Location: Paris, France
Luffies 2011 European Travel Diary
27th July - 30th July
27th July: Day 38
We have Reached the penultimate day in France. Fly home tomorrow so making the most of it. Time to pack the bikes away, what joy I find doing this...would pay someone to do it if I thought they'd do it properly. Anyway had breakfast and then took over the hotel lobby as this was the only decent space we could find, rooms far too small. Took abbot 1.5 hrs but got there eventually.....do the packing differently every time....Thought I was bad...BP has every bit of packing named so it goes back in the same spot..dear oh dear. Anyway got out of the hotel late morning, hired a couple of Velibs and headed to Notre Dame. Cue'd up for 10 mins and we were in, never went inside last time I was here, very impressive, been there for 900 odd years, can't believe something could stand that long, think it will be there another 900 no worries. Rode off down the street to get away from the bloody Tourists, had a beer and Pizza for lunch, very nice too, some hairy fish on one of them, Jambon (ham) on the other. BP headed for the Louve while I rode home to start packing, BP never got to the Loueve and I never got to the packing. Rained late arvo so BP got wet and couldn't find a place to park Velib so decided to come back to the hotel. Spent some time shopping and packing late afternoon and was time for a beer and a final curry in Paris.
Very nice meal, had an ice cream and wandered along enjoying the sites. A lot of people out and about, really impressed with this area (Bastille) and definitely want to come back.
28th July: Day 39
That's it, the final day in Paris. Have arranged a half day tour out to Monet's Garden at a place called Giveney (spelling ??) about 70k west of Paris. Was great to get out of the hustle and bussel of Paris for a fow hours. Stored bags with the Hotel and picked up 7.45am. Driver had a bit of attitude but stopped to pick up a few more people and headed out. Screaming along the motorway at 140 kph with a dodgy sounding van and full load of people, anyway made it. The garden is wonderful, can't get to some of it but to most of it, photo's don't do it justice as most of them don't in France. Really is a fantastic place (France) they say everyone has a home in France and where else their unlucky enough to live, very true in some ways. Can't think of anywhere else I'd rather spend 6 weeks.
Anyway wandered around the gardens for a few hours and back on the bus for a fast trip back to Paris. Had lunch up the road from the hotel, had a haircut, gotta look good to go home, had a wander around and back to the hotel to change. Shuttle was early but all good, rather get there in plenty of time, dropped BP off at terminal 1 for his flight to Ireland then on to terminal 2C for Emirates. Was strange saying goodbye to BP, had 6 weeks together without a cross word, dunno how he put up with me, had a great time, really is a great traveling companion, hope he enjoys Ireland. Into the Emirates Lounge for a few beers, shower and onto the plane. 3.5 hrs later still sitting on the Tarmac, technical issue first up then a medical issue, dragged the lady off and then her luggage, after about 2 hrs we moved from the dock about 10m, stopped then returned, shortest flight ever, had to remove more luggage. Anyway got going after nearly 4 hrs on the ground, watched 2 movies while waiting so ready for bed, got about 4 hrs sleep on the way to Dubia. Had about 40mins to get to next flight, piss me off, wanted to do some shopping for precious and have a shower, all that down the toilet. Just glad I made the flight to Brisbane, flight slightly delayed because of late passengers luggage needed to be loaded, me being one of them I'm guessing, hope the Cannondale's on board. Makes a change not writing thin close to midnight like I've been doing over the last 6 weeks or so. Doing. this 36000ft above the Indian ocean on the way to Brissy, can't wait to get home to Maria, she's had a tough time while I've been away, losing 2 dogs and all the other little hassles she's had to deal with.....she'll have to come with me next time. In the middle of dinner so will finish that and try to get more sleep. Flight nearly 14hrs.
Got back to Brisbane about 10mins early, had to open up the bike bag so they could check the tyres for French dirt but all ok. Bid hugs and kisses from Maria, great to be back. had a great holiday but no place like home. Got a note from one of the guides to say that Bruno the bus driver is well on the mend although he can't remeber the ride at all let alone the fall.
Location: Paris, France
Luffies 2011 European Travel Diary
22nd July - 26th July
22nd July: Day 33
Today was the final stage of the tour in the Alps, tomorrow Is the Individual Time Trial in Grenoble. Not sure of the final standings after today but Thomas Voeckler has lost the Yellow Jersey after about 10 days, great effort even if he's on the juice as some people think.
