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New Zealand, Fantastic Glaciers

 

After a great day on the boat we woke up to another beautiful day for riding and headed south. We were turning inland on State Highway 7 to Hamner Springs and Lewis Pass. It’s the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps, it is higher than the Haast Pass, slightly lower than Arthur’s Pass and second in elevation at 864 meters.

Our stop for the night would be Hamner Springs, so we passed by the turnoff and headed for a ride over the pass where we would grab something to eat and then backtrack over the pass again. The ride was beautiful with lower pastureland progressing to vistas above the cloud levels.

Arriving to town later in the day and with a forecast for rain, we decided to spend a couple nights and go to Hamner Hot Springs the following day. The Hot Springs are a complex of pools, some rock and some concrete, with varying water temperatures from the mid 90’s to over 104 degrees. It was a wonderful time just relaxing and soaking in the therapeutic waters. The downtown area was charming reminiscent of a small New England town. As we were walking through town we were overcome with the desire to sample a coffee and wonderful homemade scone while sitting at a small table on the sidewalk.

It’s overcast and threatening rain in the morning as we pack up and head south toward an Airbnb in Timaru. Arriving to town it is pouring buckets and we are both drenched to the bone and having a difficult time finding our Airbnb. Finally, we locate it and our host shows us in not real concerned about the puddles that quickly form around us. Showing us to our room he says not to worry about paperwork right now, just to get dry and warm up with a cup of tea. A couple other guys are staying also, friends from Austria and Germany. We end up in a conversation about the world wars and we are amazed how little we know about this subject. As the discussion progresses our New Zealand host gets on his computer, which is connected to a big TV, and starts pulling up maps and border changes for the past several hundred years throughout Europe. The discussion is super interesting and we walk away amazed at how much wasn’t taught to us in school and how much we take away from this spirited 2-hour discussion.

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The night sees the rain end and our ride to Tekapo and Mount Cook promises to be fantastic. Riding into town the views from the south side of Lake Tekapo looking north are amazing and we find a campsite near the edge of the water on a little bluff looking down on the beach. Perfect!

Near Tekapo, the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory (UCMJO) has an astronomical research observatory. It is situated at 1,029 meters atop Mount John. In June 2012, an area of 1,700 sq. miles around the observatory was declared as the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, one of only four such reserves around the world. This is home to many telescopes, including HERCULES (High Efficiency and Resolution Canterbury University Large Echelle Spectrograph), and the observational wing of the Japanese/New Zealand MOA collaboration (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics). Wow, this is quite a place and the views of the only small town around are incredible with views of the lake, snow caps peaks and glaciers, and the blue sky each commanding their own piece of the beauty. While we are at the observatory we hear an American accent. It happens to be an American doctor and his family. He is a ER physician, practicing in Australia, on vacation to New Zealand with his wife and three kids. We talk for a bit and his wife who is a nurse used to work at the very hospital I was born at in Cooperstown, New York.

Getting back to camp we see a car coming down the road and it’s our friends that were staying in Timaru the night before. They go and catch a soak at the nearby springs and come back, setting up their tents beside ours. Setting out our solar Lucy light as our campfire, we finish off a bottle of Scotch, talking into the night.

Before leaving in the morning we connect with FB and head out for a visit to Hooker Glacier on Mount Cook. Again, the views are incredible with blue skies and we ride along the west side of Lake Pukaki on Mount Cook Road with the views of the glaciers in front of us getting larger around every corner as we get closer and closer.

Finally, at the end of the lake the Hooker Glacier looms ahead of us, thrusting up into the clouds and down to where it finally meets the land. The road ends at the Aoraki Mount Cook Village and we stop in for a coffee on the deck of the Hermitage Hotel, with views of the glacier right in front of us.

Wanting to stay on the coast again we push on and start following the Waitaki River and decide that a short cut is in order to save some time. Turning at Duntroon we set off on a good road that soon turns to dirt and twists and turns, up and down over what I find out is Danseys Pass and one of the prettiest passes in all New Zealand. Our short cut turns out to be much more time, but the beauty and stopping to get pictures is the cause. Mid-way through we stop at the first place we have seen, the Danseys Pass Coach Inn, for a drink. They are getting ready for an event and are too busy to even get us a glass of water. Hmmm!

