were shortly joined by two of his friends for a delicious grilled dinner and plenty of conversation over ales. We couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome to France and finally got to sleep around 2am. Thank you again Tom!</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">A warm arrival.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OhJ7vnWR9TQ/Ucrp4mdyLDI/AAAAAAAAAgk/eltE_67Hxvg/s640/blogger-image--1709114299.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OhJ7vnWR9TQ/Ucrp4mdyLDI/AAAAAAAAAgk/eltE_67Hxvg/s640/blogger-image--1709114299.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div></div></div></div></div></div>
    #15
  16. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
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    <div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><a href="file:///var/mobile/Applications/C180A146-9086-4E24-9BAE-BECB6B00812D/Documents/Blogger/blogger-image--185853294.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "></a><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Needless to say, it was somewhat easier to bring the panniers down the 3 flights and we set off around 10am the next morning, with a couple beautiful baguette sandwiches courtesy of Tom. I discovered a truly annoying quirk of my GPS when using preprogrammed routes. It likes to navigate you to the start of the route&#8212;in this case the geographical centre point of Lille&#8212;unless you can find a road along the programmed route. At home this is easy, but in foreign territory somewhat less so, and we ended up doing a needless loop through central Lille in Monday morning traffic.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">45 minutes later we were heading out of Lille and then into Belgium. The rumours are true, they may as well not bother with a sign when you cross the open border, as the roads go from French perfection to war-torn as though someone flipped a switch.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">I'm not sure if everyone in Belgium is currently on their holidays but many of the villages and towns we went through looked almost boarded up, with no people walking along and very few cars parked beside the roads.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Stopped to stimulate blood-flow through numb bottoms</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oOMN9m_CFug/UcruwbXvtiI/AAAAAAAAAlk/2yNUIsFI1po/s640/blogger-image-1633665036.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oOMN9m_CFug/UcruwbXvtiI/AAAAAAAAAlk/2yNUIsFI1po/s640/blogger-image-1633665036.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">This stretch of road had the only signs of life in the village, with a couple shops open but everywhere else looked abandonned.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oR5eHSmGuoA/UcruuTkoOHI/AAAAAAAAAlc/a6mmJH9u7Do/s640/blogger-image-980596589.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oR5eHSmGuoA/UcruuTkoOHI/AAAAAAAAAlc/a6mmJH9u7Do/s640/blogger-image-980596589.jpg"></a></div><br></div></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; ">No people to be seen.</div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-tM21vaPq8II/UcrwEY7wRxI/AAAAAAAAAmE/bg2T_MEEkFk/s640/blogger-image--1293401365.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-tM21vaPq8II/UcrwEY7wRxI/AAAAAAAAAmE/bg2T_MEEkFk/s640/blogger-image--1293401365.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; ">We stopped to fill up in Beaumont where we spoke with our first Belgians&#8212;the woman and (presumably) her daughter at the petrol station. All my initial perceptions changed, they were so welcoming and friendly, and curious about our trip. I spent about 10 minutes chatting with them&#8212;I find it heartwarming to meet people who have a genuine interest curiosity about things outside their everyday circles.</div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; ">Something that stuck me as slightly curious was that they thanked me for speaking French to them... I would never think to thank someone for speaking English to me in the UK. I always try to learn at least enough of a local language to get by, I think it's callous to expect people in other countries to accommodate me in my own language.</div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; ">A young sheep having a lie-down over the road from the petrol station in Beaumont.</div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-E8NWvwMr4wM/Ucrv96h09PI/AAAAAAAAAl0/4aBGGEvIVgo/s640/blogger-image--1222648997.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-E8NWvwMr4wM/Ucrv96h09PI/AAAAAAAAAl0/4aBGGEvIVgo/s640/blogger-image--1222648997.