Saint Étienne – Marseille through castleless St Paul Trois Chateaux

by • 10 August, 2013 • Uncategorized • Comments (0)1717

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It was time to leave Saint Étienne. I’m not going to lie and it was hard. In one hand I was really comfortable with my girlfriend and I was a bit lazy after one week without cycling, but in the other … well, I had a trip around the world pending.

I decided to do the 330 km in two days, and this time I knew was going to do it, I was not going to let myself fail again. I found a host halfway, in St Paul Trois Chateaux, and that’s where I spent the night.

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The way there was quite nice, apart from the first part. To get out of Saint Étienne I had 30 km going up, till the Col de la Republique, which it’s the first mountain pass that the Tour the France crossed over 1000 meters (in 1913). I had some rain, and it was a bit cold, so it was great after 2 weeks of heat.

Later when I arrived to the Rhone I decided to take the small roads instead of the national one. I’m not going to say that it was a mistake, but I got lost and ended up doing 30 km extra. Sometimes I was following a signed bike way to Montelimar, but half of the time the signs were missing.

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Tired and late I arrived to my host, who took me for dinner to her parents place. Another vegan local dish: Ratatouille! (Someday I will write the recipes in the appropriate place). They were really nice and had lots of questions. The parents didn’t speak much English, but with the translation of Marion (the daughter), and our good will we got understood and had a nice evening. After dinner I was so tired that went to sleep, surrounded by Marion’s two kittens.

 

 

 

 

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The next day I wanted to arrive to Marseille, but first I wanted to see the town. Even though in the name it says it has three castles, it’s not true! It was a translating error, thinking that the ancient town’s name was Latin instead of Celtic. What it does have is a really nice Romanic cathedral and a cute little old center. And here is where I discovered geocaching. It’s a nice game played world-wide, just like a treasure hunt with GPS coordinates. You just need to login and start looking for the caches, and if you want to, you can put new ones for others to find. It seems something fun that I will do someday.

After the walk with Marion I had to leave. She was really nice and offered to stay longer, to see the surroundings, but it was time for Biziklautak to reunite. Thanks Marion for your hospitality!

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The way till Marseille was quite peaceful. The beginning was nice, through small towns and at the end I joined the national road, but as it runs close to the highway, there were not many cars. In one of the towns I stopped to ask for water and German man wanted to invite me for a wine, but I had to refuse.

After the last hill I had to climb before going down to Marseille, it’s were the real adventure of the day started. This city is something special. It seems like another universe compared to the rest of the country: horribly paved roads, no respect for bikes and incredible amounts of strange people. Not sure how I found the squatted place where my friends were hosted (by a small group of artist of the city), but I was finally there.

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In the evening Javi and me went to the port where some young people where playing music. It was fun to relax there listening to music and seeing the strange people taking part in the action. There was a man pretending to be the conductor and cheering when people gave money to the musicians. Also, there were two guys saying that they were doing Cappoeira (it seemed as if it was the first time in their life). And finally there was a junkie booing after every song. Those people were there all the time the musicians played, but some other participants came and did their small act, to add the weirdness to the evening.

It was a strange evening, but fun nonetheless, which ended with a dinner with the people of the squatted house. Lots of interesting people, and a nice feeling: we knew we were going to spend another night there!