There was a nice campground in Moeraki on a hill overlooking the ocean and beach that we wanted to try. After setting up camp and cooking supper we wandered down to the beach for a stroll. As we walked down the beach with the setting sun, the wail of the pipes could be heard in the distance. A solo bagpiper was facing the sunset and playing “Amazing Grace”, one of my Dad’s favorites, on the pipes. As Melanie and I stood silently watching and listening, with a warm heart, I could feel the spirit of my Dad standing beside me. Such a great moment to enjoy.DSCF2333

The Pipes are Calling (click for video)

Stopping in Dunedin again we had decided to take the Taieri Gorge Railways from the historic Dunedin Railway Station. This station was built in 1906 to serve the railway that had already been in operation between Christchurch and Dunedin and, in 2006, was recognized by DK Eyewitness Travel as one of “The World’s 200 Must-See Places”. The building is Flemish renaissance style and is constructed of dark basalt from Kokonga in the Strath-Taieri with lighter Oamaru stone facings, giving it the distinctive light and dark pattern common to many of the grander buildings of Dunedin and Christchurch. The southern end is dominated by the 37-meter clock tower visible from much of central Dunedin.

The ride we were taking would leave Dunedin and pass through Taieri Gorge, negotiating this narrow and exhilarating river gorge and awesome landscapes and literally turning around in Pukerangi, making its way back to Dunedin. The carriages were all original, built around 1915, and had been restored to their previous elegance. It was a wonderful journey full of incredible vistas and surprises around every corner.

After the train ride, we headed north toward Oamaru where we would camp for the night and have an opportunity to see the small Blue-Eyed penguins come to shore in the dark after being at sea all day. We got to the road which they cross before dark, and soon there was one, then two until a several all stopped at the edge of the road, then waddled across, headed to their homes on the side of the hills.

 

Our trip was almost over so we took the bike back to Lindsey’s friend’s house and headed to Christchurch for a couple days, sightseeing and relaxing before our five days in Fiji.

The airline we flew, Fiji Air, offered first class service and a free stopover in Fiji. We found a great hostel on the beach for only $US25 per night.

Cheers,

2WANDRRs

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Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, BMW, Horizons Unlimited, motocamping, motorcycle travel, New Zealand | Leave a comment

The Douro Valley, Portugal, and the Northern Coast of Spain

Rio Douro in the morning

Rio Douro in the early morning

The morning is clear and cool with a fog hanging out in the valleys between the green, grapevine terraced hillsides making a brilliant contrast to the bright blue sky above the layer of fog. We will ride to the northern coast of Spain today spending a couple hours riding the N-222 in the Douro valley, ranked one of the top driving roads in the world, (  http://www.avisbestroad.com/uk/the-top-25-roads/ ). The road was a perfect blend of curves and straight sections, elevation changes and perfect scenery that had us in slow-mode riding style as this was perhaps the most beautiful scenery we had encountered. The terraced hillsides of grapevines set in a patchwork quilt style. some rows facing this way, others at 90 degree angles to it’s perfect neighbor and then other just there. All of this was broken with occasional chalets and towns with the layered fog burning off slowly to reveal the beauty of the Rio Douro, cutting a ribbons path of flowing blue through the valley to the town of Pinhao.

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

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As we were coming to the village of Pinhao we pulled over on the side of road, got of the bike and sat on the moss covered stone wall bordering the Rio Douro looking toward town and, just looked. We sat at that spot in the shade of a couple large, green leafy trees not talking while we munched on an apple, just taking in one of the most beautiful sights we had seen. Villagers would pass us, walking or biking, and smile and wave on their way toward town, stopping at the bakery and market to buy fresh baked breads and fresh fish to prepare for the evening meal and visiting with friends all doing the same. The life here is simple, relaxed and refreshing. If I happen to just up and disappear some random day, look here for me first, as we will be riding, relaxing and drinking Spanish wine and Portuguese port.

Little did we know that the ride from this point north to the coast of Spain would be just as brilliant.

Rio Douro and Pinhão

Rio Douro and Pinhão

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Pinhao, Portugal

Pinhao, Portugal

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OK, time to go and we cross the bridge into town, riding slowly down the main street enjoying the village ambiance. We rode north out of town headed to the Spain border and jumped on the A-52, like an interstate highway, to make up some time. It was a beautiful ride twisting at fast speeds in and out of curves with not much traffic and we stayed on these roads for about 200 Kms. We finally got to slow back down and get on small two-lane road as we headed up toward a1400 meters pass. Almost to the top we crossed an arm of an alpine lake/ski resort and another unexpected pass following the Rio Vejo as it fought its way down through yet another canyon. The road weaved back and forth, gaining elevation with rock walls jutting out forming one side of the road, while on the other side a small river wove its way among pocket of grassy areas and old homesteads. As we came to the top of the pass we met several bikers on holiday from the Netherlands. We exchanged routes as we were both headed in different directions of things that shouldn’t be missed ahead.

