Page 6 of beemerdave Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France July 9th 2012

Geo: 43.6044, 1.44295 Monday we decided to spend the day on foot in Toulouse. We took the metro from the end of our street, into centre ville. In the ancient Carmes district we stopped at a wonderful little cafe for lunch, then wandered down along the river. Playing the typical tourists, we went on a river boat ride - which took us through locks and under several of the bridges along the Garonne. It was almost 6:00 when we got off the boat, so we stopped for wine at an outdoor cafe then we headed over to one of the squares downtown for cocktails. We returned home to have a simple salad dinner out under the evening stars in our back courtyard - then finished off the day with a glass of champagne in the hot ... read more
In the locks

Europe » France » Aquitaine July 8th 2012

Geo: 43.3879, -1.66028 Today, we decided to head out through the Aquitaine for the Atlantic coast of France. It was another beautiful day and we decided to take our time, using the lesser roads instead of the high-speed toll roads. As we were passing through towns along the way, we began to notice that the gas stations were closed because it was Sunday. We got to one of the larger towns, Auch, and found a large chain supermarket with gas pumps that were open. Unfortunately, the automated pumps wouldn't accept any of our plastic. We motored around the town and found other unattended station with some customers filling up, so we decided to try our luck there, Again, the machines didn't like our cards. After our lack of success even with the help of some locals ... read more
St. Jean
Enjoying the sun
At the Atlantic ocean

Europe » France July 7th 2012

Geo: 42.9865, 1.14405Today we took Debbie and Guenther on a ride thru the Haut-Pyrenees, first heading down to Saint-Beat, a quaint little village along the Garonne River, where we stopped for coffee. Then we climbed up and over Col de Mente, Col de Portet D'Aspet, a series of passes that will be part of Tour de France. We passed hundreds of cyclists along the way climbing these incredibly steep roads.. After passing through Saint-Lary and the wonderful town of Saint-Girons, where we stopped for lunch, we continued up and over a variety of passes and roadways, from tight switchbacks, to wonderful, long tree-lined roads. Eventually we worked our way down from the higher elevations, north towards Toulouse. The day was another spectacular combination of sights, great roads, and sharing it all with good friends. The best ... read more
Sunflowers everywhere
St. Beat

Europe » France July 6th 2012

Geo: 43.6044, 1.44295 We spent most of the day exploring Toulouse centre ville on foot after taking the metro (subway) downtown. The station is right at the end of our street and navigating the city by train is much easier than on a bike in traffic. It was another wonderful sunny day, and we enjoyed taking our time, having coffee in the Capitol Place and walking along the riverfront. We came back to the house where Janet spent the afternoon preparing for the arrival of Debbie and Guenther, our neighbors from Grass Valley. They were traveling up from Barcelona on a rented BMW 1200RT. They finally arrived at our door about 7:30 pm., after spending 2 hours getting lost in the maze of Toulouse streets, like we did when we initially arrived here. After getting settled, ... read more
Capitol Plaza
School of Fine Arts
Local talent

Europe » France July 5th 2012

Geo: 43.6044, 1.44295 Today was our first full day in our new 'vacation' home in Toulouse. We decided to start the day by visiting the local open-air market which was just one block away. It was a small market but included fruit/vegetable vendors, a fromage (cheese) vendor, a pannier (bread) vendor and a wonderful young woman who was selling prepared foods: paella, tangine chicken, and a fish dish prepared with raisins and coconut milk – they smelled and looked so good that we bought some items to go with our fresh salads and vegetables to make easy dinners. While Janet was doing quite well using her French, we learned that the woman's father spoke English, and he delighted in telling us about his trip throughout California not too long ago. Next we visited the local cafe ... read more
Market day in Minimes neighborhood
Our new friends at market

Europe » Spain » Aragon » Bielsa July 4th 2012

Geo: 42.6338, 0.218476Joyeux anniversaire Etats Unis d'Amerique! As much as we hated to leave Saint-Lary-Soulan in France, we had a long ride scheduled and the weather forecasted a 40% chance of rain. When traveling through the mountains rain is something to take seriously. We wanted to head back into Spain to check out the Valley de Pineta and stop at the Hotel Parador Bielsa de Monte Perdido that John recommended to us. We wound our way 20km up D-173 from St. Lary thru the little village of Aragnouet, to the mile-long Bielsa-Aragnouet Tunnel which would take us into Spain again. The tunnel is being renovated, so lane controls gave us an 11 minute delay. We were only one of five vehicles waiting to enter. Proceeding down a winding stretch of A-138 for 10 km, we entered ... read more
Rush hour in the Pyrenees
Leaving Bielsa
Parador Bielsa

Europe » France July 3rd 2012

Geo: 42.8158, 0.32049 It was another nice, sunny morning as we headed out of La Seu D'Urgell. We thought we would make a quick run up north to the country of Andorra just to get a picture of the border sign, but the highway in that direction was dead stopped due to an accident. We picked up N-260 again, this time heading west on a wonderful 30 mile winding road of scenic switchbacks to the Sort. The beautiful little town is a popular spot for hiking a rafting, situated along the Noguera Pallaresa River. From there, we picked up C-13, following the river canyon for 28km,with fast sweepers on great pavement with little traffic. The road transitioned to C-28 for an amazing climb up to the summit of Port de la Bonaigua. In the winter this ... read more
Outside of Sort
Climbing C-13
C-13 Summit

Europe » Spain » Catalonia July 2nd 2012

Geo: 42.3588, 1.46144 After getting the bike loaded, we bid our host adieu, jump-started the bike and headed back north to Formigal to see a mechanic that Mariano recommended. This was an interesting situation: the mechanic, Manola, spoke no English, and we could not communicate much, other than to confirm that we were the folks sent by Mariano. He pulled the battery, said it was bad, with a customer translating for us, and said he would check on the availability of a new battery. After we determined that it would be a least a day to get a replacement, we told him we couldn't wait. He told us to go have some coffee at a place nearby while he put the battery on a heavy-duty charger. An hour later, the battery was back on the bike. ... read more
The road to Tremp
Col de Boixols
Hillside village

Europe » Spain » Aragon July 1st 2012

Geo: 42.7786, -0.357495 A major storm rolled into the valley over night. A thunderstorm with heavy rains and serious hail kept us inside for the morning. By noon the clouds had rolled away and the sun returned. Our innkeep Mariano and wife Maria were wonderful hosts. Because this was early in the vacation season we were one of only three other guests. We toured this quaint village on foot along a series of narrow and twisting passages, some barely wide enough for a small car. For lunch we sampled one of the many little eateries where we had some nice local wine and tapas (all for only 8 Euros!) Mariano was able to come up with a battery charger, but after six hours the bike would still not start. Our option at that point was to ... read more
View from our window
Hotel Almud
Cathedral Iglecia Gotica

Europe » Spain » Aragon June 30th 2012

Geo: 42.7713, -0.334482After another wonderful breakfast with Phil and Belinda, we hit the road about 10 am for a journey over the mountains into Spain. At Phil's urging we changed our route to include a brief stop in Lourdes, the Grotto and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes where visitors come from around the world to be anointed with the holy water. Upon arrival, we were amazed at the number of people in blue wheel chairs and carts being pushed by a whole cadre of volunteers to the shrine. Most were sick or infirm and were there hoping for their own miracle cure from the sacred waters of the shrine. Most everyone wore bright colored scarves, signifying their visit. From Lourdes, we headed down to Argeles-Gazost for a brief coffee stop and leg stretch. This ... read more
Gourette town center
Heading out of Argeles-Gazost
Slow going over the Pyrenees

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