The cars were packed and again we go our separate ways. Keith was heading North to visit his son in Scandinavia, David and Patricia were spending time with friends in the South of France – and then a week in Paris. They kindly offered to carry JB’s bike with them and leave it for us at their hotel. We were heading East, by train, to take delivery of a rental car in Bordeaux… and then heading North.

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A taxi to the station – a half hour wait – and we’re away…

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A food fair in Bordeaux – we pause for lunch…

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Somewhere in the Dordogne – Perigueux perhaps…

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Through all the regions of the Dordogne and Gorreze…

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Through Brive-la-Gaillarde, Tulle…

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To Clermont-Ferrand – where we decided to spend the night…

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France was playing Portugal in the World Cup – and the whole town was watching the game in the city square… We joined them…

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We ate in the square – France won – just as well because…

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JB didn’t have a Portuguese hat!

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Today is the Prolog of Le Tour de France, in Strasbourg, 2.5 map pages away. That’s a full day’s drive (if we’re to be there before it ends) and we shouldn’t be detouring through Roanne to find a famous restaurant that I visited in 1966, but we did – and it was closed! The kids didn’t complain, much…

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On through back roads to Macon, then Chalon, Beaune, Besacon (along the Swiss border) to Belfort.

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Along the German border, through Colmar, into Strasbourg, just in time to be too late for le Tour.

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We found a hotel room, just off the City Square – where Le Tour headquarters were…

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Time out to explore the Old Town Centre… We weren’t short of Cathedrals on this trip, but the stonework on this one was simply stunning. First time I’ve seen JB take an interest in architecture! Strasbourg is a fascinating mix of French and German cultures, and we had a ‘moving dinner’ in several restaurants – Carla was nearly home.

The kids were a real joy to travel with. They only mentioned the fact that I had already bent the new rental car, 50 or 60 times. Was it my fault that some schmuck had left a very large concrete block protruding 1.5 metres from the pumps at our first service station?

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These two hate cameras – but when they DO pose…

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Cats, on the other hand, are much more obliging…

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Keeping up with these two is a tiring business (and it’s only day 1).
Another more detailed collection of pictures, enlarged, no captions – are HERE

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Tour de France – Day 1

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We were due in Hannover by nightfall – but JB had another agenda. He had us up by 5:00am (We’re on holiday ferchrissake!) and at Obernai (25km South of Strasbourg) by 6:30. The traffic was already building, and he knew if we had left it any later it would have been impossible. By 7:00am he had us in place, in the starting enclosure, brilliant position! And the crowd gathered all around us…

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When you carry a camera – story telling is easy…

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There’s always something or somebody that catches the eye! Then the famous Caravane Publicitaire.

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The Caravane Publicitaire de Tour de France. 2o km long, 200 decorated vehicles, takes 45 minutes to pass, and travels the entire route 30 minutes ahead of the race. 50 brands (growing every year), they hand out around 15 million sample packs. We didn’t have to buy coffee for several days!

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And then came the cyclists… Each one climbing the podium and signing in to start (each stage). Both Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans saw Carla’s Australian flag – and came over to sign autographs…

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JB’s was not bored – I suspect he was dreaming…

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The Start warning was called… The Crowd surged forward – and so did Carla…

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Our ‘face in the crowd’ appeared again…

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And they’re away…

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Now – all we’ve got to do is get him away from all this…

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Oh, all right then – just one last picture…

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They must have enjoyed themselves, they let me drive, and JB’s on the camera. He HATES cameras!  And finally, here’s a detailed collection of pictures, enlarged, no captions – just click and scroll… HERE.

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More on The Second Trip – 2006… 

1. Together Again
2. Ickham to Le Mans
3. Agen, Canal du Midi, la Baise
4. Heading North, Le Tour
5. Hannover and Holland
6. Final Week/s in Paris?
7. A Few Panoramas

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