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">We carried on through a mix of fast roads and slow (but all riddled with holes) as the GPS threaded us toward Luxembourg. On one downhill stretch a police BMW X5 flew past, lights blazing, and a few minutes later we came across an accident where it seems a car smashed straight into a barrier. The front end had been evenly compressed up to the passenger compartment. Hopefully the occupants were ok but it was still a sobering sight knowing they undoubtedly didn't intend for their day to end up like that.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Zev started making noises about food so we diverted up a narrow country in search of a village restaurant for some of Belgium's specialty&#8212;frites. After wandering around several villages and a track through a field we came across a restaurant which, like much of the rest of the country, was closed up tight. We stayed in the gravel car park and finished our baguette sandwiches.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Temperature dropped so time to get out a few extra layers.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TiNt2W6kX-U/UcrwAZ_bsmI/AAAAAAAAAl8/B7DiWougFSU/s640/blogger-image--384884012.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TiNt2W6kX-U/UcrwAZ_bsmI/AAAAAAAAAl8/B7DiWougFSU/s640/blogger-image--384884012.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Back on the main road we carried on slaloming around the holes and before long we were at the open border to Luxembourg.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">I should reflect on the journey through Belgium. It is a beautiful country with some of the warmest and friendly people I've come across. The scenery is amazing and we both enjoyed our (short) time there. Still not sure why so many villages seemed almost uninhabited, but summer is the time when people go on holidays en-mass so perhaps someone could comment on this?</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Still in good spirits and in one piece.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Vr7xzOFstfI/UcrqguMoIXI/AAAAAAAAAhc/7KkRHxyjnug/s640/blogger-image-461026111.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Vr7xzOFstfI/UcrqguMoIXI/AAAAAAAAAhc/7KkRHxyjnug/s640/blogger-image-461026111.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world as they have no national deficit. And it shows. The roads are instantly smooth as glass and seem to be engineered to be as enjoyable as possible for bikes and cars alike with endless and perfectly banked curves threading along the hills.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Every village looked like a movie set, immaculately presented without a single chocolate bar wrapper or cigarette butt to be seen. Every building seemed to be coated in a fresh lick of paint and everything seemed to coordinate together from the buildings to the gardens. Coming from London it was practically a culture shock.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Somewhere in rural Luxembourg resting the bottoms.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LxIizK9coG0/UcrqiShvX9I/AAAAAAAAAhk/pZUkRQaHh3w/s640/blogger-image--1569015537.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LxIizK9coG0/UcrqiShvX9I/AAAAAAAAAhk/pZUkRQaHh3w/s640/blogger-image--1569015537.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">It only took about 2 hours to cross the country from top to bottom but Luxembourg has earned a spot on my 'must visit again' list.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">I've barely mentioned two words about the bike and this is high praise indeed. It carried on with its duties, fully loaded, without so much as a burp. The F800GS is no muscle bike but even loaded up to its limit you never lack power in any way. So far on this trip I have averaged 60mpg on the dot according to the onboard computer&#8212;certainly nothing to complain about.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">If I had to whinge about something, it would be the seat. The comfort seat is a million years ahead of the standard plank, which is stricter than a German head teacher administering a rap on the knuckles with a ruler, but I still find myself needing to disembark at least once every two hours.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The SPOT Connect is a different matter, however I seem to have learned its quirks now. If I did it again, I would have bought the standard version without Bluetooth connectivity. Unless the app is running in the foreground on the smartphone, the SPOT seems to stop tracking. As a result there are several gaps in the map. Also, the unit requires you to press the power button once every two hours to maintain the tracking function. Annoying.