While i was doing research for the trip, one site warned me to check the route of the tour de france and to avoid it as they close roads and the delays are monumental.

Sound advice , which I remembered yesterday, when east of toulouse we arrived into a small town with 'route barre' signs all over it, Yup the tour...we have a handy little 'detour' function on Doris (the sat nav) clearly though she doesn't understand the meaning of detour, or perhaps she just likes cycling, because she lead us straight into another road closure and a big crowd. Smack bang into the middle of the Tour de France.....Admitting defeat, we parked, illegally-right in the middle of the road, with all of the other illegal vehicles... and stopped to watch the show.

the first thing that arrived were sponsors vans, floats, publicity vehicles of all sorts, driving at breakneck speed down the road and around the bed, sod the pedestrians (and don't get me started on the french drivers!!)...I am used to more leisurely parades, but they were tearing down the road, blaring music and tossing out freebies to the crowds.

Us humans are interesting folks, how we scrabble to catch logo-ed crap, if it is thrown from a float at you, if it is free. How unhappy some of us are if someone else catches it first. Yesterday you could be the proud possessor of some keyrings, shopping bags, thin crappy hats with supermarket logos all over them...fortunately Mollie caught a packet of cake, because we were starving and breaking out the teapot and tea cosy in the middle of the road to have breakfast, didn't seem exactly the thing to do.

Now what I know about cycling wouldn't take me very long to write down, what I know about the Tour, even less. I do know the names Sean Kelly and Stephen Roache, but that is mostly because I watch 'Reeling in the years'...and because it came up in one those pidgin english/french conversations with a cycling mad chappie.

We had NO idea if there were any irish riders in the tour this year,  But since everyone else had flags, french, british and aussie mostly, I thought that Ireland should be represented since there wasn't a paddy flag in the place. So I took our our flag (which is quite big) and hoicked it around a bit. I have to say it did create a lot of puzzlement as there was a lot of 'where is that from' 'what country?' etc...we were really in two minds as it might have been a bit daft to wave the flag for no irish riders. but then if there were any, well wouldn't it be nice to support them..

eventually the riders arrived and in a nano-second were gone past (we waited two hours for that!!) but I thought I did spot two irish flag strips on their sleeves and was gratified to find that there are two irish riders this year. I am pretty sure though that they hadn't a hope in hell of seeing our flag..but for all you patriotic folk, Ireland was supported at least in one little town in France...

They still didn't open the road, so we went around and on our merry way. Stopping only briefly to be knights in shining armour (or dusty white van, which some bugger scraped the hell out of...karma is hopefully taking care of that) to some Californians who were struggling to pay for their Diesel...

and then onto here....here is a campsite that we stayed in last year, it is on the med coastline, on an inlet near the small town of la Palme. This place is a mecca for kite surfers, whatever it is about the conditions, the inlet is full of them today, Mind you I expect it is a perfect day, very windy and very sunny.

Kinder weather forecasters here, they are promising high twenties until next friday with clear skies. We will have to start wending our way homewards on Friday, but until then I am busy counting all of my new freckles.

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    July 2012