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Day 23 ......Montpellier to Port-St-Esprit.....131 km .....(total 1,888 km)

Left Montpellier rather more impressed than I thought I would be . I can see myself returning. In a plane.

Departed Montpellier with no town in mind but simply to ride as far as I thought fit in order for me to get to Lyon by Monday.

No mistake about which country I was in.

Nîmes looked like a destination for lunch some 60 km down the road but en route at a small town called St Just I was given my own private viewing of Carmargue horses at work with their gardians as they rounded up a herd of Carmargue Bulls. Now I don’t know about you but if I was a bull with 40 of my mates with very pointy horns I would fancy my chances against 9 white horses . Alas not the case. For some reason the bulls didn’t fancy taking on the equine and their riders and to watch them rounded up was something special. Sort of akin to being in a poker parlour in the old western times of the USA and you and your gun wielding mates are confronted by a bunch of gringos bearing knives . Surely you’d think the odds are in your favour. Nope. They laid their guns on the table and said “we're yours “

I wonder if it’s twinned with St Unjust ?

After leaving Nîmes where I enjoyed the best coffee I have had since trip commencement I had a few hills to conquer before I was thrust into this gorge. Nothing wrong with this view as far as I could tell. Especially as the section was downhill and I was making decent speed.

Shortly thereafter I came across this spectacular bridge with a spectacular name.

  1. The “spectacularly “ named St Nicolas bridge

The “spectacular “ St Nicolas bridge part II

Spectacular views back up the river from the “spectacularly” named St Nicolas bridge part III

After boring even myself with more photos than would fit a wedding album of the eponymously named bridge I came across a small town that oozed character and charm. “Uzès “

For some reason I came across an abundance of these flowers today. Whenever I did they made me smile and enhanced the day. They get a photo credit as a result . Name unknown .

I rode through a town so ridiculously small yet pristine and beautiful that if you blinked you’d have missed it. Even at my pace. Appropriately named I thought .

Meet Gerrard. He was selling fresh strawberries and asparagus in the middle of his vineyard just metres off the road. He grows strawberries , cherries , asparagus , white wine grapes, and apricots on his 50 acre lot and lives in a small house in the village up the hill. The big mansion on his estate that I pointed to and asked if it was his ? “Non .. owner Englaise “. According to Gerrard and from what I could ascertain with my limited French was the following . It’s been a good season for asparagus, it will rain tomorrow , the wind will blow in my direction for the remainder of my ride and my destination for the day was 21 km away. When a farmer tells you the weather forecast and exact distance to your bed you don’t bother checking Google weather or maps .

Gerrard’s vines and somewhere up in that Rhône valley village is his house

Just another “dull” town on the Rhône Valley route towards Lyon.

I eventually made it to Pont-St-Esprit 131 km after leaving Montpellier and discovered the first of two Roman legacies.

The second was a 15 arch bridge over the Rhône River. Them Romans knew how to build a thing or two.

On my customary walk about town I came across a boules (pétanque) club with multiple games ongoing and a spectator crowd of 100+. No alcohol evident and on a spring evening a simple pleasure for free keeping the masses entertained . Participants age ranged from 18 to 100.

Done with the walkabout I sat down for dinner and across the way struck up conversation with these 3 fine gentleman. Meet Bruce, Victor and Peter. All from south west London and doing a bike ride from Geneva to Montpellier. They’re all lawyers and purchased their 190 EUR BTWIN bikes from a supermarket in Geneva , attached some panniers and set off southwards. Not sure yet what they’re going to do with the bikes at rides end.

Now there’s room for a joke . 3 lawyers and a banker walk into a bar ................ Gentlemen, was a pleasure making your acquaintance and I wish you tail winds all the way to the coast.

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