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">I filled up with petrol in Luxembourg (city) where fuel is around 30-40 cents cheaper per litre, another sign of a country without a national deficit. The people were friendly, but perhaps not quite as warm as the Belgians.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We were back in France without even knowing it, as I didn't see the open border sign. Still 250km from Ammerschwihr, we were feeling tired and decided to find a hotel. One of the most useful apps on my phone for travelling has to be 'Booking Tonight' from booking.com. Hotels with vacancies will publish reduced rates in an effort to fill their last available rooms, often at discounts up to 75%. I found a hotel for &#8364;33 8km away in Hagondange so we headed straight over.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The hotel was not what you would call luxurious, but it did the job and the patronne was a lovely older French lady so I was sold. It had semi-secured parking for the bike and a pizza place was round the corner so we bought a couple take-away pizzas to bring back to the hotel. Despite internet access I was too tired to write so passed out until the next morning.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Always prefer to have the bike in sight from my room.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WCm_I1_LGf0/Ucrqec4BQiI/AAAAAAAAAhU/oYgvXjJdCJY/s640/blogger-image-1546936143.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WCm_I1_LGf0/Ucrqec4BQiI/AAAAAAAAAhU/oYgvXjJdCJY/s640/blogger-image-1546936143.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">A wider view of the semi-secured car park.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-88nOeIDbtzc/UcrqkK16BmI/AAAAAAAAAhs/GrAH0YiWfWk/s640/blogger-image--937331915.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-88nOeIDbtzc/UcrqkK16BmI/AAAAAAAAAhs/GrAH0YiWfWk/s640/blogger-image--937331915.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">And in HDR for the surrealists</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EborTOVxKXc/UcrzNuWOHOI/AAAAAAAAAmU/plB9wxbd7J4/s640/blogger-image--1495656140.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EborTOVxKXc/UcrzNuWOHOI/AAAAAAAAAmU/plB9wxbd7J4/s640/blogger-image--1495656140.jpg"></a></div><br></div></div></div></div></div><div><br></div></div></div></div>
    #16
  17. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,207
    Location:
    Battersea (London) UK
    <div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We woke up at 9am and checked out by 10. I had messaged Tom the night before to say we had made it to our next stop in one piece and prematurely gloated about the lack of rain. Of course it was raining this morning—lesson to self: never tempt fate.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">By this point we were only 200km from Ammerschwihr but little did I know it would take nearly 5 hours to cover that distance. The Alsace is a mountainous region with tiny roads, unless you opt to slab it down the Autoroute (we didn't).</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We searched for a boulangerie in a village, only to circle three times before seeing it tucked among the other buildings. We had freshly baked quiches and pain-au-chocolats. I don't know how the French do it, but you can never find pastry so light and delicious outside of France. And the bakeries seem to be absolutely consistent, the quality is the same wherever you are.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The rougher end of the village.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gV3KxOjLlH4/UcrsAagyzpI/AAAAAAAAAjU/RAHzo28Xd-8/s640/blogger-image--271238180.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gV3KxOjLlH4/UcrsAagyzpI/AAAAAAAAAjU/RAHzo28Xd-8/s640/blogger-image--271238180.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">As we left the village the floodgates opened and we endured the next hour in a downpour. My Icon gear is the first I've had from this brand and I can happily report that it does indeed live up to the advertising. Not a drop of water came in.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">After a few faster roads the GPS sent me up a mountain track. This road was barely wide enough for two motorbikes to pass let alone a car and it appeared to be formed out of shingles of asphalt. But the scenery was absolutely stunning, you could almost taste the green.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Inevitable 'comfort' break.