Back into France through the spectacular Bielsa Tunnel, A narrow tunnel where traffic alternates direction and in service since 1976.
The lack of planning is a recurring theme and has meant that I've stumbled across some gems. This time it was Tour de France iconic climbs. The wild camp spot I'd selected was at the top of Col D'Azet and unfortunately due to the weather, I had a drive up Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet (which was closed just above La Mongie). This is an area that I'd like to spend more time in with the bikes.
Bordeaux is an easy and comfortable stop as I head through France, Dune de Pilat is something I remember from school days and required a visit. The scenes were shocking, I was unaware of the 2022 fire that decimated the whole area. It was incredible to see the level of devastation and, I guess, the speed the fire rampaged forcing people to drop everything and flee.
The two main objectives I had through the north of france were to avoid toll roads and avoid Rouen. The adventure means that I get to see rural France and find some awesome wild camping spots. At this stage I still haven't paid for a camp spot since leaving Morocco.
Étaples is the final resting place for over 11,500 military from WW1 and WW2.
In typical fashion I had slept in the forests of france, driving no more than a couple of hundred metres I saw a block on a bike with a number. Paris-Brest-Paris? I asked. Oui! came the response. I knew that I'd be crossing the route, I just didn't have a clue of the timetable. I happy couple of hours clicking away at these incredible athletes.
France hosted a couple of stages of La Vuelta, and I had to be on Col du Tourmalet for this. I had planned on being here for the Tour de France, but medical problems in UK meant a delayed departure. But here I am for La Vuelta.
La Vuelta came, La Vuelta went.
The atmosphere was incredible and friends were made.