Cote d’Azur – Costa Brava

 December 6. 2013

N43°17’53”E005°22’07” – N41°22’22” E002°09’33”

Km today: 760

What a day! I wake up a little past 6am as I want to catch the flamingos in the Camargue if possible at sunrise. When I leave Marseille the sun is already rising but its still to early too cross the river Rhone on the ferry which would make a good shortcut. I have to go north to Arles to the bridge and the south again around 80km up and down along the river. A little before Arles, around 50km after Marseille I recognize I forgot my cellphone. Damn! Turn round, go back… When I ride direction camargue again the ferry should be working (said the internet). It is not! So back again to Arles after another 15km detour to find out that the ferry is out of order. I pass the camargue pretty quickly making only one stop to see the flamingos – and they are really extremely amazing!

Only making a stop for petrol I take the fastest way to the border then. There is Mistral all the way which makes the ride cold and unbalanced. Yesterday I spotted an amazing road at the border from france to spain – seemed like a lot of amazing curves exactly where the Pyrenees meet the sea. I really make it to do this road in the last light of the day and it’s even more amazing than it looked like! Only this road was worth coming all the way. After this road it’s completely dark so I move back to the highway and go to Barcelona as fast as possible. The shortest way including the camargue would have been around 550km but including all the detours I managed to take 760km from Marseille to Spain. I arrive at friends of a close friend around nine and all is perfect in the second I arrive. In the evening we quickly make a little music and a walk around their place. I feel really welcome with Rocky and his friends! Spanish is completely new and I wonder how long it will take me this time to learn the most important phrases… I like Barcelona a lot and can’t wait for tomorrow!   

 

 

Marseille

December 4. 2013

Km today: 0

Ben, my host is coming pretty early and he looks like he hasn’t been sleeping all night – to many animals at his girlfriends place. By motorbike I quickly bring him to his mother and go back alone as he urgently has to do something. 20 minutes later he is back and another 20 minutes later the flat is full of his friends. We quickly get breakfast at a bakery and when I eat a croissant on the street one girl confuses me by saying “bon appétit”. After breakfast we visit a squat malking a walk through the city. Marseille is amazing! At the harbor several police cars pass by in high speed and when they are gone I can still hear their horn at the same volume. Then I realize there is a Christmas Band making music and imitating the sound of the police horn. Nice joke – anyway I feel like nobody here respect any laws or police. I like it J. At he squat I meet Nat from Australia who is playing Mandolin. She shows me a little and we make some music together before we become tired and go back home. Today I took a lot of pictures but there is not so much to tell – enjoy the view!

Monte Carlo – Marseille

 December 3. 2013

N43°44’31” E007°25’33” – N43°17’53”  E005°22’07”

Km today:287

After sleeping well I quickly pack, clean and get ready. Todays target is Marseille and I want to go along the Cote d’Azur Coast and make a stop at St. Tropez. The road reminds me a lot of turkey and Croatia before. From Monaco to Nice it’s the beautiful Croatian road with many nice curves directly at the sea. Then until Cannes is turkey – lots of empty hotels, all shops are closed and the streets are empty. St. Tropez is nice, but extincted too. But after St. Tropez there is a nice reward for the boring road from Nice. An amazing curvy road leads through nice hills. Most of it being second and third gear I rather need the first in the curves than the 4. at the straights… I’m in heaven riding into the sunset!  Even after sunset I don’t need to put on the gloves – warm enough!

I arrive in Marseille a little after 7pm and recognize I arrived in India. Marseille is the perfect opposite of Monaco. I feel home and automatically start talking hindi to the people just because it feels like being there… A friend of Inna, a girl from Russia I met in india and hosted in Austria in summer offered me a place to sleep. We like each other immediately and I totally feel like at home at his place. He offers me the whole apartment, tourist guiding and all I need at the moment! Amazing! I decide to visit the flamingoes in the camargue one day and take one day to check out Marseille.

 

Monte Carlo and Nice – relaxing

 December 2. 2013

Km today: +- 45

I sleep well and long. When I wake up I feel comfortable and all the tension of the last weeks vanishes more and more. I do a little Yoga, take one of these amazing hot showers here and slowly start the day. I really need to clean the bike as there is still all the salt on it so I first go to the next petrol station which is between casino curve and the infamous tunnel. For quickly washing it down with water they want to charge 20 euro… All their garage is full with Ferraris, Porsches, Rolls Royce and cars like this. I leave and go direction Nice. A little out of town I ask again at the first petrol station. I directly ask the guy who is just cleaning a fancy black Ferrari. He asks 5 Euro which is perfectly ok for me. I get two redbull to get change, invite him for one of them and tell him about the 20 euro offer in town. We agree about the craziness of this price!