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-uPb4IJrxlaA/UcrsZaOt1AI/AAAAAAAAAk0/BPi8xlTjEMs/s640/blogger-image-1514465258.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-uPb4IJrxlaA/UcrsZaOt1AI/AAAAAAAAAk0/BPi8xlTjEMs/s640/blogger-image-1514465258.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Lush Alsatian woods.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-J_xZRDtAwtc/UcrsTTgkJkI/AAAAAAAAAkc/SI3xk9I4wLU/s640/blogger-image-1319391261.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-J_xZRDtAwtc/UcrsTTgkJkI/AAAAAAAAAkc/SI3xk9I4wLU/s640/blogger-image-1319391261.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Trees older than any of us.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cKXsjAcE_XA/UcrsEkJer-I/AAAAAAAAAjk/2Cf8Yp8MvIQ/s640/blogger-image--924749028.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cKXsjAcE_XA/UcrsEkJer-I/AAAAAAAAAjk/2Cf8Yp8MvIQ/s640/blogger-image--924749028.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">After such a long winter this year, everything has exploded in green.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-z_omDDL4Ycg/UcrsPdyGRsI/AAAAAAAAAkM/e2Qwt6utR_w/s640/blogger-image-545406622.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-z_omDDL4Ycg/UcrsPdyGRsI/AAAAAAAAAkM/e2Qwt6utR_w/s640/blogger-image-545406622.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Out the other end we came to a beautiful twisty mountain road (I was told later it is a destination road for bikers) and carried on to Ammerschwihr. With only 5km to go, like magic we came out of the mountains into a valley of vineyards and even the sun started peaking out from the clouds. The air had the scent of grape flowers, a musty, earthy smell that reminds me of summer.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We arrived at my friend Laure's family winery and after a warm welcome, moved the panniers into their guesthouse.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">A day late but mission accomplished—made it to J B Adam winery.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--v82XOqkY9A/Ucrsf47nL1I/AAAAAAAAAlM/ivQMTEH4oM0/s640/blogger-image-2069959126.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--v82XOqkY9A/Ucrsf47nL1I/AAAAAAAAAlM/ivQMTEH4oM0/s640/blogger-image-2069959126.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">One-upping Naomi Campbell.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-cRJ5s3zP_bE/UcrsCK_F_1I/AAAAAAAAAjc/LQsFg-GZiTg/s640/blogger-image-519809578.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-cRJ5s3zP_bE/UcrsCK_F_1I/AAAAAAAAAjc/LQsFg-GZiTg/s640/blogger-image-519809578.jpg"></a></div></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Another view of J B Adam winery.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-FfMrX9jI1Ng/Ucrru4BMKrI/AAAAAAAAAiM/0D1dQylRo6s/s640/blogger-image-1262883580.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-FfMrX9jI1Ng/Ucrru4BMKrI/AAAAAAAAAiM/0D1dQylRo6s/s640/blogger-image-1262883580.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; ">399 years after inception, the one of the winery buildings becomes a make-shift shelter for a lone F800GS.</div><div class="separator" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZrjaPpZdo_k/UcrsXNyMnzI/AAAAAAAAAks/do1r7WLab00/s640/blogger-image--1199904058.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZrjaPpZdo_k/UcrsXNyMnzI/AAAAAAAAAks/do1r7WLab00/s640/blogger-image--1199904058.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">Laure wanted to show us around Kaysersberg, a picturesque Alsatian village 5 minutes from Ammerschwihr so we loaded into her fancy 4x4 and set off. I felt so oddly disconnected to reality riding in a car again, almost as though you're not moving.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; "><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; ">15 generations from the founding Adam, the lovely Laure carries on the family tradition.</div></div></div></div><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-260zxY_1JME/UcrsIwc_cHI/AAAAAAAAAj0/AI5sGxis7T0/s640/blogger-image-172264388.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.296875); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-260zxY_1JME/UcrsIwc_cHI/AAAAAAAAAj0/AI5sGxis7T0/s640/blogger-image-172264388.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">An Alsatian trademark—storks.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-uCPReXZ4zHc/UcrsRDRhOeI/AAAAAAAAAkU/24b02ej3Ds0/s640/blogger-image--635013681.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-uCPReXZ4zHc/UcrsRDRhOeI/AAAAAAAAAkU/24b02ej3Ds0/s640/blogger-image--635013681.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The town looks like something out of a fantasy, complete with babbling brook.