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The Vojo valley below

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Top of the pass

DSCF1676 The road in front of us beckoned us as the curves were tight, unpredictable and unprotected. We pressed on, not so fast as to miss the beauty in front of us but not so slow as to miss some of the thrill associated with this kind of riding. We rode into the town of Potes and were treated with a beautiful village, cafes on the water near a bridge crossing a small river and horses with riders making their way through town.DSCF1679We headed back out of town while looking for a place to camp, finding one about 2 kms down the road. Pulling in to the camp we found a few Dutch sitting around having happy hour, drinking wine and sharing camp space. We set up camp, washed out our riding gear and headed down to the small restaurant on the stream, for Paella, just as dusk was starting to cast its long shadows across the campground. IMG_20150617_074014385

A fantastic blue skied morning greeted us as we packed up camp in anticipation of a ride to the northern coast of Spain. The road toward the coast remained fantastic all the way to the beach. We rode through a tight canyon following a stream that had cut through the rock for eons while my GPS was showing about 5 minutes to the Atlantic Ocean. We came down to the beach through the community of Lekeitio. This beautiful town surrounded a tidal bay filled with boats stuck in the sand as the tide was low with only pockets of water surrounding islands of soft muck. As we were riding across the bridge we pulled over just to take in the views and smells of the ocean, watching the people riding bike and jogging along the waterfront. I’ll say it again, the past two days have shown some of the most inspiring scenery of the ride. DSCF1684We continued on the the beach, stopping to enjoy the view and weather along the Atlantic coast on the northern coast of Spain. Yep, we said to each other, we are really here. How about a selfie.IMG_20150617_132631765 IMG_20150617_112312582_HDRWe continued our coastal drive which reminded us of the Pacific Coast Highway on the western coast of California, looking for a perfect campground to drink some wine, have dinner and watch a sunset. Along the way we passed through a town that had a suspended ferry croosing across the river. Very cool.DSCF1695 IMG_20150617_174247121_HDR

Coming around a corner we found the Camp Itxaspe. It was absolutely perfect, high on a terraced bluff overlooking the ocean. While we were eating dinner and chatting the sun started to set and I realized that from that point, high on the bluff, I would be able to watch the sun set and again rise in the morning over the Atlantic Ocean from the same spot.IMG_20150617_193902816_HDR IMG_20150617_215317598 IMG_20150617_140629474_HDR

Back at the camp after sunset our neighbor invited me over for a cigar and a drink of very rare scotch. Some people just know how to travel.

Cheers, from 2WANDRRs…

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, BMW, Dolomites, Douro Valley, Europe, France, Horizons Unlimited, motocamping, motorcycle travel, Portugal, Pyrenees, Spain, Triumph, Trophy | Leave a comment

Destination: Horizons Unlimited, Yosemite

FB_IMG_1443809542335What a fantastic week. Packing up our gear into the trailer along with the new motorcycle adventure gear that WANDRR Motorcycle Tours is carrying in North America, direct from Australia, Andy Strapz, was, and always is, so exciting that sleep evades me the night before leaving. Riding out early so as to avoid the heat of the day we, including our pup, Gypsy, rode a couple of canyons and over a couple of mountain passes while making a crooked beeline for the Pacific coast and Morro Rock.  On the lookout for wildlife the only thing we saw was a BIG, hairy Tarantula big enough to cast his own, long shadow.

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Two Up with a Pup. Gypsy is along for HU.

Under blue skies with an occasional jet contrail, the 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean came into view as we turned north on Highway 101 and we paralleled the ocean stopping in the funky little hamlet of  Cayucos for gas and tacos. This little town seems lost in time as the kids are typical SoCal from 20 years ago with surfboards, skateboards, and dogs hanging out of the windows of old VW buses.

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View of the Redwoods from our tent.

