Recently, realizing a long-time dream of both of ours, we decided to invest in some new equipment for bike touring on the continent. Through the wonders of ebay and Karl’s expert bidding wiles, we managed to land two remarkably good buys. Okay. At first glance, our slim road bikes with bulky paniers comically burgeoning from either side might temptingly call to mind a skinny, overburdened ass. However, we were hoping that our new acquisitions (bought sight-unseen, I might add) would fulfill something more like the role of trusty steed.
We picked up one bike in
However, we didn't have the privilege of the cute little sign until we were about 20 km within reach....three days later. Now, despite the values of intensive research involving Google Maps, it had somehow escaped both of us that nothing really can replace a good map. It wasn’t so much that we didn’t know where to go, but how to avoid finding ourselves on the autoroute, which are forbidden to cyclists in
In addition to the lack of cycle-friendly routes immediately available to us, our bikes began revealing their inevitable idiosyncrasies, which kept us overnight in Aix waiting for the bike shop to open. Of course, one must see these things as providential. We got a fabulous impromptu tour of the city from a local bike enthusiast, and quickly realized our error in rushing through such a pretty spot. Rose walls, blue skies, warm smiles, and narrow winding streets called to mind more
The next morning, we set off north towards the Luberon region. We crossed the Durance, which is evidently at record-high levels, chatted with a grocery store owner in Cadenet whose sign declared him as a type formidable (terrific guy), and tried to beat the sun to Cavaillon. By now, the trails were proper bike routes and wended their way through stunning bluffs (near Lourmarin), endless vineyards, and past a row of heavily-laden cherry trees ripening in the late golden sun, whose branches were somewhat relieved by our passing. Soon, it became apparent that a bottle of rosé was in order. Fortunately for us, the roadside cave was still open, and we nabbed a bottle of the first stuff we laid our tastebuds on. A marvelous wonder that cost 2 euros. Like flowers in the mouth. Anyway…
Having been detained by such important errands, we reached the sleepy
The next morning involved more sun, cherries, lemon yogurt, fruity bread, and coffee on a terrace in town – what better way to celebrate Abbey’s birthday? I can’t think of one. Except maybe continuing by riding through such beautiful areas such as
We were both pleasantly surprised to discover that this last place was a medieval walled city, chock full of lovely restaurants offering mussels, fries, and other temptations to hungry travelers. I think the place we ate was even called the Wayward Traveler or something. We bedded down for the night just outside the city, next to the aforementioned wall. Unfortunately, we had not come prepared for the mosquitos and wild dogs, but somehow it all worked out. Ask me about it sometime.
Finally, early the next morning, we rolled into