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7Zp614ZBZgA/Ucrrs3Mvj7I/AAAAAAAAAiE/Xwozi3HJZc4/s640/blogger-image-1133796112.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7Zp614ZBZgA/Ucrrs3Mvj7I/AAAAAAAAAiE/Xwozi3HJZc4/s640/blogger-image-1133796112.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Everywhere clean and tidy.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-jl2YHtLtqzo/UcrsVTt6Q-I/AAAAAAAAAkk/PfUjRTxR7VQ/s640/blogger-image-1704024622.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-jl2YHtLtqzo/UcrsVTt6Q-I/AAAAAAAAAkk/PfUjRTxR7VQ/s640/blogger-image-1704024622.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Rub-a-dub-dub—artisan soaps.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7pyB6fmWx3I/UcrrqdtJCxI/AAAAAAAAAh8/W3YcSSUwcDc/s640/blogger-image--1520058712.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7pyB6fmWx3I/UcrrqdtJCxI/AAAAAAAAAh8/W3YcSSUwcDc/s640/blogger-image--1520058712.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Ladybird, stork and cat soaps.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GdSEqIQHH_k/Ucrsds8r7QI/AAAAAAAAAlE/zTedZPPFNVc/s640/blogger-image-410469062.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.292969); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em; "><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GdSEqIQHH_k/Ucrsds8r7QI/AAAAAAAAAlE/zTedZPPFNVc/s640/blogger-image-410469062.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Cobblestone roads.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XVHbCZ4MCvc/Ucrr02ON9RI/AAAAAAAAAik/XEt5jEREgdI/s640/blogger-image--981982220.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XVHbCZ4MCvc/Ucrr02ON9RI/AAAAAAAAAik/XEt5jEREgdI/s640/blogger-image--981982220.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">A little waterfall.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6YD9LpZi4-k/UcrsHEbqbLI/AAAAAAAAAjs/BAUtj5qkeBw/s640/blogger-image-950601502.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6YD9LpZi4-k/UcrsHEbqbLI/AAAAAAAAAjs/BAUtj5qkeBw/s640/blogger-image-950601502.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Laure gets handy with the camera.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-gPW60XyNQNs/Ucrry-_HKjI/AAAAAAAAAic/EQZ37v0rBmo/s640/blogger-image-765211354.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-gPW60XyNQNs/Ucrry-_HKjI/AAAAAAAAAic/EQZ37v0rBmo/s640/blogger-image-765211354.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">One beautiful street after another.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ShuhZ7gp2Bg/UcrsNONfOpI/AAAAAAAAAkE/mUXQusYmudc/s640/blogger-image-1506191127.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ShuhZ7gp2Bg/UcrsNONfOpI/AAAAAAAAAkE/mUXQusYmudc/s640/blogger-image-1506191127.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div>Everywhere you look is immaculate.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SQHDkDvvcpU/Ucrrw7YR7SI/AAAAAAAAAiU/qseTUPM3qzc/s640/blogger-image--263101680.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SQHDkDvvcpU/Ucrrw7YR7SI/AAAAAAAAAiU/qseTUPM3qzc/s640/blogger-image--263101680.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Laure and Zev contemplate the most effective way to caloric overindulgence with a full range of Alsatian spiced bread treats.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Sz3ChA3VxTw/Ucrr2wGokdI/AAAAAAAAAis/U0m0KRSVJro/s640/blogger-image-949098392.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Sz3ChA3VxTw/Ucrr2wGokdI/AAAAAAAAAis/U0m0KRSVJro/s640/blogger-image-949098392.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Constantine Fountain built in 1321.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2wfhxFdSyzY/Ucrr-eCHUeI/AAAAAAAAAjM/tGjNPcHnQYM/s640/blogger-image-270805649.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2wfhxFdSyzY/Ucrr-eCHUeI/AAAAAAAAAjM/tGjNPcHnQYM/s640/blogger-image-270805649.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Alsatian butchers—too much temptation for anyone with a soft spot for wurst.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dB35Qii7Vwg/Ucrr4qLDT4I/AAAAAAAAAi0/gppyvk-Vtk4/s640/blogger-image-329553905.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dB35Qii7Vwg/Ucrr4qLDT4I/AAAAAAAAAi0/gppyvk-Vtk4/s640/blogger-image-329553905.jpg"></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Leaving the town.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eL6BIsjFrj0/Ucrr69zxpuI/AAAAAAAAAi8/EXZO3kee3t0/s640/blogger-image-1580136559.