Now that is a nice boat

And there sure are a lot of sailboats here

Tourists enjoying the good life in Calvi

I'm combining two days in this web page since I only rode for a few hours the first day, and that was back the way I had come the day before thanks to some incorrect info on ferry routes in Autoroute 2002. I spent most of that day in Calvi, doing internet stuff and generating ride reports. Since Calvi is a very in place that meant seeing lots of fancy boats and lots of tourists. I also rode around one of Calvi's ritzy neighborhoods, admiring both the homes and the steepness of the roads. I did get cheered - in French so I only understood a bit of it - by a resident for riding up those roads on a loaded bike!

After a leisurely lunch - in this heat, that is what makes sense, I rode back to Isla Rosa, about 20 km with several hundred meters of climbing, most of it in one big hill. My software said there was a ferry to Corssica from Calvi. There wasn't, but there was one from Isla Rosa. I rode in "street" clothes since it wasn't a very long ride. I also rode without gloves since they just get soaked with seat and keep my hands wet.

When I got to Isla Rosa, I rode around to check it out - smaller and more peaceful than Calvi - and to find the ferry. I had a large beer and people watched for an hour or so. Then I packed my messenger bag for the overnight trip on the ferry, and rode to the ferry terminal. On the way I noticed people carrying sleeping pads. Good Idea! I added mine to my supplies for the night and it really helped.

It is a big ferry - I could get less than half of it in the frame

While waiting to get on the ferry, I visited with a fellow from Hamburg who had just helped a friend bring his sailboat to Corsica. He had spent the last two months crewing for two different friends who need help with their sailboats and was happy to be heading back to Hamburg and his own sailboat. He told me that, years ago, he had spent three years sailing around the world.

Once on the ferry, I found a place - the covered part of the aft top deck - that looked good for spending the night, then settled down to read and watch the people and the scenery till dark. About 8 PM, lots of people headed for the dining area, so I did too. I discovered I that I had to go to a different deck to buy a ticket. It was 17 Euros for a four course meal. I skipped the desert and coffee. Then I went back up to my sleeping area and read for a while - they turned the lights on, before hitting the bench. With my Thremarest sleeping pad, the bench was better than some beds I've slept in on this trip. I put in ear plugs and a headband over my eyes, and was asleep in a few minutes.

About 1 AM, I woke up and hiked to the nearest bathroom. When I got back to my bed, I discovered that they were playing lousy music/chat over the PA system and my bed, even with my earplugs, was too close to the speaker. I moved to a bench further out and less sheltered from the wind. It was still Corsica hot at 1 PM, and I had a fleece shirt on, so the wind felt good. I went back to sleep only to awaken, chilled, several hours later. We had passed from Corsica weather to southern French seacoast weather - I could see the towns on the coast - which was a good 10 F cooler. I moved back to the sheltered area, warmed up and went back to sleep. In the morning, a woman who was also sleeping in that area came over to ask me if I sleep walked. She was very friendly about it, but I think my moving around during the night disturbed her sleep.

Marseille at 6:45 AM from the ferry

I got my bike, got off the ferry and looked for someone who could tell me how to head out of Marseille towards Aix. I stopped at a service station and the operator told me how to do it. He also told me where I could get breakfast. I bought a map of Frace from him so I wouldn't have to pull out the computer to solve simple navigation problem. Little did I know that his advice, the lack of signage on some roads, and the lack of detail on the map, would cost me 20 mile of confusing, often rather conjested, riding. He, and I thought he was telling me how to follow N8 which goes north, but instead, I followed N568 which goes more west than north. Thanks to my compass, I figured out that it wasn't the right road, but I figured it would get me out of Marseille and then I'd find my way back to D543 which was where I wanted to go after N8. I did, but only after getting some more bad advice that took me even father west. When I realized what had happened that time, I got out the computer and figured out how to get back on route. Unfortunatley that meant riding an expressway through a very built up area, and getting lost several more times due to bad or no signage on some of the many roundabouts.

I should have gone right here, not left

A nice road, but it went in the wrong direction
and I couldn't see that on the paper map

This is N568

Eventually, after almost three hours, I was back on route. Then things were much better. D543 is a really nice road for bicycling that runs north, a few miles west of Aix. I stopped for lunch - after getting lost again because of an unmarked roundabout - at a fancy restaurant where the waiter first offered a for course meal and the backed down to a salad, bread and wine when I told him I needed something light. It was a very enjoyable meal. Then D543 became even nicer and I met a group of Swiss tourists who were riding from Genava to Marseille

A nice group of guys from Geneva

D543 became park like with a great number of wineries after it crossed N7 and stayed that way to after Rognes. It climbed gently (2%) for a long time, then descend, equally gently. Really nice riding! Later, after switching to D943 and climbing through Cadenet, another medival town, the countryside started looking and feeling a lot like Colorado. The road climbed gently but steadily along a dry creek. Then it left the creek and became serious about climbing.

Looking back at D943 once the climb had begun

Looking down from the middle of the climb

The top - my first Col - at 499 m

That is Apt down there. Saint Saturnin is on the other side of that big valley

There is a great descent to Apt, where I considered stopping, then decided to have a dessert and coffee and ride on towards Sault. I only continued till I got to Saint Saturnin, a really neat little town 20 miles from Sault. I really like this town.

That church has Liberte Egalite Fraternite written over its door
It was built in the 1800s - the old church above it is much, much older

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