C'etait un rendezvous

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C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:17 pm

On the road again, this time nipping across to Strasbourg(ish) to meet some friends for dinner. Four warm, sunny days on wiggly roads, what's not to like?

Just spent the afternoon riding through Belgium, making a brief pilgrimage to the homes of some of the world's most unusual breweries.

First stop was the abbey of Sint Sixtus, home of Westvleteren Trappist ale.

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The only place you can legally buy this stuff is at the abbey gate. You can't just turn up, either - you have to phone up at a certain time, ask what's available (and there may be nothing), and they'll give you a time and date to appear to collect no more than two crates. Resale is forbidden. Fortunately I had a mate score me some a couple of years back, as the KTM isn't the ideal mode of transport for 48 bottles of live beer.

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Next stop was the abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, in Rochefort. Not quite so rare, you can get this at specialist beer shops and bars relatively easily, but absolutely lethal. They do three beers, 6, 8 and 10, the latter of which clocks in at something like 11.2% ABV. I've lost a few nights in my time thanks to that stuff.

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Plan tomorrow is to get moving early, head up to Orval (my personal favourite), and then take a big detour down through the Vosges mountains before finding the others for dinner. With a bit of luck I'll have time to take a few decent snaps, rather than just park up outside locked gates.

But first, after waffling about all that beer, I need to go and drink some.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Yoozy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:12 pm

Weyyyyy heyyyy heyyyy, nice one, you jammy jammy swine you. Looks my kind of gig, bikes, twisties, mucky ale :P . Plenty of piccies mate :D
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:43 pm

I'm only here because the moment I got back from France in May I had a fit of Wanderlust and looked for an excuse to come back.

"Meeting some friends for dinner near Strasbourg" is my weakest excuse yet.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Yoozy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:58 pm

I like yer style :lol:
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by JJay51 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:17 pm

I do have a soft spot for France i must say, so much so that i'm considering buying a property there in the next year or two :D

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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:28 pm

I just have a soft spot for "abroad", and I wouldn't buy a place because it'd tie me down.

Tonight I've rocked up in what might aspire to be a one horse town and the locals have taken me in as one of their own. It doesn't matter which country it is, the effect is the same.

Going to be a bit of a cunt getting up in the morning though.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Muppet » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:00 am

You're still single ain't you Og?

Lucky fucker if you are.............enjoy. Enjoy it while you still can. :(
This is what I do with mine....

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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:08 am

Muppet wrote:You're still single ain't you Og?
Not for the last nine years or so. No kids though, which I think might be the clincher. She's off to Turkey with one of her mates tomorrow - when I suggested this trip, her main objection (if that) was that I wouldn't be around to run her to the airport.

It's been an interesting night. Typical France - after four hours of speaking broken French, suddenly everyone around me is able to speak English, but they're glad I made the effort.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Yoozy » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:57 am

Its the only way to do it. Just jump straight in wit yokels.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by BradTaz » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:54 pm

I miss riding round aimlessly on the continent. You lucky bastard. Fookin long way from Australia.
If you stumble across it (found it somewhere in southern Belgium- cant remember for some reason 8-) ) I highly recommend St Bernadus. It has a alcohol level in the stratosphere, but still tastes bewdiful. Dangerous combination.

Dunno if it's your thing, but an afternoon at Ipier in Belgium is pretty cool, their daily war memorial service at Menin Gate is pretty moving. Not far off on your way home cobber.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:15 pm

I've been to Ypres before. It's not far from the abbey at Westvleteren. The Menin Gate itself is quite moving.

In Alsace now, trip meter just ticked past 1000km. Seat no longer feeling comfy.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:04 pm

Right, on the laptop now.

Got absolutely battered with some locals last night, last man out the door, seem to have got to bed about 3am. So no surprise I was a bit later than planned getting away this morning.

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First stop, as intended, was the abbey of Notre-Dame d'Orval, which as well as being a functioning monastery also produces one of my favourite beers. Alas, because I'd had an unscheduled lie-in, I didn't have time to look around properly, but it's slated for a return visit at some point. I'll be back in the area for the races at Gedinne in a couple of months, so maybe then.

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Tonight's hotel is in Haguenau, just north of Strasbourg. If you draw a straight line between Douzy and Sedan, I've no idea how long it'd be, but it wouldn't intersect with any of the roads I did today. Rather than make a beeline for Haguenau, I headed south to Neufchateau and Vittel, to pick up the road from Épinal to St Dié des Vosges. It seems the Rallye de Lorraine is on this weekend, because while I was sitting outside a cafe having a quick coffee, a load of full-spec rally cars came through town. Not even vaguely road legal, and ear-splittingly loud, especially bouncing off the walls.