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eL6BIsjFrj0/Ucrr69zxpuI/AAAAAAAAAi8/EXZO3kee3t0/s640/blogger-image-1580136559.jpg"></a></div></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We headed back to the winery to get ready to go to L'empereur de la tarte flambée, a restaurant in nearby Kintzheim, which apparently serves the best tarte flambée in the Alsace. But not before a late night private wine tasting of J B Adam's best.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">Muscat the winery puss.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-bDJk7-inOyk/Ucrr8slAD5I/AAAAAAAAAjE/L9SmOsux7NI/s640/blogger-image-1787983032.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-bDJk7-inOyk/Ucrr8slAD5I/AAAAAAAAAjE/L9SmOsux7NI/s640/blogger-image-1787983032.jpg"></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">A private late night extended wine tasting courtesy of Laure.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-xI9euHcsDt8/UcrsK7ncxFI/AAAAAAAAAj8/vbS-snIbIb0/s640/blogger-image--160391655.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-xI9euHcsDt8/UcrsK7ncxFI/AAAAAAAAAj8/vbS-snIbIb0/s640/blogger-image--160391655.jpg"></a></div><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">This bottle will do...</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-g91xT6b13RA/UcrsbaTymPI/AAAAAAAAAk8/6RJ-jVWPjtE/s640/blogger-image--1430085580.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-g91xT6b13RA/UcrsbaTymPI/AAAAAAAAAk8/6RJ-jVWPjtE/s640/blogger-image--1430085580.jpg"></a></div><br></div>We went to the restaurant and had far too much to eat and drink. Tarte flambée is the Alsatian answer to pizza—a thin crust with cheese, cream, onions and lardons fired in an impossibly hot oven until the edges are singed. Absolutely devine.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;">We arrived back at the guesthouse around 11pm and it was straight to sleep.</div>
    #17
  18. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,203
    Location:
    Kingdom of Belgium
    Lovely report.
    But Alsace? Are you sure it's real? Looks almost as if you rode through the wardrobe and ended up on the "other side" :wink:

    Good story. Try to stay dry. On the outside :freaky
    #18
  19. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,207
    Location:
    Battersea (London) UK
    The Alsace has been like something out of a storybook, it's really quite amazing!

    Hit a few rainstorms and so far the gear has held up as advertised... I know Icon has something of a bad rap on these forums but I like their stuff and it has performed as advertised, can't ask for anything more! The helmet is particularly good in the wet as the odd shaped visor combined with the peak forces the raindrops off the side, I've never had a helmet that felt so safe in bad weather.
    #19
  20. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,207
    Location:
    Battersea (London) UK
    Today was meant to a lazy day and we finally dragged our lazy arses out of our beds at noon. Despite the open window I slept through all the crashing and banging going on outside as part of the day to day running of the winery.

    We were treated to homemade choucroute garnie&nbsp;courtesy of Laure's mum—this is a regional specialty of the Alsace which consists of meats/sausages cooked in sauerkraut. It's like the German version with a French twist. A lot of the food in the region combines German and French cuisine and cooking techniques which is just fine with me!

    Pinot the other winery cat has a lie-down on the balcony ledge—he certainly had a lot of 'personality', grumpy face says it all.
    <a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BrgXbtuzawg/Ucy9c6MMaDI/AAAAAAAAAoM/Ly4mBfXkTCw/s1600/photo+1.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="480" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BrgXbtuzawg/Ucy9c6MMaDI/AAAAAAAAAoM/Ly4mBfXkTCw/s640/photo+1.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    After lunch we went off on the bike (much lighter without the panniers) to explore some of the local villages and forest roads. In Riquewihr we came across a very confident stork who was perfectly happy to pose for the camera.

    Not bothered.
    <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-chboBKFifRA/Ucy9dWqcm0I/AAAAAAAAAoU/zBi7e_mC9ow/s1600/photo+2.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-chboBKFifRA/Ucy9dWqcm0I/AAAAAAAAAoU/zBi7e_mC9ow/s640/photo+2.JPG" width="480" /></a>

    Most of the roads going up into the mountains are single track, making it tight for even a bike to pass an oncoming car. They tend to be rather unforgiving since the only exit if things go horribly wrong is into the trees, not ideal.

    Made it up in one piece, although it was a shame the dirt/gravel forestry roads were closed to the public.
