Monday, 9 September 2019

Euro trip part 3

We left Embrun and retraced our steps a bit to find the small roads and in amongst some spectacular passes and roads we found a small bike museum adjacent to a nice cafe, a perfect stop for lunch. The museum was interesting with an eclectic mix of bikes, bikes you don't see so much of in the UK including a collection of small capacity bikes which many Europeans cut their motorcycling teeth on. The place is open June to October, free entry (donations welcome) and its on the D902 near St Paul sur Ubaye, shortly after we crossed into Italy, roads much quieter and more potholes taking the S21 to almost Cuneo then taking the S20 over the Tende pass to la Brigue, a former Italian town ceded after WW2 to the French. A nice campsite on the edge of town with the possibility to swim in the pools on the river, I didn't go in but Fiona did, the Alpine water straight of the mountains meant it was freezing and I tend to shy away from freezing. The campsite owner was a jolly chap who I managed to get some banter with, despite being born here post war he still considered himself Italian. We scranned up some dinner then walked into town for a beer, there is a hotel on the left as you enter the town in the square, avoid, its run by Bobby from still game complete with mullet and i'm pretty sure we got ripped off.  After people watching (this town seems to hold onto its village idiots) we headed further into town to a bar, the barman recognised us from the previous place and even knew what we'd been drinking, scary. We sat at the bar and attracted the attention of the chief local village idiot, his stories getting more exaggerated by the minute and culminating in a request to go to his house for more drink, in true time honoured fashion we made our excuses and left.
The following day we had a short run into Italy again and into my home village, this time we were staying in the Hotel just outside the village, the local Festa was on so it was busy but very entertaining. This year the show was a horror comedy featuring Frankenstein and other monsters all done on several stages throughout the village, very well done and even though I only understood about a third very enjoyable. The rest of the weekend was spent meeting family and friends and planning the next part of the trip. More to follow.......
Nice roads again
Woo Hoo , old bikes
Only one Norton 
This was a very interesting Exhibit, a French BFG with I believe a 4 cylinder Citreon car engine
Made the visit very worthwhile
OK thats enough
Waiting for the lights at the top of the Tiende pass, they one way traffic about 25 minutes a time
Camping La Brigue, recommended!
If you fancy fitting in, house for sale
Italian feel obviously
An attempt at an arty shot
Bruno looking cool as he arrives to have a drink with us
The village lit up for the Festa
Not far from my old house
Woo Hoo a Guzzi
Proper car 
The lights do it justice
The bridge
The band and actors
This one scared the bejeezus out of the small kids
Frank getting a hard time 
Nice jacket
Mavis and her cruel dad
The guy on the left had an easy gig, he never moved or spoke
The band were good and a bit zany

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Euro Trip Part 2

We left the camping just after 10am and headed first on the highway before taking the much smaller and more pleasant D roads passing through small French villages which quite often look deserted, as always there are signs of abandoned property everywhere, I assume rightly or wrongly that like in Italy family houses don't get sold, they get locked up and left it appears. We stopped for lunch in Les Voivres and the nice roadside eatery that is Le Pont des Fees, sitting in the sun watching the world go by (well actually not much going by) alongside the bikes, bliss.
We headed to Rioz to the municipal camping and found what we thought was a quiet spot but mistakenly camped alongside the main road so it turned out a bit noisy. Toilets and showers were excellent, it appears the municipal campgrounds have upped their game and most appear to even have toilet paper supplied, changed days and all for 16 Euro a night. We headed into town and walked the length of it but it appeared to be closed so ended up at the Kebab place at the end of the road to the campground, turned out that thankfully it served more than Kebabs so a nice meal was had with some cold beer. Arriving back at the campsite i quickly realised I'd left my camera on the seat in the Kebab place, Fi ran back to retrieve it and luckily some honest person had handed it it in further reinforcing my view that most people are good , honest and kind. Overnight some hefty thunder and lightning to wake us up but we were dry so all is good.
Waterproofs donned as we left but it was warm so I changed to my mesh jacket, we stopped for fuel on the Lyon ring road and the sky was black as night, big storm brewing I thought however the sky towards Grenoble seemed to be clearer so we took a chance and removed the waterproofs, sometimes getting wet from the rain is marginally better than the boil in a bag effect of waterproofs in hot temperatures. There was heavy rain and lightning expected so we booked into a Hotel in Grenoble for two nights to sit it out. Grenoble is a nice city in the old town, it has very much a student vibe but the newer part reminds me of a large Aviemore, concrete and souless like many ski towns. We managed to secure essential supplies, whisky and M&Ms, Aberlour 12 year old for only 23 Euro, perfect. The hotel bar though charged us 17 Euro for 2 beers, needless to say thats all we had! A full day sightseeing in Grenoble before finally getting back on the bikes and heading through the Alps.
We took the small road to Briancon, spectacular but busy , held up for 20 minutes in a landslide but that allowed us to get clear of the traffic, the Triumph and the ER6 performing well on the multiple hairpins, some sections you could get a good rhythm going but spoiled inevitably by the Lycra louts emulating their Tour De France heroes and riding like complete pricks. A nice days riding ending up in a busy but nice campsite at Embrun, also recommended! Some bike maintenance, chain lubed and a small adjustment to the ER6 Clutch.
More to follow!

Roadside eating
Didn't fancy it at first but good grub (Not Kebabs)
Fi with her Dads beer (Local brew, tasted ok)
Grenoble, old town, nice architecture
The castle, reached by cable car
No sure about this
Putting your life in the hands of a plastic bubble
Operated by some not very large wire rope
Going up
still going up
pretty steep!
The Alps
Street scene
Eating time
Beer time
Landslide gives us an opportunity to skip the queue
Glacier fields
Photos don't do it justice