Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Day trip to a fantastic castle and nice town of Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland

I drove Guy to Estavayer-le-Lac where he was opening and presenting at a conference. Five chaps blowing Swiss horns was quite a sight and sound.

I took the opportunity to look around the town. I first stopped at a Migros supermarket from some yoghurt, coffee and Toblerone chocolate.

I then walked to the fantastic very well preserved 12C Château de Chenaux. I walked the ramparts and climbed the Keep for excellent views across Lake de Neuchâtel. The building is used by the police and other local authorities.

I walked through the mediaeval streets of the town down to the harbour and watched two ferries arrive - one for Neuchatel and other for Yverdon-les-Bains.

I did a lap in the tourist tram cart to see the rest of town. It was interesting to learn that the lake level was lowered by 3.5 meters by engineering works with the rivers flowing in and out so the new water side is further out from the town than the old one.

There is also a cable water ski park - apparently the first in Switzerland.

Walking back in the town I visited the Dominican Convent then the small museum that had a curious collection of historical objects and the very strange Frog Exhibition where frogs were displayed in several human scenes.

The town was quiet with very few tourists about and the temperature was nice after the heat of Paris.

Returning to the car I drove to Portalban and recognised it as the location where we sailed with Pierre's roher in law during our visit in 2009!  I had a refreshing quick swim on the beach there.

The countryside in this area is beautiful and the roads were not busy. There are good cycling routes in this area too,

I returned to Estavayer-le-Lac to pickup Guy and drove back to Meyrin on the freeway in the hybrid Audi Q5 - a very nice car.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

C2C Pyrenees, final day. Prades to Cadaques, we made it!

 The final day of our  tour across the Pyrenees. I was good to go after a big breakfast and our rest day yesterday. I got goiing just after 7 into the cool morning.

Afeter a pleasant ride down the valley to long easy climb to the Col du Fortou started, entering dry forest and passing trhrough a mountain village,, The read was very quiet.

There were good views back to the Pyrenees from the top, The descent was very rough and slow on a narrow road, then the panorama across the plains looking to Perpignan was revealed.

I stopped for a coffee and Orangina to Au Pain Gourmand in Forbes where I chatted to an English couple who have lived in France for 40 years.

Then I bought a delicious nectarine from a roadside seller as I continued along the route, passing an overturned car in a creek with flowers on the bridge.

I crossed the main busy motorway on a bridge and continued on past vineyards. The route took me down a narrow dirt track which vanished in scrub. I hauled the bike through and across a steep creek coming to a paddock.  There was no track but I could see a house so I continued to it and re-joined the road.  RideGPS had presented this section of route that did not exist.

There was another dead end at a railway line so I backtracked through a village, seeing Greg, Mike and Phil riding in the distance. I caught up to them and continued on until we got to the very busy resort town of Argeles-sur-mare where we stopped for lunch. George and John arrived an joined us. The Tartine Catalan at the L'olivier d'argeles cafe was very good.

After lunch we followed the coastal highway for a short distance then detoured through vineyards to a very steep concreted climb that everybody had to walk up before joining a dramatic road the climbed up above the vineyards past the ruin of a monastery for spectacular views along the Mediterranean coast before descending.

I stopped in the border town of Cebere and waited for George and John to catch up. We rode together through coastal towns across the border to Spain to start the final climb inland to the final climb then descent to Cadaques, very pleased to have made it.

After settling in we had a wonderful paella dinner at the friendly family restaurant Casa Pilar.