We continue to push up the coast with the views of the Pacific enticing us with what is to come. Pulling over north of San Simeon we got thinking about what life would have been like in the days that Randolph Hearst had his summer home high on the hill with incredible views and the stars of Hollywood visiting his grand castle. A couple more miles and another must stop at the Elephant Seal Vista Point. Standing by the fence and watching this huge beasts sleep, play, and fight for dominance is always a thrill. On the beach is a herd of maybe 200, from small yearlings to big bulls of over 2000 pounds, tossing sand on their backs and standing up while fighting and bellowing. What a sight as the waves crash along the shore and on the many rocks  in the surf that forms a protective barrier for the pups that are born here every spring.

Continuing along the unprotected curves, mountains and vistas that make up the PCH, CA1, we twist and turn while heading to the coastal redwood forests north of Santa Cruz, passing through Carmel By The Sea. I have been told the redwood forests here are just as nice as the ones in north California. As we turn north on Highway 9 heading north toward Boulder Creek the redwoods close in on us and force the evening light to hurry away as we find a campsite in a redwood grove with our tent completely surrounded by several trees with their huge trunks thrusting straight toward the sky, leaving a small opening for light to penetrate to us in our tent a couple hundred feet above.

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Alice’s Restaurant

Waking up to a cloud cover and deep under the redwood canopy it is so peaceful as we lay in our bags and just look up, enjoying the smells and views of these giant trees. But,alas, breakfast is calling and a trip up along Highway 35 to Alice’s Restaurant is on the list. This is not the restaurant from the song, but is an iconic stop when riding in the area. Alice’s Restaurant serves up a hearty breakfast on the wooden front porch, (Gypsy was welcome and enjoyed the sausage off my egg sandwich), with views of giant redwoods in all directions.

After eating we rode back down to the coast at Half Moon Bay, headed north across the San Francisco bridge, no tolls northbound, down to Stinson Beach, and north along the coast in an area I have missed riding for years, the Sonoma coast. This area is fantastic! The facilities are sparse and the road zigs and zags in low gear pleasure with nothing but views of the unspoiled coast and Pacific and inland woods, mountains and fields. This is where the happy cows and sheep live in California. We passed a small road motel high on the hill with a restaurant/bar and hot-tub with views of the bay as the sun dipped low into the Pacific as we sat chatting with several guests and the owner sipping our adult beverages.FB_IMG_1443809551318

Today we will make our way to Horizons Unlimited to camp with a few friends and meet some new ones. We pull into one last overlook before turning inland, high above a seal nursery in a protected area on the beach. Come spring, the babies will be born and nursed on the coastal area before moving on. Riding through Napa valley we stop for lunch at my favorite winery, V. Sattui winery, for a tasting and deli lunch in the gardens and grassy area around the buildings. We arrive to HU and find our campsite for the next four nights and dig in for a few days of meeting people, enjoying and learning during the presentations, and hearing of people quitting jobs to begin their own RTW adventures. This is a great group of people and I can’t name everybody that makes up this “family” of travelers. Some we see year to year, some are off on their own long adventures, and some we may never see again as they are traveling through and will be on to other countries. We have a great time with music, craic and grog seeming to take up the evening hours and into the night. Much too quickly the fun times come to an end and we all scatter in many different directions, like the wind.

Nevil Stow and I

Nevil Stow and I

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Lorraine Chittock

Ride safe, my friends, and see you you on the road.

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, BMW, Horizons Unlimited, motorcycle travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carcassonne and on to Spain

Today we are just enjoying the ride thru the French countryside heading toward the ancient city of Carcassonne in southern France, north of the border of Spain. We will camp tonight in the town of Trebes on the banks of the L’Aude River at Camping à l’Ombre des Micocouliers, a wonderful little campground. We are just east of Carcassonne so we can get an early start to our day tomorrow exploring this ancient city. After setting up camp and doing laundry and having a couple of drinks we walking across the arched bridge into town and found a couple cafe on the waterfront with long, narrow boats tethered to the retaining walls. We asked our British camping neighbor to join us as he was there eating also.
IMG_20150609_210258454The walled fortress city of Carcassonne is one of the most well-preserved in Europe. The first signs of settlement in this region have been dated to about 3500 BC with trade route established in the 6th century B.C. The Romans identified the strategic military importance of the hilltop area around 100 B.C. and built the first fortified structure around 450. There were several firsts of fortified fortress construction including a double wall and moat and the use of hoardings, or overhanging ramparts, from which to drop projectiles on invading armies.DSCF1578 IMG_20150610_105659124_HDR

 The Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853 and added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Although the main industry is now tourism, a walking tour revealed to us the beauty of the long-standing architecture of this amazing place. The cathedral was built-in starting in 1067 and, in 1096, the foundation stones were blessed by Pope Urban II. IMG_20150610_134034422While we were in the cathedral a quartet of men from the Russian Catholic Church in St Petersburg were there and treated us to a concert sung in Russian and Latin in this acoustically perfect area in front of the altar. We were mesmerized while these four men sang in such perfect harmony. We posted a short video on our FB page is you would like to hear it.

