Flat day

Today we woke up early to a beautiful day. Cili – our host’s wife – already left for work. While brewing coffee Gyula tried to persuade us to take our time to pack and have breakfast at home despite him leaving to work. He said we’d drop off the key at his workplace later on. Even though it was too kind we preferred not to bother him further and decided to move on. We left with him a little after 8.00 am. The first part through time was a bit slow due to traffic but at least I had some time to reminisce. after all I had worked for more than 5 months in this town a couple of years back. Once leaving town the road became far better. The scenery was nice as we followed the lake heading East then entering France. We stopped 2 km short of Evian-les-Bains at a lakeside restaurant to have some breakfast. as the personnel quickly announced it was a mistake to think we could have breakfast at 10.00 am. They reluctantly pulled together two tables and announced that breakfast is not served anymore and we’ll have to wait if we want to have lunch… We stayed for some coffee but didn’t stay long as we were all eager to turn left in a couple of miles and head for the Route des Grandes Alpes. 

It was only once we started the bikes that we realised we’ll have to wait with that. John’s BMW had  a flat rear tyre – a screw as it later turned out. After a short information gathering session we were told there is a mechanic / tyre repair shop in Evian. We slowly made it to the place which was an Agip station combined with a workshop (Agip, Évian-les-Bains, N46 23.947, E6 34.791) but Fortuna was not on our side that day. 
The owner told us he knows little about bike tires but we can use the place and tools. Our fellow biker however did not pack an inner tube  due to lack of space. Here I must highlight that he is the only person on earth travelling on an F800GS having a single topcase and a backpack. He is of he opinion that panniers make his bike look odd… Well here you go. No space, no tubes. 
We took off the wheel to try and repair it but the valve broke so we were left with no tube to repair. It was plan B. Being the only French speaker in the group it was up to me to ride 15 km to a bike store to get the tube. but it was closed. We knew tomorrow will be the 14th of July (French revolution) but we did not count on Monday being a bridge day. 
Back to the petrol station we enlisted the help of the owner to try and find a store that might be open as he was kind enough to call around his suppliers. Unfortunately life stops between 12.00 and 14.00 for a so called siesta or lunch break so we had to admit there is nothing we can do now. We headed for lunch. We found a small restaurant not far from the station. Food was great. a three-course meal and a drink for €13 was well worth it and it felt good to sit in the shade of the terrace as temperatures rose around 30 degrees. At 2.00 pm we returned to the Agip station. Meanwhile Maurice – the owner – found the tubes we needed in a friend’s grocery store. Yes, I am not kidding. A grocery store! They were tuck between the garden appliances and mosquito repellents. He took us there in his car as he said it is quicker if he navigates through the narrow streets on the hill rather then explaining us the way to get there. Once done we went back to get the repair finished. Csabi changed the tires and we were ready to go. We fuelled up and thanked Maurice for his invaluable help. 
John even wanted to pay for his services but he wouldn’t accept. Just before we left John ran into his office, put a €50 note on the desk and ran out… 
Mountains at last! The road was magnificent. Nice bends, little roads and almost no traffic. We stopped in Cluses at a Turkish kebab place to drink a couple of lemonades and check the maps. We 
quickly realised we won’t make it today to Valloire as we originally planned unless we take the main roads. We preferred to stay on the scenic roads though and follow the original road. 

 
 

Wonderful mountains roads took us to Bourg-Saint-Maurice where we ended the day’s journey. We started to look for accommodation. There were plenty of options for bikers near the main road for a price range of €69-€80 so we looked further. Heading towards the edge of town I noticed a sign and we quickly stepped on the brakes and turned in that direction. The place was called „La Petite Auberge” – a small villa with a garden restaurant with a couple of bikes parked in front (N45 36.663, E6 45.659). I jumped off the bike to ask if they have rooms. the guys sitting on the terrace enlightened me that they are only running the restaurant so I should check inside. They also informed me that on Sundays and Mondays the restaurant is closed hence we have to head into town should we desire to eat something. That was OK though it would have been much better to just sit there in the garden with a couple of beers.

 

As a surprise an English couple was running the hotel. We agreed the price (€40/room/night) and got two three-bed rooms. We quickly parked the bikes then took our luggage in the room, showered and met in front of the hotel. 
It took around 10 minutes walk to get to the pedestrian area of the small town where there were plenty of options to eat. We walked around a bit then opted for a small pizzeria and ordered food and beers and chatted through the day’s events. 

We walked back before midnight – we were the last customers in the pizzeria by that time. Despite the flat tire it was a good day and we saw part of what will await us in the next days. 

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