This should really be titled “Mountains, Lakes and Motorbikes”, but that would break the alliteration.
This trip was first suggested to me by my brother, ” why don’t we go to Lake Como for the bi-annual Moto Guzzi Open House weekend in early September.” He obviously possesses one of these Italian machines which he says is “full of character”.
For a variety of reasons the plan didn’t progress much further until we got back from our previous trip, in early August.
“Do you still want to go?” he asked.
Yes, give me the dates and I’ll arrange something
“OK, I want to arrive on Thursday 5th, and leave on Monday 9th”
I still had some holiday to use up, so I had a look at the map to see where I might spend some time with my wife and then opened negotiations.
Dearest wife, would you like to go on holiday to Annecy?
“What’s there?” she asked.
Well, it’s at the end of a beautiful lake which is surrounded by mountains. The old town is very pretty and has rivers running through it, indeed it has been described as the Venice of France.
“How would I get there?”
You could could fly to Geneva and I’d pick you up from the airport, it’s not very far.
The stage was set.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------26 Aug 2019
Early on Monday morning I set off for Folkestone to cross under the sea. I came out of the train at about 9:30 to a lovely cloudless sky and stopped a little way up the road to adjust my particulars and check the map.
I now became very confused - I had booked a (cheap) hotel that night in Troyes, because it was about half way to Annecy, and I was expecting the distance to be roughly 330 miles, but it was showing about 200 to go.
The fog of stupidity gradually burned off in the morning sunshine. It was indeed about 330 miles to Troyes. From home. So keen was I to get on my hollibobs that I had discounted the UK part of the journey as it’s not very pleasant. Now, having ridden from home to Folkestone and made the subterranean journey I had travelled 130 of my 330 miles - leaving “only” 200 to go that day.
My plan had been to arrive at Troyes late in the afternoon or early evening, because I had no idea what it was like, now I had a surplus of time so what should I do with the day?
I looked at the map and considered various options, until I had a brainwave. It’s a lovely warm summer day with a perfect blue sky above, so instead of cruising along the motorway why don’t I stick to small roads, head across country all day. If it were taking too long I could always go back to the motorway.
What a great decision that was. Riding along roads which were almost deserted through the gentle slopes of Northern France. Slow down for the little villages, enjoy looking at them as I passed through and then speed up a bit when leaving. I should have taken more pictures that day but I was just enjoying the ride.
I headed into Arras for lunch, where I had been only three weeks before, and then onwards as the crops slowly changed into grapes nearing Reims.
I went into Reims, not to see the Cathedral (I did glance at it going past) but to look at somewhere else.
This is now, fittingly, an International school. The small sign next to the door tells what momentous event occurred here.
After that I was bored, so hopped on the motorway for the last 80 miles to Troyes, stopping only at the Golden Arches for some calories before going to the hotel and having an early night.
Distance for the day 354 miles on the bike, 17 on the train.
The next day I had the thick end of 300 miles to cover, but as I was close to the center of Troyes I thought I should check it out. Just in case.
Next time I pass that way I think I’ll spend some more time there!
Another sunny day, with a lot of it spent on the motorway, but after lunch mountains began to appear in the distance, and then after stopping for fuel near Bourg-en-Bresse the road went into the mountains. 80 miles of breathtaking views.
The place that I had rented was out near the railway station, and had a parking space round the back. After sorting out the keys I unloaded the bike and went to the shop around the corner to get essentials and something for later.
That evening I went out for a ride, a 25 mile loop into the hills, which was very pleasant apart from the two stupid drivers who tried to kill me. Fortunately they failed so I was able to enjoy the sunset views.
Back at the flat I called my wife to tell her about the place, views etc. and as we were speaking a massive thunderstorm started. Lots of lightning and the crashes of thunder echoing off the mountains. Lots of rain as well. Hopefully it would go away before breakfast time.
Distance for the day - 317 miles, including the 25 mile loop.Not many pictures so far, but there are a lot to come.