Page 5 of beemerdave Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » California » Sacramento July 21st 2012

Geo: 38.579, -121.491Our early morning flight left Toulouse on time to Frankfort, where we had a four hour layover. There we enjoyed a nice country breakfast of eggs and sausage, then checked out some of the shops. The eight hour flight to Philadelphia was uneventful; the meal adequate. After spending an hour to clear passport control, we picked up our luggage and went through security check again before rechecking our luggage for the five hour flight to Sacramento. We made it with just enough time to enjoy a glass of wine at the bar across from our gate (something we'd become accustomed to each day). We got to Sacramento about 8:30 pm, and picked up our truck which Paul had left in the parking lot for us. When we finally got home we were pretty exhausted ... read more

Europe » France July 20th 2012

Geo: 43.3988, 1.71558It's our last day in Toulouse and Janet wanted to take in one last public market before we left France. We decided to head to the town of Villefranche, just 40km away. We arrived in centre ville to find another bustling square filled with all the usual vendors, plus a lot more clothing merchants. Janet picked up a few last minute gifts while I found some interesting pastries to have with our coffee at a table nearby. We headed back to Toulouse after a few hours, taking the “D” route instead of the freeway for one last pass thru the French countryside. Although the weather was still overcast, the scenery was enjoyable. Outside of town we stopped at a car wash to clean three weeks of road dirt and bugs off the BMW. The ... read more
The cathedral in Villefranche
Local color
Our last ride in the country outside Toulouse

Europe » France July 19th 2012

Geo: 43.0387, 0.591962Although today's stage of Le Tour de France didn't start until 1:00, we decided to get on the road early. We wanted to get to Labroquere and find a good spot to watch the race by noon. We made good time and exited the A64 about 11:30. The town was only 5 km away, and we were optimistic when we didn't encounter heavy traffic on the road. That changed at a roundabout 2 km from town where we found traffic stopped. One of the great advantages of taking a motorcycle to an event like this is that traffic congestion is not a major impediment, especially not in France. Not only do the drivers move over to let you pass, but driving on the shoulder, in bike lanes, or even crossing over the center line ... read more
Part of the pre-race spectacle
Cooling off the crowd
Marketing on steroids

Europe » France July 18th 2012

Geo: 43.6043, 1.44367Deb and Guenther packed up and were on their way back to Barcelona via Andorra right after breakfast this morning. We hated to see them leave. It seemed like the ten days we had spent together had flown by too fast. Our original plan for the day was to head back down to the Pyrenees to catch today's stage of the Tour de France. After seeing how crowded the course was the day before, combined with a weather forecast of temperatures in the 90s, we decided to hang out in Toulouse for the day and research a good place to catch Le Tour the following day. We headed back downtown to the Carmes marketplace in Toulouse, an easy metro ride from our house in Les Minimes. We had lunch in a cafe we had ... read more
Lunchtime entertainment
Varied architecture
Two story carousel

Europe » France July 17th 2012

Geo: 42.8968, 0.064688We decided to take another trip down to the Pyrenees to show Deb and Guenther the Col du Tourmalet. It was a gorgeous, sunny day as we headed out of Toulouse on some great "D" roads, across miles of sunflowers, wheat, corn, and grapes. We eventually worked our way down to the village of Arreau, not far from where we had stayed weeks before in St. Lary, near the Spanish border. Turning off the main highway, we headed up the steep, winding road to Col d'Aspin. We had to share the road with lots of cyclists and four-wheeled traffic, mostly mini-motor homes heading up to find their spot for watching tomorrow's leg of the Tour de France. Stopping at the top for more breathtaking views of the Pyrenees, we were blessed with perfect weather ... read more
A coffee stop near Arreau
Heading up the Col d'Aspin
Campers on Col d'Aspin getting ready for Le Tour

Europe » France July 16th 2012

Geo: 43.0863, 1.876 Yesterday (Sunday) we decided to take a day off the bikes and headed into Toulouse to explore more of the town. We had mastered riding the Metro and easily navigated our way around town and back. Monday, July 16, was Janet's birthday, so she picked the route for the day. After morning birthday wishes we headed southeast towards the country of Andorra, to the walled city of Mirapoix for market day. This was another large one, taking in about four square blocks of the Medieval town. Just like in Sarlat there were all types of vendors. Something new though were live poultry vendors. We watched a lady buy a pair of live ducks which she took home flapping as she held them tied by the feet. We also found a vendor selling hens ... read more
Market square
Fresh poultry
Knife sharpening

Europe » France » Aquitaine July 14th 2012

Geo: 44.8913, 1.21511 Today we decided to visit Saturday market in Sarlat-la-Caneda, followed by visits to other places along the Dordogne River valley northwest of Toulouse. Sarlat is known for its year-round Saturday market which is set in the beautiful historic village. We arrived with many other people and enjoyed the largest market we had ever experienced. In addition to fruit, vegetable and flower vendors, there were pate/fois grois vendors, fish vendors, cheese and bread vendors, clothing and shoe vendors, and so many others. The charm of the market, as is true with so many in France, lies is the beautiful, cobble-stone villages in which they are set. Just look up and you are surrounded by bell towers, beautiful centuries-old architecture, and flower filled window boxes. Next we traveled about 10 km southwest of Sarlat to ... read more
Beynac Chateau
Dordogne valley viewed from Beynac castle

Europe » France July 13th 2012

Geo: 44.0548, 1.66391 Today we visited some of the 'Plus Beaux Villages de France.' These small villages receive this distinction because of their unique charm and passion for preserving their heritage and authenticity. The weather was bright and sunny for this ride through the beautiful countryside north of Toulouse. Our first stop was Bruniquel, a picturesque village of stone-built, half-timbered houses perched on a cliff with turrets and flower-bedecked streets, doorways and window boxes which boasts two castles: the old castle, which dates back to the 11th century and the new castle which dates back to the 13th century. We toured the castles, walked the streets and enjoyed grand cafe creme out in a sunny courtyard. Next we visited Castlenau-de-Montmiral, a fortified, hilltop village which overlooks the Vere valley. When we arrived, we were greeted not ... read more
Cordes sur Ceil
Leaving Cordes

Europe » France July 12th 2012

Geo: 43.2126, 2.3561 After a busy 2-day trip out to the Mediterranean, we opted for a shorter, local trip on Thursday. We rode back out about 45 minutes east of Toulouse to the town of Carcassonne - with its ancient walled city and fairy-tale castle set high on a hill. This huge castle includes many turrets, towers, drawbridges and cobbled streets. It is reputed to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty. We parked our bikes on the back side, and walked up the hill toward the castle along its massive stone walls. We arrived in the early afternoon and found ourselves in the midst of many other tourists - but as we worked our way around to the upper part of the walled city, the crowds thinned and we were able to enjoy ... read more
Storybook castle
Inner city street scene

Europe » France July 10th 2012

Geo: 42.5245, 3.08232Over ten years ago we visited the Mediterranean coastal town of Collioure on one of our first trips to France, and Janet wanted to spend time there on this trip. So we reserved a room at Les Relais des Trois Mas, a wonderful little hotel along the cliff overlooking the harbor and waterfront. We left Toulouse and headed east along the secondary roads, past Carcassonne and Narbonne, where we stopped for coffee. From there we got on the A9 and headed south, past Perpignan, and crossed over the Pyrenees again into Spain. We found our way to Figueres and rode east towards the Mediterranean coast to the little village of Portbou. From there we hugged the coast north, back into France along a spectacular highway, thru a number of coastal villages and resort towns. ... read more
Port Verdes
Collioure harbor
The Mediterranean at our doorstep

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