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All in all, a cracking day on the road. It felt great to walk out of the hotel this morning, dump my stuff in the topbox, get on the bike and just ride. Meeting up with some friends this evening, a decent meal and a load more beers, and then tomorrow I start the journey home. Sort of. Germany is on the way home, right?
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Yoozy » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:24 pm

Just look at them roads, just look at the sky,,,,now where's the slobber smiley ?
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by BradTaz » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:23 am

Mid winter here, excuse me while I dig out a bottle of gin and find a length of rope suitable for a noose.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:57 pm

Just stopped for lunch in Häusern, a few miles south of the wonderfully named Titisee. Picked up the B500 at Baden-Baden and followed it south. Lovely roads, even better scenery, but a lot of traffic, it being a pleasant Sunday. And Gott in Himmel these Germans ride slowly.

Schnitzelzeit!
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:47 pm

I think I've just found the silliest road in the world.

Met up as planned with some friends last night - they're on their way to Austria for the week, I recommended the restaurant we went to last night, and I had the idea of coming over to join them. On my previous visit I was absolutely wired after 1000km with a hangover, on top of riding most of the way from London to Istanbul and back. So I was a bit nervous that the restaurant might not be all I remembered it to be. A fear unfounded, because it was absolutely top notch. Hotel Restaurant Les Pins in Haguenau, in the unlikely event that anyone's in the area at some point and looking for a meal.

Anyway, after a few beers I got a (relatively) early night and met the others at their hotel for 9.30 this morning. After two days on my own, I thought it'd be nice to ride with company again. Of course the downside is that unless that company rides at a similar pace, and can be trusted to get away on time, it's a much slower way to travel. One of them, bless him, is stuck on a two-wheeled ditch pump (a Harley) because he had a head-on collision with a Peugeot a couple of years back and can't bend his leg enough to ride a proper bike. A warning there for the rest of us. Anyway, they were heading to Bavaria, while I was intending to head to Baden-Baden and ride through the Black Forest, so we stuck together as far as the Rhine and split up shortly after.

First surprise was at the river, where there was no sign of the bridge I was expecting. Had a free ride on a ferry though, so it turned out alright. Once I'd split off and found the B500, I headed up into the mountains. The northern end of the road is fast, flowing and gathers altitude quickly. I was playing careful, having been nicked round that way before, and Germans really do seem to ride very slowly, but when a bloke on a gixer came past I saw a chance to claim my first scalp. Very naughty behaviour ensued, until I realised I'd missed a turning because I was so busy racing, and had to turn round to pick up the right road.

I was so busy making progress, carving up Germans three at a time on the way into hairpins, I was south of Titisee before I stopped for something to eat. I'd have stopped earlier, but every time I duffed someone up I thought I'd best not hang about in case they wanted to have words. They're a funny old bunch, the krauts, but they know how to do lunch. After a big slab of meat, a quick beer and a coffee to perk me up, I hit the road again.

After dipping briefly into Switzerland, for no reason other than that I'd not been back on two wheels since a very expensive afternoon at a border crossing a few years ago, I looped up round past Basel and back into France, taking the chance to give the KTM a run on an unlimited Autobahn while I was in the area. It's a lot better without the panniers, but the weave still kicked in at just over 200kmh, so I probably never will know what its actual top speed is.

Anyway, once I was back in France, I found myself with an hour or so to kill, so headed back up into the Vosges mountains to find some wiggly bits. And I hit the jackpot there. The road from Thann to Masevaux was a tight, twisty little rollercoaster, but it took me to something called the Route de Ballon d'Alsace. I'd never heard of it, but there were signs for it everywhere, so I followed them to see where it took me. The answer was one of the most entertaining, three-dimensional, pant-wettingly good roads I've ever found, up and down a valley, and ending up here at the aforementioned Ballon d'Alsace.

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I just had time there for a quick beer and a coffee (always have been one for mixing uppers with downers) before heading to tonight's hotel along a load of Garmin-special goat tracks. On the way down I caught up with someone thrashing the tits off what I think was a CBR600, and like many others over the last couple of days he looked absolutely baffled to find an orange tractor wedged up his arse and refusing to let go.

So tonight I'm back on my own in Luxeuil-les-Bains, with a sore arse and the thick end of 500 miles to do tomorrow. If all goes to plan I'll be getting up early and doing the lot without a sniff of autoroute. Or I'll get shedded again, sleep late, and sit on the péage all the way to Calais. Place bets now.

Route is here: http://goo.gl/maps/KhqNG
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by JJay51 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:49 pm

We stayed at Hagenau last year, managed to get in here : -

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Revi ... lsace.html

Glad your having a blast, no work tomorrow then? :mrgreen:

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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:53 pm

Nope, took Friday and Monday off. Daft not to make a decent weekend of it.
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by Yoozy » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:03 pm

Yer gettin on me tits now.



























:D
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Re: C'etait un rendezvous

Post by ogden » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:30 am

Sitting at a junction. Two signs. One says "Toutes Directions". The other says "Autres Directions".

Er...
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