Started the day by riding from out Hotel in Claviere, Italy to Burg n sains at the base of Alpe du Heuz. A ride of about 80k , about 25k up hill to Col du Lautaret then the rest downhill, great ride with fantastic scenery, climbed most of the way with a bunch of Poms. Had a quick bite to eat at Col du Lautaret then a 40k ride to Burg-d'Oisans downhill. Quick change and wandered into town from where the bus was parked and meet Bob and Col, a quick bite to eat and then wandered up the hill to find a spot to watch the race go through. Was up on a bank about 1.5k's up, not the most comfortable, sun came over so we cooked for a while but a "Zepher" kicked in so wasn't too bad. Race came through just after 5.00pm, got some good shots but never 100% happy with them. Wandered back to the bus, a few quick beers then on the bus for the trip to our hotel Palladior in Voiron, not far from Grenoble. Dinner been put back to 9.15pm, some people went shopping after the race so a big day out turned bigger.
Note: Some of these attached pics have a blurry spot, that's caused by the sweat getting in while it's in my bike jersey.
23rd July: Day 34
Left Hotel in Voiron for the TGV station in Lyon, very impressive building, for the trip to Paris. Had a 2 hr wait for the train, had to get the bus away early so that our luggage gets to Paris at a reasonable time.
Le Tour has come down to a few seconds after nearly 4000k of racing.
Well he did it....Cadels in yellow, fantastic effort, makes you proud to be an Aussie......??
Rooms not ready so had a few beers in the pub bar then went and found a pub to watch Cadels. Had lunch, was a great atmosphere, the locals joined in as well. Went for a walk with the boys down to the Seine and back to hotel to get changed for dinner.
Went to final Tour Dinner at "Le Train Bleu" Restaurant above Gare de Lyon Railway Station, food was ordinary but building was magnificent.
24th July: Day 35
Well he did it, Cadel's won Le Tour de France in 2011. What great day to be an Aussie in Paris, even had a tear in my eye when they played the National Anthem. Started the day with a ride up the Champs Élysées and a photo shoot. Back to the hotel for breakfast...one of the boys suggested we go to a market down Bastille way so hire Velib bikes, what a hassle to get them sorted but got 6 eventually and off we went. Bought some pressies for home, had to be back at the hotel to catch the bus in to town.
The VIP tent was fantastic, not too many seats but soon got sorted, heaps of people but a great spot, cost A$690 for the day but was well worth it. Got some great shots of Cadel racing and after his win, pure arse I was there when he was being interviewed by Phil and Paul. Back to Hotel and 9 of us out for a curry and a few beers, it's nearly midnight and doing this, moving on tomorrow to another hotel for the rest of our stay in Paris, it's in Bastille.
25th July: Day 36
A bit of back to reality today, had to move out of the Novatel Bercy and back to our original Hotel the Paname in Bastille. Got a taxi to drive us back and forth, rode our bikes, then got him to drop us off at the Australian Embassy to pick up our new passports.....all good. Walked across the Seine, picked up a couple of rental bikes and rode down the Champes Eleyesse looking for some Tour de France stuff but no joy. BP did some shopping at the Alligator shop, then we Rode back to Bastille and found our original Indian Restaurant, let the guides and few others know, had an hour or so at the hotel then back to the curry shop. Had a good night and a great meal, guides all hired "Velibs" to ride back to the hotel with....what a circus, BP & I retired to a bar and had a couple of night caps before retiring to bed. Thought we were going to be locked out of hotel untill BP found a buzzer so we could get back in
26th July: Day 37
Decided to try and get some authentic bike gear today. Tour guides recommended a place called cycles Laurent on the Bld Voltaire. Hired some bikes and went and collect Rob, one of the guys on the tour. Managed to find the place after stopping every couple of 100 meters to check the map. Bought some nice gear with a real Parisian look. Cedric from the shop filled in taxs form so we can get the sales tax bak at the airport.
Rob wanted to go to another bike shop the other side of the Arc' so had to navigate into town and up the Champs Eleysees. Anyway found it eventually, I didn't buy anything (bit unusual for me) Rob had to catch the Metro back as he had a plane to catch back home so we decided to have a beer and lunch. Wandered up the road and did some window shopping then caught the Metro back to Bastille.Velib back to hotel. BP posted some stuff home while I did the laundry.....only needed a few things to get me home. Meet for a couple of Margiritas at the Cafe Mexico across the road from hotel, then decided to do some shopping for dinner.
Since I was here in 2008 I've always wanted to take dinner down to Sienne and watch the tour boats while I had dinner so we bought some bread, cheese, smoked salmon, olives, beer and 2001 (for less than 10) red etc and rode down to the river. Had great time watching the world go by, a little rain but all good, another ticked box. Hire more bikes and back to hotel, another Margirita and into bed, after I've done this.