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Interesting sign at the church

While we were roaming the streets trying to imagine life here 1000 years ago we came across a small eatery serving cafe and strawberry/chocolate crepes . I bet this wasn’t on the menu in the day. We sort of split one but Melanie really enjoyed one of her favorite treats.
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In the courtyard was an archeological excavation going on. Under one of the floors they had discovered tiles set during the time of Muslim occupation over 1200 years ago. The original colors in the tiles were visible and most of the floor and room were still intact. It was in an area inaccessible to tourists and I had to work to gain enough access to snap this picture, without the flash, of course.

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We rode out headed to Andorra, excited for the climb into the Pyrenees which was a great, twisty, cold ride in the rain and hail. Pulling into town soaking wet we discovered that this was their off-season, so almost every hotel or lodging was closed without a campground in sight. It was getting dark so we stopped at one of the only open restaurants with a place where I could keep the bike in sight, McDonalds, FREE WiFi. We pulled up google maps and found an inexpensive hotel right next door. The only parking was on the street so we waited until a spot opened up, grabbed it and were in for the night.

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The Balearic Sea

The next morning we buggered out and headed for a campground on the Mediterranean, Camping Pola, Giverola on Cala Pola. The ride down to the coast out of the Pyrenees  was great this morning, it was dry. We were able to zip down through the twisties from elevations of 1500 meters down to the coast which reminded me of the Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast with forested elevations looking down on beautiful, wild beaches and the blue waters of the Balearic Sea off the coast of Spain.

Our campsite

Our campsite

We found space to camp right on the water in a small cove called Cala Pola. The water was a little chilly and got a little rough so we stayed out. The grabbed a liter bottle of Spanish Red wine and a bottle of Sangria for $0.99, can you believe it’s less expensive than water. We drank the wine with some peanuts and then headed to the restaurant for a great, very inexpensive meal and spent the rest of the night down by the beach enjoying the quiet, interrupted by the occasional wave lapping the shore.

In the morning I noticed the rear brakes were in need of changing so we rode into Barcelona looking for a bike shop. We found a small family shop who got the brakes for us but couldn’t put them on for us because it was lunch time and they were closing for three hours. Ugh! Later that day we found a car shop with a motorbike shop upstairs to help. The shop was filed with old dusty bikes from the 60’s and 70’s, some covered, but I got a chance to look them over. They had an Ossa, Hodaka, Bultaco and one small bike with a big, water-cooled V-8 engine.DSCF1595

 With fresh brakes we headed toward the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, NW of Barcelona. It had just finished raining when we arrived so the ride up the tight, twisting road was more fun than it should have been. By the time we got up to the monastery it was later in the day so we just snapped a couple pictures and kept on going.DSCF1602

We rode toward Montblanc looking for a campground and found one, almost empty, just closing with a small restaurant for pizza. The grocery store in town had inexpensive red wine, surprise, so a bottle and pizza and I was set. The rain found us again most of the night and we woke in the morning to a flooded campsite and rain still coming down. Since a bathhouse was nearby we broke camp and dried most of the gear under the hand dryer.

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, BMW, Carcassonne, Europe, France, Horizons Unlimited, motorcycle travel, Triumph, Trophy | Leave a comment

Papal Palace and Southern France

DSCF1548Our ride this morning passed through fields of lavender running in all directions. The roads were narrow, line-less asphalt stretching out in front of us with a canopy of old trees lining our route with manicured hedges finishing the perfect picture. I wondered why these trees were planted with such perfect precision, mile after mile cooling the air around us from the sun as it heated up the fields of lavender, grapes and other crops in the French countryside. Later in the day our questions were answered. The Emperor Napoleon is credited with originating the policy of lining French roads with trees, to enable his soldiers to march in the shade.

