Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cycling to an Aquaduct in Rural France

The weather report looks very promising for winter...some sunshine, high of 3C for the day. Now that is a good reason to take my Dahon folding bike to explore rural France. I had known of an aquaduct in the region from my earlier trips (An aquaduct is an ancient man made structure to tranport water between on hill to the next over the valley). Good old google earth was consulted and the coordinates entered to my Garmin 60Csx GPS. A route from where I am staying at the moment at an olive farm in Rognac was planned. This trip will take me through some villages and the estimated distance with some diversions will be about 45b km. Just about ideal.I had to rely on my GPS for navigation since I do not speak French. Asking for directions in English languiage in France might not be a very good idea. You can end up in Holland! A thick rubber band was used to strap the GPS to my Dahon. I promised myself that I will buy a proper GPS holder in future.If the GPS fails then I will use the road signs which is ok.After cycling about 6 km from Rognac I came across an open air market. I was told sinec it is near Christmas there are quite a lot of these pasar malams all over.These guys werte selling some Spanish made electric bikes at the market. I had a chat with them and they were very interested in my machine. The electric bikes are quite expensive..around 1500 Euro for a basic model.The view along the way is fantastic. Only a person on a bicycle will be able to enjoy such views. There is a small river that flows parallel to the road. There were also farms not too far from the main road but of course the growing will have to wait for better weather.Then from a distance I could see the majestic structure of this ancient aquaduct. By then I had cycled for over an hour. Although it was 3 C, I did not feel cold while cycling but when I stopped I found that I was sweating a little.It is amazingly beautiful. I just cannot imagine the number of (probably slave labour) that was required to build it. And they can think of the arches to support the column.I saw a trek by the side of the aquaduct and wanted to climb up to the top. Being unable to understand French, I had entered a private property and by the time I was 100 meters on the trek, some fierce looking dog that looked like it had not been fed for a week came after after me. Then the owner , a fat lady appeared. I told her using sign language that I wanted to go to the top of the aquaduct but she shoke her head and said "Neil" . I think that was simple enough to understand and I went off.I took off on my bicycle again along the D20 route, hoping to get to a store where I can get some sandwiches for lunch. There was a restaurant along the way but it was a high class one so I skipped that.By now, I had guessed the meaning of "la propriété privée" but I could not resist venturing into this arae to enjoy the nice river. Besides i did not see or smell any dogs.There were no sandwich stores for the next 10 km so when I saw a fruit store I stopped and bought myself a bunch of bananas for a healthy lunch. these few bananas cost me 2.5 euros which is about RM12.00 so it is not cheap. Turning back towards home, I decided to climb up Ventabren which is about 1200 ft high. A pleasant climb with a lot of cold sweat.

At the top after a few kilos of steep climbing.Nice view from the top and I was suprised to find a museum and other tourist attractions around. It is now time to go home as it gets dark by just after 5 Pm. so it was another hour of cycling.

This si the railway station at Rognac which is located in the village centre. It has been a great day and I had enjoyed cycling in the cold 3C weather.

1 comment:

  1. A very adventurous trip! I hope those dogs are not Rottweiler otherwise they will bite the eggs off any stranger that trespasses their territory!