We had an atrocious flight down with Air France (never again) and finally arrived in St Remy de Provence Friday tea-time (unfortunately our bags wouldn't arrive until Saturday). However, the sun was shining, the temperature was hovering around 34 degC and the welcoming Sarah had our bikes waiting ready to go.
|Bike and Sidecar outside Classic Bike - for sale but I'm not sure what it is...Royal Enfield?|
|Red Ural combination inside Classic Bike|
Luckily, we'd carried our helmets on the plane, so Sarah lent us a couple of lightweight jackets and we were off, cruising down the aformentioned long straight roads. We turned off the D99 and took the uphill winding road to Le Baux de Provence, an unbelievably romantic village perched on a mountaintop - the roads were definitely testing, particularly a tight left-handed hairpin that went on and on seemingly forever.
|Le Baux de Provence|
After an hour or so we rode back to St Remy, found our hotel, booked in and showered before going out to find somewhere to eat. St Remy was a picturesque little town, all honey-coloured stone buildings with painted shutters, blue or green or red, all faded by the sun, with romantic little cobbled streets and charming bistros. Unfortunately I'd come with 'the Kid' so we just wanted a meal and a few drinks and perhaps a little light conversation with beautiful, sophisticated French women. Well, two out of three ain't bad as Meatloaf used to say, so we wandered back to the hotel replete.
Saturday morning saw us back at the bike shop - I'd originally chosen their BMW R850 as being more suitable for my lanky frame, but decided to swop it for their T100 Bonneville, nice and light for all that bend-swinging we were going to do. The ever-helpful Sarah gave us a map and outlined some routes, lent us some wet-weather gear "just in case" ( a definite case of local knowledge triumphing over tourist optimism) and we set off for....anywhere. We rode fairly aimlessly around Provence, taking any little side road that took our fancy, then when we got tired of really tight bends it was back onto the 'A' roads for some faster sweeping bends. Heaven.
|The Old Man|
|Bull Ring at Arles|
Saturday night we had another great meal and some drinks in a little bar in St Remy where the Kid took a (drunken) shine to the dark-skinned waitress, I was just happy to get back to the hotel and bed as I was knackered from the amount of riding we'd done.
|Cottage at the hotel|
Sunday, however, was a bit of a disaster. It started with a thunderous downpour complete with lightning that woke us up, then it rained...ALL DAY. Man, I could have stayed in England for this! To make matters worse, our hotel, booked for us by Classic Bikes, was a wonderful, romantic hideway, small cottages set in grounds overshadowed by huge fig trees and other perfumed plants - with no T.V to "spoil the ambience" which would have been fine if we'd been on a dirty weekend but for The Old Man and the Kid......we ended-up compensating by over-eating and drinking with a couple of naps thrown in. It finally stopped raining around tea-time so we got the bikes out and bombed around until dark then ate even more, more drinks in the bar of the tatooed waitress...you get the picture.
Monday of course was beautiful, hot and sunny and perfect for riding, the clear blue sky etc etc as we remarked as we dropped the bikes off and headed back to Marseille and another awful flight to London. All in all though, it WAS great riding, a bit of fun if pretty expensive.