The shortest stretch of km covered in a single day of the entire ride thus far but not the shortest day in the saddle .
Left Agde early as ingrained by “The Redeemed One “ (aka Mark.S) and it seemed fitting that for the first 20 km all that separated me from the Mediterranean was a single sand dune as I cruised along a dedicated cycle path. Fitting in the sense that this is the last day that the Mediterranean will be my riding companion. Having first sighted it from a plane as we landed in Gibraltar to seeing me off from Tarifa it has being present off my right shoulder for large chunks of this ride. Today however I bid it Au Revoir as I head directly north through France and Germany to the North Sea, then Baltic Sea, Norwegian Sea and finally Barents Sea at Cape Nordkapp.
The coastal route from Agde to Montpellier crosses over vast expanses of shallow water sea lakes bordered by small causeways upon which roads exist or tracks .
With dedicated cycle paths, no traffic, bluebskies, and just a slight breeze (headwind naturally) what was there not to like? Not a lot . In fact nothing.
A first! Never before have I seen one of these . A compressed air bicycle tyre pump. FREE whatsmore! Located on the side of the cycle way just west of Sète.
One of the better looking cycle path way signs I have seen.
They say buses come in 3’s. So too it would seem do touring cyclists. Meet Jonathan. Born and bred New Jersey but having spent most of his professional life in Chicago he now resides in Oregon. Riding from Toulouse to Belgium “just because” we bumped into each other on a dodgy track between two waterways and spent the next half day in company . Staying in different hotels in Montpellier we met for drinks and dinner and have to say you’d be hard pressed to find more congenial company . Sir it was a pleasure.
About an hour after meeting Jonathan and riding onwards together we bumped into this spritely gentleman. He spoke German, we didn’t. We spoke English, he didn’t. Despite the linguistic barriers I was able to discern he has cycled from his town just west of Munich and is riding to Tarifa. Sir, I hope you enjoy the downhill from Granada .
Low behold about 30 mins after meeting man from Munich we bump into a couple from ....... Munich! They had no idea that in front of them was Munich Man. This couple were riding from Munich to Granada to Lisbon to Brittany and back to Munich. Just because they can. 3,000 km. Pffft... wimps. She had a small pot plant of Daisy’s in her front handle bar bag and he surely is the tallest man in Montpellier today riding a bike.
Just outside of Montpellier we came across some white horses. Normally I would’ve ridden straight past but my half day riding companion, Jonathan, informed me these weren’t just any normal white horses but horses famous and particular to this area. Known simply as Carmargue Horses they come from the wetlands of the Rhône that we were passing through. Like the Carmargue Bulls they live in semi liberty and are one of the oldest breeds in the world who are closely related to the prehistoric horses whose remains have been discovered in this area. At birth they are coloured dark brown or black and it’s not until they turn 4 that they become white . They are looked after by their riders, who are the modern day cowboy and called “Gardians”
Montpellier old town is full of beautiful buildings and a public transport system reliant on modern trams
Trams with character .
“Mon dieu! She’s about to check mate me”
Playing chess in parkland about 123 metres from the main square in the midst of a springtime sunset.
Yes. Look again. That’s an entire building wall adorned in 3 dimensional artwork.
I’d like to share more of Montpellier with you but at 5 mins per picture download this is getting arduous. One of the discoveries of the trip I will elaborate more on later. The supposed free WiFi offered by hotels. Yesterday in particular was special . “Oh our WiFi doesn’t work with iPhones “