To dry the bike I go a little further direction Nice which is an amazing road. Unfortunately there is police and speed control nearly at every corner but still some of the curves are interesting within the speed limit. And the view is just amazing! No gloves, not fully dressed I enjoy the 20km to Nice where I do a little shopping and drink a coffee close to the beach. Riding down the hills to Nice I see the snow covered Mountains in the north – to close to stay around here any longer…

I come back well before sunset and decide to stay at home that evening. I still have some bread and cheese from Austria, I have to pack my stuff and want to go to bed early. Tomorrow I will go to Marseille which is less than 300km on the highway and more than 500 along the coast – guess which one I will take!

Innsbruck – Monte Carlo

 November 30. 2013

Km today: +-700

N43˚44’31” E007˚25’33”

Today I wake up early even though it was late yesterday – I promise myself to properly sleep for the first time in a week in Monte Carlo. A friend of mine lives there with her boyfriend and I ve been planning to visit them for a long time. Unfortunately they went to make honeymoon surprisingly. Ursi was very kind to leave their key for me at a neighbor so I am now in their apartment only 4 minutes walk from the place Ayrton Senna died so dramatically… Well, but how did I get here?

Weather is bad today and there is snowing heavily. I try to find somebody who can help me with the computer problems because it will be easier to solve with german speaking people. All the small companies who offer help are closed on Sunday and the only guy I reach sound so ill on the phone that I feel bad for even calling him… With very little hope I call Ditech, a company who sells cheap and good quality hardware mostly by internet. They have a retail shop in Innsbruck and as I explain my problem and what I am doing they tell me to come.

Quickly I pack my stuff, give a hug and say good bye to Noemi, her flat mate Ilka who is busy moving out and the other guys who help her and bring my stuff down. Fortunately snow had stopped falling so I clean it of my bike, fix my luggage and go. At Ditech they test the wifi which is actually working…. Awesome! For the big SD cards they try several cardreaders and finally find one that works! 5 euro and all problems are done. The day before a guy at Hartlauer, who should have good service at the shops sold me a cardreader for 15 euro that does not work… Never mind, all is well and I leave Innsbruck heading south well before lunchtime!

On Brenner Pass I see the sun several times and when I ride down to Italy (nice gopro movie btw) the surrounding turns from white to green again. I am freezing again as the view makes me feel like it should be warmer. It’s around 700km for today so I have to keep going! Stopping only when I need petrol having quick cappuccinos then my ass and my hands start hurting. The grips are really hot (they are heated) but it is comfortable because otherwise I would probably freeze.

After the first stop it starts raining again until sunset. Fortunately it stops when I make the second petrol stop because at this time all turns white again. A little after dark the flat turns into mountains again as I approach the sea. Riding down the hills near Terrarossa it becomes warmer but a very strong and sudden wind makes riding dangerous! At the last petrol stop I change the sd card of the gps to get the French map and find out it does not find the address ursi gave to me. No problem, it’s around 7 pm and I will find it before it is too late – only 50km to go to Monte Carlo and I can’t wait to get a real hot shower there! The view at San Remo at night from above is amazing and soon I arrive in Monaco.

The first people I ask for the way, speak French only so I hand them the cell phone with the message in which I got it. The first guy is very friendly and sends me the right way, second one is tourist in a very fancy car and sends me to a local on the next corner. The guy is a little drunk, takes my phone, deletes the message and tells me he only speaks French…. Fuck you, that was my only note of the address! I exhale and decide to stay calm. I said the name of the street a few times already so I just have to keep repeating – first find the street then we will see. 1 minute later I am there. It’s a very small boulevard, Ursi first said she will leave the key at a pharmacy, which I am glad she did not because it is Saturday night now! Ursi said there is a motorbike park just in front of the house and I remember the first name of Ursis neighbor….  That should do it. I find a motorbike park right next to a pharmacy and stop the bike. I go to the door in between and read the doorbells… HARIOM! First I see the name of my friend and then, not the first name of her neighbor but I immediately recognize her family name. It’s an old, French speaking lady and she is a little confused because I am so late – she expected me days ago!

YES! For a moment I was really afraid to be stuck at one of the most expensive places in the world (at least it looks like) after a ride of 700km in the freezing cold and no place to go…. I quickly put my stuff in the apartment and then go out to find some food. It’s a really crazy place, people here are very rich, very styled and all look like from the cover of a fashion magazine. And in between me! Dressed like a Nepali…. Food is pretty expensive in the most places but somewhere between the famous Casino curve and the tunnel where Ayrton Senna died I meet a rich Indian guy and ask him in hindi for a place to get food. He smiles and shows me the way to a fast food place – not what I wanted but it’s one of the cheaper ones here which does definitely not mean “cheap” by western standards! I recognize that all the people I asked for the way were extremely friendly even though I rather look like from the cover of the rolling stone…. I really appreciate this. I like Monte Carlo – it’s this crazy glitter and glamour world, nothing seems to be real but everybody very important, and very nice!