DSCF1546Flowers were everywhere as we entered the center square of Forcalquier and the Monday farmers market. There were a vast variety of vendor selling everything from garlic and more varieties of olives than I have ever seen to flowers and leathers and cloth goods. Melanie spent her souvenir bike space on a small hand-made leather change purse. Kidding.

Church in the square

Church in the square

1235: To the memory of Eleanor De Prouvenco Fourcauquie, the wife of Henry the Third, King of England

1235: To the memory of Eleanor De Prouvenco Fourcauquie, the wife of Henry the Third, King of England

We parked on the corner in front of the monument and wandered around, watching the people of the village checking out the bike and licence plate, talking to each other and wondering where we were from.
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Veggies

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Garlic booth

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Fresh seafood booth

On our way out-of-town we decided to make a detour to the city of Orange and see the Roman Theater of Orange built-in the first century A.D. to seat 10,000 people. The Roman Theater of Orange is, without doubt, one of the finest remains of the Roman Empire and, as such, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is, in fact, the best preserved theatre in the whole of Europe. The theater was closed for renovations when we were there but we got a couple of pictures. The second picture is from their website.

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Back on the bike and on our way to Avignon we passed a winery that we had to turn around to see. In front of the beautiful building with some very unique sculpture were several old cars in wonderful shape sitting in the weeds and dirt.IMG_20150608_120516415 IMG_20150608_120203557Avignon, set on the Rhône River. From 1309 to 1377, was the seat of the Catholic popes, and remained under papal rule until becoming part of France in 1791. Its center, surrounded by medieval stone ramparts, contains the massive Palais des Papes and remains of the Saint-Bénezet bridge, also known as Pont d’Avignon.  DSCF1558We rode through the gates of this walled city and down the cobblestone street taking in the history surrounding us. It was a very hot day and we were sweating profusely in our gear so finding a parking spot and getting this helmet and jacket off and finding a bottle of water were first on the list. The street was lined with ancient building housing shop and cafes with all the cafe having tables, chairs and umbrellas set up in the streets among the trees. We took off walking, still with boots and riding pants, and went to the Papal Palace and got in line to take a tour. The stone walls of this 900 year-old palace are very thick, keeping in the cool air and repelling the stifling heat on the streets.DSCF1559 IMG_20150608_151001468

(From Wikipedia). The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1377, during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon (in today’s France) rather than in Rome. This situation arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown.

Following the strife between Phillip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII, and the death of his successor Benedict XI after only eight months in office, a deadlocked conclave finally elected Clement V, a Frenchman, as Pope in 1305. Clement declined to move to Rome, remaining in France, and in 1309 moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the “Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy”. A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon; all were French, and they increasingly fell under the influence of the French Crown. Finally, on September 13, 1376, Gregory Xi abandoned Avignon and moved his court to Rome (arriving on January 17, 1377), officially ending the Avignon Papacy.

IMG_20150608_155211255_HDR DSCF1562 DSCF1572The Palace of the Popes is the biggest Gothic palace in the world. There are 15,000 square meters of living space, which is the equivalent of 4 Gothic cathedrals. The Palace of the Popes, part of UNESCO World Heritage, stands as the symbol of the church’s way over the western Christian world in the 14th century.

Leaving the palace after the tour we went out a door on the opposite side of where we entered and because of my keen sense of direction, (I was completely lost), Melanie was able to guide her front pillion back to the bike. On the was we passed this beautiful carousel. Not as nice as the one located one the Santa Monica pier, but beautiful non the less.

imageDriving a little further looking for a place to camp and eat we passes through the town of Uzès with its narrow, tree-shaded lanes and a quaint downtown area with cafe overflowing into the street. We found a nice little cafe next to a fabulous wine shop owned by a couple Brits. We chatted about each others lives and I ended up buying a bottle of wine, I splurged tonight, while I threatened to come back and open a wine shop next to his, the town was so nice. Next to us at dinner were a couple with a little baby from Colorado, I believe. We talked until almost dark and exchanged Facebook names and promised to keep in touch.

Hurrying out of town we found a nice little, closed campground. After two choices that ended up being occupied, we found a nice campsite looking out over a field and mountain. First thing, riding pants off, bottle of wine opened and camp set up.IMG_20150607_205237437

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, Alps, BMW, Europe, France, Horizons Unlimited, Italy, motorcycle travel, Triumph, Trophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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