Sunday, October 13, 2013

Birthday Weekend Biking

Before I launch into this post I want to show you a pic of the gold lamé knickers (as requested...). They are actually relevant to this post because they came with me on the trip to Mt Ventoux, not that they saw much of the views...

The weekend of my birthday, my DB and I joined a small group of merry motorbike enthusiasts for a weekend in Mont Ventoux. He knew everyone, I knew one guy from a few years ago because he is also a keen cyclist and mountain biker, and my boys used to do mountain biking in his club. So that was nice - one familiar face (two with my DB...). As I said to my DB, Montpellier is a small world and it's no surprise bumping into someone I know since I've been here for 20 odd years.

The group going across a lovely old bridge
There were four other bikes, two of which had partners on the back, everyone about the same age. Motorbiking groups are great (!) if everyone is of the same biking standard. But if one is not as confident or experienced as the others, it leads to, let's say, high levels of frustration both for the biker and the others who have to wait for him.

I didn't take this drunk, the trees lean to the left - it's a windy place!
Mont Ventoux is a couple of hours ride away from Montpellier. We took the back roads as the autoroute is no fun really despite being practical if you're in a hurry. We weren't, so I could sit back and enjoy the views. It was vendange time, so there was a lot of tractor/trailer activity and heady smells of fermenting grapes.
This is a field of tomatoes on the floor
I didn't know that you could grow tomatoes on the floor professionally. I have done it in my garden because I'm too lazy to pin up my tomato plants, especially when I suspect I'll get the usual meagre harvest so the effort would be unlikely to be rewarded, but a whole field? That's one lazy farmer! Respect!

These are the giant's teeth that I wrote about in a previous post (one that has had the most ever visits and can be seen in the right-hand column), seen from another angle. My DB told me at 11pm the night before we left that we had to take a picnic lunch the next day. Cue dash to boulangerie early on Saturday morning to buy bread, plus hunt around the fridge for cheese. Luckily I still had some bits left over from my party the week before! Those who had found out in good time came with a variety of goodies including a tomato salad which was kindly shared with us. We had a lovely view with our lunch of the 'Dentelles' (sticky-up bits of rock in the distance):
View with lunch time picnic

Picturesque hamlet
We spent the night in a hotel which had a lovely view overlooking a valley. For €55 each we got the room plus dinner.
Hotel Plantevin
View from bedroom window and terrace
The dinner menu looked quite nice but we were on a 'forfait' so we got no choice and fairly miserable portions. The starter was some tasteless sliced tomato with a bit of basil sauce dribbled across it, the main course was a small piece of salmon and a couple of accompaniments (wheat 'Ebly' and a thin square of aubergine gratin). Dessert was ice-cream in an edible container and too much squirty cream. I don't reckon it was really value for money (and said so on Trip Advisor) but the rooms had been recently decorated and it was all nice and clean.

Of course we all had dinner together and it reminded me of a party I'd been to when I first met my ex-h. He was still a medical student and fraternised solely with other medical students (and me). I arrived at the party with him, said 'Bon soir', sat through an evening of medical discussion and said 'Au revoir' at the end. I told him he could go to the next one without me.

The discussion around the dinner table that evening (as at lunch time) was, au choix: motorbikes, bicycles, mountain bikes, places visited on said bikes, problems experienced, competitions done, and sport (which I'm not interested in unless it's the Olympics). When I did open my mouth to say something, I annoyed my DB intensely (cos I was networking, lost my head, and mentioned my ex-h), and ruined the rest of our weekend!

I was already tepid at the idea of a group holiday mainly because I'm not a 'group holiday' type of person. I've had the experience of group holidays in the past (mostly when young) which were enough to put me off for life and I can't say I've really moved on since then! Unless they are family or my DB (et même...!), I like people in small doses. I don't like to feel obliged to interact with, or take into account the wishes of others over an extended period. Call me an antisocial old bat but I like my space and doing what I like when and how I like.

The good thing about motorbiking of course is that you're riding for most of the time. My DB and I don't even have one of those communicating mic systems because we like to ride in peace. If I have something to say I have to wait, or if it's important like I think he's going to miss the next turning, I indicate with my hand the direction to go in. Works fine for us and ensures lots of lovely peace and quiet, and no need to chat.

As we still weren't speaking to each other the following morning it was just as well!

17 comments:

  1. Wow,what views! And I'm not talking about your pants...!!
    Beautiful scenery, weather looks gorgeous too.
    I agree, we like family holidays, not keen on group hols.

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    1. The views were indeed stunning and the weather was lovely. It was a super day.

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  2. Oh yes, group holidays are my idea of nightmare, thankfully husband feels the same. Mont Ventoux is on our list, he wants to do it on the bicycle, I'm not too sure!

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    1. It's a long difficult climb but if you've been training and take your time you should make it. I'd wouldn't do it but I don't like cycling up hills... :)

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  3. I remember the Mont Ventoux; way back when PF and I set up shack in the Hérault, we sat at the top of the Mont Ventoux, he took off his new glasses and put them down whilst he had a passionate, mushy kiss. Those were the days... His glasses are still up there somewhere, enjoying the view. Well done for holding out for so long in one-subject dinner conversation: you should have pulled on those lovely lame knickers and sung "Waterloo" from the middle of the table :-)
    I gave up on restaurant meals with PF for the same reason, except my bug bear is called science. I remember a painful evening listening to an ego on legs explaining how he was going to save the world with lobster antennae....

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    1. Oh I think I spotted his glasses... well someone had left some sunnies dangling on a barrier, wonder if he came back for them! :)

      It did get wearing I must say, the conversation, and no one was impressed when I said that my favourite VTT path was the flat one from Lattes to the sea. Oops... :D

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  4. Lovely places to visit....without a group in tow. Especially a speciality group....
    and that meal sounds foul.


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    1. It's a beautiful place indeed. The meal was definitely a disappointment, especially compared to what we saw others eating off the menu.

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  5. I am like you, I never know what to say in a group and I end up embarrassing my family. I had to learn to shut up & listen. Easier said than done...

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    1. Glad to know it's not just me! :)

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  6. OOh la la on the undies. You are hilarious - so honest I love it! I need to have time away from a group and my own space otherwise I get very grumpy indeed. That hotel is stunning and the side leaning trees feel like my brain today

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    1. Bet you wish you had a pair of undies like mine, eh, Jody? :)

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  7. O you big tease! We all know there's a top to that. You know, I really should be very "diplomatic" in my response here, right? Otherwise.....well, let's just leave it at that.

    I do like the color.

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    1. Haha, sorry to disappoint you, DD, but there is no top. Is that better or worse? ;)

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    2. Tough question. I'll get back to you....

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  8. Lovely photos as usual but how did you stop yourself leaping onto the table, and flashing your gold under crackers as Jody says?! I so agree with you about space and peace and quiet. I'm writing this from Delhi, so not seeing a lot of any of those!

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    1. Yeah, it was tempting, and had we been in Torremolinos on a hen bash...

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Comments are bienvenue.