start of trip

Just a few lines to let you know I've finished a 5-week cycle tour through parts of France. The 2,835 km trip took me through 3 very different sections: across the Alps, along the Valley of the Loire River and around Brittany. Each section, seen ever so briefly, in its own way, was splendid.

I started in Sanary-sur-Mer, 65 kms east of Marseille, where I have just bought a small flat. I'll start splitting my years between Shenzhen and Sanary, with the expectation I may receive more visitors in the latter. Let me know if you are in the area.

From Sanary I traveled east along the coast, a scenic, not too demanding, route. I had found a cyclists' internet site that described the route . The internet is a bottomless (or is it topless) fount of information for the cycle tourist; it now serves as the fundamental stage of my planning. I detoured to the medieval town of Ramatuelle, swept quickly through St. Tropez to visit the Annonciade Museum with its neo-Impressionist collection and along to Cannes, where THE festival was in full swing. Everything in this ritzy, waterfront part of town was turned to cinema - mostly the commerce of film - with billboards splashing out the new crop.

I then turned north to Grasse, the nation's (here they say world's) perfume capital and over to a hamlet where I stayed with a member of the Warm Showers List. As a single traveler I am often asked a most pointed question: isn't it tough being alone? Not really. I am a member of several hosting lists - people with whom you communicate via email and then stay with for a night as you pass through their locality. In the past I've hosted German cyclists in China and stayed with a kind family in Australia, but most often I've been unable to connect with people on the various lists (and vice-versa as I am so often out of China). This trip I was more determined - so that by the end of this tour I had been kindly welcomed into 5 different homes, appreciated breaks from nightly camping rituals. Search engines can help you locate such lists. In France I have used the Cyclo-Camping International .

If I write up more essays about this cycle trip, I'll post them on my website.

Have a pleasant summer (winter for those down under).