Page 3 of GPJMurphy Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées July 23rd 2009

Tuesday 21st July - Mt Canigou There was another way to make it up Canigou. There was a dirt track Col that ran up towards a refuge at Marailles that shaved a couple of hours off the hike to a more manageable 8 hours. But the track was not suitable for non 4x4 cars or for road bikes. Well the beemer should be fine - but I was unsure of my abilities. Actually it was quite good fun - it was basically a sandy track, deeper at the edges on the hairpin corners, with a mixture of rutted track (but dry) and large boulder like stones sticking out. OK if you picked your route. I am not going to pretend I was anything like fast up it and never got out of second gear, but I ... read more
Looking back down the valley
Why are all those people up there - ahhh
The last part of the ascent

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona July 22nd 2009

Wednesday 22nd July - Vernet to Barcelona Two or more hours had gone by and no matter how many times I looked at it - I'd well and truly f*cked it up. I was at the docks in the Transmediterranea ferry terminal, using an internet terminal coupled with my PDF lonely planet guides and maps of Europe and Morocco. It had been hellishlly hot getting here and I struggled to keep myself hydrated. My camelbak had been errantly left in Cath's fridge whilst I watched Harry being Robin Hood in his end of year play before setting off on a rain soaked evening for the ferry. I am sure the camelbak is deliciously chilled by now but not much effing use to me out here. It was 32C when I set off but quickly rose to ... read more

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Perpignan July 20th 2009

Monday 20th July - Carcassonne - Vernet-Les-Bains Rather than take the autoroute via Perpignan, I elected to take a direct route folllowing La route de Carthars and over the Col de Jeu. Brilliant ride, although after yesterdays excursion the M25 would have seemed interesting so I may not be at my most objective. Once on the move the weight doesn't bother me too much and as long as it is dry you can still have fun. With the wind noise under control there is little to complain about the bike, save for a switch like throttle at low openings (necessitating over use of the clutch) and the most ridiculously inaccurate fuel gauge in the automotive world. You'd get a more accurate reading sticking your tadger in there. Would that make it a dickstip? (as opposed to ... read more
Somewhere riding to Les Vernets
Top of the Col de Jau
Tent pitch with a view...

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Carcassonne July 19th 2009

Sunday 19th July - How to waste a day Getting back on the bike minus luggage was a joy - it was transformed to a flickable toy and initially I congratulated myself on the sageness of my decision to base myself a further day at the camp site at Carcassonne. However it would have made more sense to have researched what I was actually going to do in its environs. I decided to head for the coast. By 2pm I was hungry and a place called Port Leucant conjured up visions of boats bobbing in a marina with a plethora of gastronomic opportunities on the quayside. Boring ride to get there surpassed only by the place itself. A completely soulless resort town with endless ochre coloured developments and not a restaurant in sight. I persevered due ... read more
Collioure 2

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Carcassonne July 18th 2009

Saturday 18th July - Salon La Tour to Carcassonne Spent a couple of hours this morning in Uzerche, initially at some auto-retro jumble before ambling around the rather pleasant town. Not really into car boot sales myself, but some of the stuff on sale was amazing. The town deserved more pictures than are posted up on the blog, but uploading photos is slooow and as pretty as Uzerche was it was never going to compete with La Cite of Carcassonne for photographic brilliance. I set off late from Salon La Tour, 3 pm, but it had been nice to chill out for a while. The journey to Carcassonne was about 300km (I think), so not too far. I had to be at the camp site before 8 pm. Easy-peasy, till you figure in the summer Saturday ... read more
Carcassonne 1
Carcassonne 2

Europe » France » Limousin » Limoges July 17th 2009

Friday 17th July - Caen - Salon La Tour (south of Limoges) Cabins were all taken on the ferry so I had booked a reclining chair in a lounge. All well and good I should imagine if you locate your chosen recliner at the start of the voyage. But having changed out of my soaking trousers, pigged myself on a surprisingly delicious lamb shank, written some drivel for yesterday's blog and looked at the map it was now 1 am. I duly lobbed up at the lounge expecting to crash in my booked seat before it became apparent that you couldn't see a damn thing in there. The lounge resembled a cinema but with absolutely no light and sadly no cinema dolly with her trolley and light to show you to her seat. (I must be ... read more
Chateau McKeiver

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Hampshire » Portsmouth July 16th 2009

Thursday 16th - Somerset - Portsmouth - Caen (France) It had been an inauspicious start. Actually forget that it had been utter pants. Yesterday I dropped the bike. The old “forgot the disc lock was on” chestnut. Helpfully the lock was at its furthest travel from the brake caliper and with big ole 21” rims by the time it clanked into the calipers I was unable to control the thing and down she went. Right in the surgery car park. What a numpty! That was closely followed by some ridiculous last minute self adjustment of my glasses which saw me shear the arms off my spectacles. So I am without glasses for the trip. Don't ask me why I chose today to experiment with my optometrist skills, having successfully avoided doing so the last 20 years ... read more

Europe » Austria » Tyrol » Innsbruck September 23rd 2008

Tuesday 23rd September I knew it. I've become addicted to this f*cking blog. The trip is as good as over (well at least on hold) and here I am typing up an epilogue from my hospital bed. What a sad MF!! Truth is having been here 3 days, where the highlight of activity is the slow 5m journey to the loo, I am bored out of my skull and so for something to do I thought I would add an epilogue, with dos and don'ts, kit summary and my next steps. - typed one handed mind. That is how bored I am. Sorry no decent pictures for this, you'll just have to make do with a mug of yours truly in my hospital bed. However now I have been re-united with the SLR I can at ... read more

Europe » Austria » Tyrol » Innsbruck September 20th 2008

Saturday 20th September Motorcycle boots, ski boots and I should imagine women's boots. You take your right boot off with your left hand and left one off with your right hand. So here's a riddle, how the f*ck do you get your left boot off when the ankle is broken and heavily swollen if your right wrist is similarly broken and completely useless? It would seem that the days that ended best were those that started badly. If the converse was to prove true then I was always going to end today calamitously. I had a simply magical motorcycling day planned. Head south to the Italian border along the Brenner pass, cut over the Giovo pass to Merano over to the famous Stelvio pass towards Bormio, then cut back up through Switzerland over some lesser passes ... read more
Looking up at Stelvio
Down at Stelvio
Just over the top of Stelvio

Europe » Austria » Tyrol » Innsbruck September 19th 2008

Friday 19th September “You were lucky with the weather today.” Such an easy sentence to say yet in nigh on 3 weeks seemingly bl**dy impossible to achieve. But today as the ultra helpful hotel manager (what a nice guy) uttered this as I walked back in this evening they were spot on. It was sun-cream-on-the-solar-panel-like-bonce-requiring superb. A day off the bike had me on a hiking trail today and as I type this at only 8 pm after half a bottle of Pinot I am nearly ready for shut-eye already, I am cream-crackered. I caught the cable car opposite the hotel to the top of Patscherkofel (2250m) and then hiked along a superb ridge to Tulfenheim, before descending to Tulfes - 1.5km lower in altitude. According to the trails it was a 5 hour hike - ... read more
Ridge walk
Me after some zuppe
Looking back up at Patscherkofel

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