Journey across Europe on two wheels: France

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Travel  |  House: Booksie Classic

The French section of this 6 month motorcycle journey across Europe, where I found beautiful sceneries, people, and cultures, all while riding on two wheel.

Submitted: July 13, 2018

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Submitted: July 13, 2018



"It's raining" Said the Frenchman who worked on the ferry. I just shrugged my shoulders and put a face as if saying "Well, not much I can do about it".

The ferry arrived at Roscoff at 7am, where I would ride under the rain for most of the morning. Thankfully, all my gear is waterproof. All but my riding boots; should really invest into waterproof boots, they pay off.

I was to be in Nantes that afternoon, where I would couchsurf with Jean. I decided to make my way avoiding major highways and tolls; if the road looks curvy on the map, I try to take that.

I was delighted to see the difference between towns and cities of France like Roscoff, Morlaix, Nantes, and how they contrasted with what I'm used to seeing in California or Mexico. I'm not someone who knows much about architectural details, but it doesn't take one to notice. The narrow streets of the smaller towns are pleasant to see, but what I fell the most in love with, was the countryside of France. So much nature, trees and prairies all over, with occasional fields full of yellow flowers.

Once in Nantes, I met my host, Jean, who used to ride motorcycles years ago, so we immediately got along. He offered to take me out on a city tour, but asked that he drove us there... on my motorcycle. I hesitated, but, why not. I asked Jean to ride the bike up and down the street so he at least got a feel for it, and so I could be sure he'd actually ridden before. We toured the historic center and got back home safely, however, Jean drives like there's no tomorrow. I feared for the worst while I was riding passenger.

Jean was already hosting two other people, Clement and Djouli, and was expecting someone else that same day, Gabrielle. That made a total of five of us in Jean's house. We had great conversations and shared an amazing dinner composed of ham, baked potatoes, and my absolute favorite, cheese; this Franche-Comte was the best type of cheese I've had in my life!

A couple of days later, after having visited places like La Rochelle and Dune du Pilat, I woke up in my hostel bed, in Bordeaux, getting ready to leave, not sure where I would end up sleeping that night. Isn't that the best feeling when traveling? I suppose it's not for everyone, but I'm not much of an itinerary type of traveler, especially when going out for six months as is this European adventure. All I knew was I was headed south, towards Spain, and I was sure I wanted to cross via the Pyrenees Mountain range, but through where, though?

Before arriving in Pau, the Pyrenees became visible in the horizon. "Oh-oh" I thought as I saw the snow capped peaks. I wondered how miserably cold that ride would be. In Pau, while eating a delicious chicken and pepper sandwich, with cheese, obviously, I did some research on the Pyrenees, looking for the best route. The online forums provided an overwhelming amount of information, so much so that I ended up not being sure of what to do. It was getting late, and I wanted to make it somewhere safe to camp in the mountains, but not ride in the dark, so I jotted down some roads on a piece of paper and took off.

After a while I began ascending, it was no longer important which road I was on; they were all great roads! All were curvy, narrow, completely surrounded by green hills with sheep, cattle, and a lone farm house every so often; just beautiful.

Further up the mountains, in a forest area, was a hairpin curve on the road that required full attention from the driver, which easily would make anyone miss the grassy area with a picnic table, several bushes and trees, a river flowing through it, and a snow capped mountain peak in the background. Well, I saw it and thought it would be the ideal spot to camp. I parked my motorcycle against a wall, where the road passed by above, I set my tent next to it and had a perfect night, wild camping as I had wished for.

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