    <a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k0MuinU2Vns/Ucy2soU_swI/AAAAAAAAAm0/2zMQ6_94zvg/s1600/DSC_6482.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k0MuinU2Vns/Ucy2soU_swI/AAAAAAAAAm0/2zMQ6_94zvg/s640/DSC_6482.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    Coming down a particularly narrow lane the view was breathtaking in a way that just doesn't translate in photos.
    <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--nx6Lx3VwAA/Ucy2pR95AvI/AAAAAAAAAms/H-7Rn3Rn-Zo/s1600/DSC_6487.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--nx6Lx3VwAA/Ucy2pR95AvI/AAAAAAAAAms/H-7Rn3Rn-Zo/s640/DSC_6487.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    Indeed, a bench had been installed just in case someone wanted to stop to enjoy the view.
    <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1Ur0tAP2Ukw/Ucy2mBUW3zI/AAAAAAAAAmk/abeRBri0Iy0/s1600/DSC_6489.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1Ur0tAP2Ukw/Ucy2mBUW3zI/AAAAAAAAAmk/abeRBri0Iy0/s640/DSC_6489.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    After several hours we returned to the winery for a tour of the cellars.

    Barrels are all 100+ years old.
    <a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YMVDoPr06vE/Ucy3uWymJ0I/AAAAAAAAAnU/qaKHV-C1zqo/s1600/DSC_6512.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YMVDoPr06vE/Ucy3uWymJ0I/AAAAAAAAAnU/qaKHV-C1zqo/s640/DSC_6512.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    Crystalised acids from the grapes which are in demand by pharmaceutical companies.
    <a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uf943LDMGPg/Ucy3o8lIzBI/AAAAAAAAAnE/M4jaPwG1DCE/s1600/DSC_6526.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uf943LDMGPg/Ucy3o8lIzBI/AAAAAAAAAnE/M4jaPwG1DCE/s640/DSC_6526.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    From a time where form and function played equal parts.
    <a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dJgKnxc7rMo/Ucy3pV-15SI/AAAAAAAAAnM/EjEkqevt1X0/s1600/DSC_6527.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dJgKnxc7rMo/Ucy3pV-15SI/AAAAAAAAAnM/EjEkqevt1X0/s640/DSC_6527.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    7,000 litres of grog.
    <a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KpiCP8fl6eM/Ucy4uEnfZYI/AAAAAAAAAno/pAVBXEHQLJI/s1600/DSC_6531.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KpiCP8fl6eM/Ucy4uEnfZYI/AAAAAAAAAno/pAVBXEHQLJI/s640/DSC_6531.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    Looking toward the tasting room.
    <a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GiytSQhrHYM/Ucy4lGeZ_TI/AAAAAAAAAng/5JZAbC5KbLk/s1600/DSC_6535.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GiytSQhrHYM/Ucy4lGeZ_TI/AAAAAAAAAng/5JZAbC5KbLk/s640/DSC_6535.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    How they used to press the grapes.
    <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-K1kWuxHiUf0/Ucy4uPHGtRI/AAAAAAAAAn0/SPW-q9-eq4I/s1600/DSC_6549.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-K1kWuxHiUf0/Ucy4uPHGtRI/AAAAAAAAAn0/SPW-q9-eq4I/s640/DSC_6549.jpg" width="422" /></a>

    Quirky plant arrangement.
    <a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vBfVThD7pr0/Ucy5Qt3LhlI/AAAAAAAAAn4/SidQ-Vsiy5s/s1600/DSC_6555.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="423" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vBfVThD7pr0/Ucy5Qt3LhlI/AAAAAAAAAn4/SidQ-Vsiy5s/s640/DSC_6555.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    We had a final wine tasting to try Gewürztraminer speciality wines which are only made every 10 years or so. The late season grapes are hand picked when the sugar content is at the highest and only a few hundred bottles are made. These are very special wines indeed and taste like nothing else, like a liquid fruit basket. I still can't comprehend how a few grapes can end up tasting like a basket of fruit.

    Comfortably numb we set off for bed.
    #20