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Thursday, 25 May 2017

A trip round the neighbours - Day 7, France

Set off early from Bordeaux in fine sunny weather for my next destination, Montlucon. I'd picked Montlucon as it was in the right direction and distance on my planned route, but when looking for details on it found that it had a couple of things worth seeing. (Note: it should be spelled with a 'squiggle' under the c, but I don't know how to do that on Blogger!)

It was a lovely ride on very quiet roads as it was a holiday in France, so no trucks. However, I had my first problem of my trip - my satnav started wobbling about and as I grabbed it, the bracket broke in two! Luckily the next town I came had a hardware store where I bought some glue and sticky tape with which to attempt to fix it. The glue didn't 'take' so I wrapped some tape round it to hold it in place and headed off. When I was getting ready to go I found that I'd lost one of my custom earplugs. I looked around but couldn't find where I dropped it. I'll pick up some foam ones as I go along, but it's annoying losing a custom one.

I got to Montlucon, found my hotel, dropped of my luggage and went to find a museum I'd found on the Web. Mupop, a museum of popular music, was a five minute walk from my hotel. It's an amazing place tracing the history of popular music from early French folk tunes, which bear a clear resemblance to British and Irish folk music, through brass band and dance hall music, to the rock'n'roll era and beyond. When you arrive they give you a box with headphones to hang round your neck and you can pint it at an exhibit, press a button, then hear what the display would sound like. The folk music section has very big displays of hurdy gurdies and bagpipes used in traditional music, some of which sound very strange indeed.

There are rooms full of acoustic and electric guitars and amplifiers, and it particularly interesting in hearing many of the then popular French rock'n'roll and pop acts. I took dozens of photos and those below are only a small selection.

The museum is in the wonderfully  preserved medieval town centre which was almost deserted due to the holiday. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

On the way back to the hotel I bought some epoxy and have tried repairing my satnav mount. Let's see what it's like in the morning!

 Display about a local rock'n'roll band who were popular in the 50/60s

 How many of these albums can you name? You could listen to a lot of them through your headphones

 Jimmy Page's grandfather used to lull him to sleep with a rendition of 'Stairway to Heaven' on this!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A trip round the neighbours - Day 6, France

A 'rest day' off the bike and my second in Bordeaux. Went for a good wander round the town all day, and there is so much to see - wonderful architecture, museums and galleries, and just soaking in the ambience of the city. Following an incident where I got sunburned in France a couple of years ago, I slapped on lots of SPF50 and even wore shorts. Not sure what the locals made of my pasty, white, Scottish legs! Very hot and sunny and I saw 36 degrees on a pharmacy thermometer!
Got back to the hotel exhausted, exhilarated, and with sore feet! Think I've got a big blister developing on one, but it was worth it!
In the evening did the first piece of 'servicing' the bike has needed - topped up the Scottoiler! If this is all it needs on the trip, I'll be very happy.

Back on the road tomorrow!

Some photos:

 Palace of Justice

 I walked a long way to this museum thinking it was about the Tour de France cycle race. Turned out it was about people who built the 'Towers of France' - and it was closed!

 One thing the French do really well is commemorative sculpture!

Now a selection of paintings in the Musee des Beaux Arts

 This one is huge - takes up a whole wall

 This is the same towers at the entrance to a park that I photographed above.

 Loved this display. I'm a big fan of late 19th - early 20th century art.

Lovely fountain that cooled a square

Short video of Miroir d'Eau and Place de la Borse.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A trip round the neighbours - Day 5, France

Got up early and was on the road by 07:30! Was a bit overcast and colder than yesterday, and once clear of Tours, the roads were fairly clear so I made good progress. I knew that my journey to my next destination, Bordeaux, would take 5 or 6 hours, so I could take my time an warmer, d enjoy the ride.
By about lunchtime the sun came out and it got a lot warmer. I got to my hotel by about 14:30, dropped off my luggage, changed and went out for a walk. Bordeaux is an amazing city with so many outstanding buildings. I walked about for hours and by the time I got back to my hotel I was worn out! There's just so much to see here, so I'm glad I've got another night booked and have another full day. Here's some of today's photos, more tomorrow!

A trip round the neighbours - Day 4, France

  1. Day 4: Today. Arrived in Cherbourg, France after a very long but calm voyage. Got off the boat very quickly and through French passport control in about a minute! My plan was to head to Tours using mostly back roads. I had to make a few detours due to roads closed due to resurfacing, plus taking a couple of random routes looking for fuel, but this just means I see places I would otherwise have missed. Weather was getting warmer and sunnier, and I had to stop to open vents on suit and helmet, put on sunglasses, and change to thinner gloves. A great ride and I saw 31 degrees on a roadside thermometer. Found my hotel easily enough, dropped off my luggage and went out for a walk. A very nice city, and pleasant to walk about on a warm evening. Heading South tomorrow!
 France coming into sight!

 Managed to get a 3 berth cabin to myself!

 You know how good a day has been when you've killed as many flies as this with your helmet!

 Now that's a proper railway station!

 Town hall

 Palace of Justice

For some people, the 60's never ended!

 Saw this walking about in the evening - Scorchio!

One thing I like about France is that you can park your bike on the pavement outside your hotel

A trip round the neighbours - Days 1 to 3, Ireland

Sorry for the delay in posting but I had no Wi-Fi access while I was in Ireland, and it took me 2 days to remember my password - I hadn't used my netbook for years and it wasn't programmed into it! I've been updating as I go along on Facebook, so below are copies of posts I made there:
  1. Day 1 was an easy ride from my house to the ferry port at Cairnryan, ferry to Belfast, then a ride to Ballacolla where I met up with various friends.

Waiting for the ferry at Cairnryan

Arriving in Belfast

.Day 2: Had a bit of a lazy day at Ballacolla. It was a bit wet, (although some people managed to go out for a run), I just hung around the hostel chatting to folk before a group of us headed to Abbeyleix for lunch and shopping. That evening, there was more chatting, telling tall tales, putting the world to rights, and all the usual things that go on when people get together. A couple of people played guitar and sang songs, and Pat presented a number of superb hand made awards.

 Heading out for a run!

 There was quite a lot of this!

 Pat handing out the awards

Sean giving us a song

Day 3: Packed up and said my goodbyes to all that had attended at Ballacolla. A great weekend and many thanks to all who attended and to those who put in all the work that made it such an enjoyable weekend. Most people were heading home, but I headed south to Rosslare for the ferry to France.

 Mike and I getting ready to leave

 Everything should be done The Norman Way!

All aboard the Oscar Wilde