Sunday, June 01, 2014

Day 1 Cycling

If the first day of cycling is any indication, the trip may turn out to be perfect. Fabulous weather, some wine tasting, beautiful vistas, excellent food and super nice travelling companions - what more could we ask for?

The original plan was to travel by boat to Avignon, then cycle from there. But because the boat couldn't moor in the pre-arranged spot, our first day of cycling started with a ride right through the centre of Avignon. Traffic was a bit hectic, even for a Sunday morning!
[Here we are getting instructions from our leader Tammy (front left, bright green helmet) before we start out.]
It wasn't long before we were travelling on little lanes and paths lined with wild flowers (pale orange poppies and yellow-flowering gorse). This soon gave way to many, many vineyards on the way up the hill to Chateauneuf-du-pape which you can see on the hill behind us. 

We were welcomed into one of the wineries for a sample of the 2011 vintage. We were also fortunate enough to convince 10 others in our group to buy a bottle. The catch was if our group bought a dozen bottles they would deliver it directly to the boat and we wouldn't have to carry it ourselves.

After we headed downhill from Chateauneuf-du-pape the surroundings included more agricultural areas including wheat, vegetable gardens and orchards - apples, peaches, cherries - as we travelled toward the small village of Roquemaure.  It's famous for its "Kissing Festival" on Feb. 14 in honour of St. Valentine which attracts over 20 000 people (to come and kiss). Ending the day with our 3 course meal prepared by our Italian chef Paulo was the icing on the cake (although dessert was actually tart du pommes).

Tomorrow is our longest day with the greatest elevation. Hopefully by tomorrow evening I'll be just as enthusiastic.

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