Day 17

I had a nice breakfast in the hotel where the walls were full of pictures showing the owner in the company of Barcelona (Football Club) stars (Puyol, Guardiola, Valdes) when they were still much younger…
Once I packed my gear I took the bike to the front of the hotel. That was a wise move as I could realise in time just how cold it was (8 degrees). At least compared to what I got used to. We were in the mountains after all…

The roads were magnificent though especially since I left the morning traffic behind. I stopped for coffee and took the opportunity to make some pics with the ski slopes in the background. The temperature started to rise and people headed to ski in the sunshine.


I crossed the Pyrenees on great roads with wonderful tarmac and breathtaking views. The weather got gradually warmer and I had to get the layers off as I arrived to Ax-les-Thermes where it was already 23 degrees in the morning. I stopped there for a coffee and bought some stickers and postcards while I walked around this beautiful place.

Once I left the mountains behind the GPS wanted to take me to the highway but I changed the settings quickly as I preferred to stay on the national roads. I had plenty of time for the day as I planned to arrive only by 6.00 pm to my brother’s workplace. This part of France is wonderful. No matter where you ride you’ll always find a place to notice. Nice bridges, castles, churches, palaces or just village centres. I stopped for lunch in Valence-sur-Baïse (not far from a place called Condom…) and decided to have a small beer as well. I enjoyed my day. 


The only strange thing about France was that no matter where you stop someone will ask you for either a cigarette or some money (usually 1-2 EUR for fuel, beer, to buy cigarettes, stc.). After a while it is quite annoying. The same happened here. A guy walked by from the village and asked me to invite him for a beer… No comment. I didn’t do it. 

Even at a casual pace I made it to Bordeaux by 5.00 pm. After a short struggle finding the right address I parked in front of my brother’s workplace where he was waiting with a nice coffee. After some chatting and the compulsory introductions we left and I followed his car in the afternoon traffic to his place. It took some 40 minutes to arrive but it was well worth it. The service was fantastic 🙂 He had cold beer and a hot shower. And of course that wasn’t all. He cooked dinner for me that we consumed together with the obvious French “apéro”. The weather was great. We sat by the window and talked for a long time about all topics we missed out on since he moved here. 
I managed to see my kids via Skype again tonight. I started to miss them too much even though I enjoyed every moment of the trip.

Daily data
Total mileage: 486.1 km
Total time on bike: 5h 29m
Average moving speed: 89 km/h
Max speed of the day: 155 km/h
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