This is the last chapter on the Euro adventure. The plan is to drive from Avignon about 3-4 hours to a small town called Bagneres-de-Bigorre at the base of a TDF mountain stage called the Col de Tourmalet, another famous peak. The drive was uneventful again, not a bad thing. Lots of toll ways to travel on this southern portion of the trip so more money to spend that we didn’t plan for. By the time we got to our destination the weather had come in and it’s raining lightly and the temp is dropping. I guess my selection of ride wear which included light summer gear was not such a great choice. I am glad I also packed lots of warm gear, the summer stuff has just been extra weight, never used clothing. May be posting some of that home this week to save weight on bags at the airport.
As we wind through the valley into the town, later Sunday afternoon, things are very quite. Just about everything is closed, including restaurants. Not good for us. We see the hotel actually from quite some distance, large yellowish building situated on a hill on the far edge of town. The streets are really narrow again as we drive in, even the two lanes roads, barely room for both vehicles. Up this very narrow twisty driveway and we are there. Bushy goes in and finds a problem but an easy one. The owner/lady at the front desk says we have payed twice for the room, whew. The room is on the first floor and looks OK, kind of like a BnB, one main queen bed with bamboo poles, sheer drapes and canopy, Bushy’s love nest for a few days. I get the temporary set up double at the base of the canopy. Stove top, microwave, sink and refrigerator and generous bathroom complete the space.
We get settled in and it’s food time, last time we ate was a quick sandwich on the toll way at midday. Where, no that’s a question. The hotel has no restaurant, only a breakfast area for the morning. We did drive by a casino at the base of the hill below the hotel and that’s the suggestion, not our favorite pick. We drive around town and there is absolutely nothing open, a few bars so we have one beer and move on. All the places we saw coming in are closed. Close to the casino is a cafe, only pancakes and sweet treats, kind of like a fancy tea house. Over to the casino, doesn’t open for another 1.5 hours at half past 7. Crap, back to the tea house for a crepe and coffee to hold us over. We need to waste some time so we start to drive towards the Tourmalet, not sure, about 10 kilometers outside of town. The temp is dropping and so is the SNOW! Not much, melts on the road but it’s kind of like the 4th or 5th time Bushy has ever seen snow. The road side sirns are flashing Col de Tourmalet, Fermes! (Closed) Eventually, back to the casino, first ones in for dinner seating. Good thing because it fills fast, only place in town open.
Short dinner, I’m trashed from yesterdays ride and the drive here, guess what’s next? Home and Netflix, read, bed, goodnight.
Monday, up after a decent sleep, down for breakfast. People are wandering around the lobby in robes, humm. This place is called Thermes De La Reine. Have to check this out later.
We drive to town, 10 minutes down the hill to take care of a few things and find the tourist information and as we drive, there are runners with numbers heading up the hills. There was music from down below us at 8 A.M. Festival? Into town and again, not much is open. Not any of the places we were looking for. We did gather some food and find an ATM, making plans for this afternoon and evening if we need to do food for ourselves. It’s all becoming clear, it’s May 1st in France, May day, national holiday, no wonder everything is closed and vendors are selling flowers on the sidewalks. Duh!!
We still need to assemble the bikes and try for a ride, no rain but still very cool. We might have to drive to an area and ride from there. More to figure out, more to come.