Category: Artwork and/or sculptures

Monpaple Art, Tusson Cap, Hope Charity Hat

On Sunday morning we had lots of time for a bike ride before the final stage of the Tour started – they have it a little later now so that the presentations can be done near sunset at the Arc de Triomphe..

Our ride took us past the nearby village of Monpaple, which was having an art exhibition.  

We rode by and on to Aunac where we stopped for another of the very strong coffees.

On our return to Mansle we did stop in Monpaple and had a look around.

There was an abundance of clown paintings – including clown’s painting – but lots of other subjects as well.

The final TdF stage was the usual boring bunk for the first couple of hours – the winner and his team riding side-by-side drinking champagne, etc.  I always hope someone’s going to go for it but it never happens.

The only exciting part is when they hit the Champs-Élysées and do the eight circuits to the finish.  I was, of course, loudly cheering on Cavendish, but he was pinned in and couldn’t get past Wout van Aert, who won yet another stage.  That’s now a very difficult mountain stage, the individual time trial, and the final sprint that he’s won – seems like the young Belgian can do it all.  Still, even though he didn’t break Merckx’s record the Cav did tie it, and what a comeback Tour it was for him!

On Tuesday morning we heard sirens rushing along the highway and when we drove up to Ruffec to do some shopping we saw why.  A semi-truck had flipped into the ditch and looked like it had caught on fire.

There were several fire trucks and other emergency vehicles and it looked like they were trying to decide how to get the trailers uprighted.

On our ride on Wednesday we went to Tusson for coffee.

Along the way we saw a couple more of the ‘mannequins’ lounging around.

The coffee shop we ended up going to was awesome – it looked quite small from the outside but had a lovely fairly large terrace area at the back.

Most of the folks that came in for coffee and cake were brits, and we enjoyed the best cappuccino we’ve had since we left Italy.

For the first time I ventured into the church that’s on one side of the main square in Mansle.

It actually has some nice stained glass windows, and was wonderfully cool and quiet.

On Thursday we went to the Hope Charity shop in Sauze-Vaussais and picked up a few jigsaw puzzles and some books.  On the way out Colin pointed to the hat section and I scored a great black sun hat – I could have used it last weekend and avoided the raccoon eyes.

Finally Mansle

After a bit of a sleep-in we had a morning cappuccino at one of the beach bars, then headed off at 10:00.

In no particular hurry we had a leisurely drive generally west and a bit north, passing through Gap, which was a bit of a drag.

The current highway goes right through the city, although they are finally building a bypass.  Maybe next time we come this way we won’t encounter the same issue.

Somewhere between Gap and Die we encountered a road incident – several police cars were gathered near a dump truck that hadn’t quite made a curve in the road and had run headon into a barrier at the side – totally smashed the front-end in.

Our last night on the road (this time) was spent at the edge of the village of Le Champs de Raphael, where we’ve stayed before.  I recall that last time I set up my tent and spent half the night wondering if I was going to get blown away in the wind. 

The view is awesome, and you can just hear the clanking of the cow bells in the valley below.

When leaving in the morning we encountered a ‘deviation’ that was somewhat confusing.  After going about 10 km in the direction we wanted we had to turn around and retrace our route almost completely, as did at least a couple of other vehicles.

We eventually joined the road that Colin was familiar with and made it up to Clermont-Ferrand where we turned west for the rest of the journey.

Whether new or old, viaduct or bridge building use the same basic structure….

We stopped for a quick bite to eat at a small park that had some interesting wood sculptures.

Continuing on refreshed we reached Mansle in the early evening.  Had a very welcome hot shower and a nice dinner of salmon with new potatoes and green beans cooked by Neal – very good ‘homecoming’.

TA Stage 2 – Canneto

When taking Mo for a walk in the morning I came across an old man that tried to warn me about something.  I understood that there was a danger to the little dog, but didn’t think it was wolf or wild boar – I know the words for those in Italian and this was something different.  I did understand that I should not take Mo into the field, so hustled back to the campervan along the road.

Colin googled dangerous animals in Italy and it’s the porcupine!  They’re usually active at night and tend to sleep in the bushes at the edges of the fields but they can be very fierce, especially when taken by surprise.

After breakfast we went back into Canneto and had a cappuccino, then went for a walk around the older part of the village.  

It was quite lovely with beautiful potted plants and flowers, as well as a couple of fountains and sculptures.

We backtracked about 1 km to find a roadside spot – it was nice and wide as well as flat, although it did get pretty hot.

A breakaway of three riders arrived at 2:57, followed about two minutes later by the entire peloton, and they were moving pretty fast.

I finally spied Froome in one of my photos, and he didn’t look too great – although it’s almost a miracle he can even ride again after his horrific crash at the Dauphine last year. 

Once again I scored some bidons – this time AG2R and Lotto Soudal.

We packed up quickly as we had a slightly longer drive south to our next stop.  A very large bright green grasshopper tried to hitch a ride on our table leg.

We’re still in Toscana (Tuscany) and have been travelling through very beautiful countryside and some lovely villages.  We drove as far south as Poggio Murella, a village on the next day’s route.  We had a nice drink with complimentary appies at a bar and spent the night at a pullout right in the village.

Zocca, Conzano and Montemagno

After the Strade Bianche and having cleared Siena we didn’t go too far before stopping at a campground for the night.  It was in a very nice area and I got to have a refreshing, although not hot shower.

18CF99A8-923A-4A11-B86C-27C080BF268CThere was a lovely swimming pool just outside a large, very crowded restaurant.  I made use of the free wi-fi for a bit, then had a fairly early night.  Thankfully it was a bit cooler than the previous couple of evenings had been.

47C64275-0300-420B-9DE6-3229BF1DC3B73EB73168-DA8B-4DE2-B71E-134FCF8C014AThe next day’s travel was almost across the Apennines to a campground we’d stayed at two years ago just outside the village of Zocca.  This time we didn’t have quite as frustrating a time finding it, although the gps was, once again, not totally accurate.

73E46F61-C72C-45C4-8BE1-7F7A508799B0The old dog is still there, but is moving a bit more slowly.

063C5F72-BCD5-404E-9FC9-B6674EEFAA43We pre-ordered dinner, and were both very pleased.  I think it’s the same chef who was very new to the place two years ago, and they still have a lovely organic garden for many of the meal’s ingredients.

038DFCB1-A6D4-4567-B961-A6F8D164079DMy lasagna was obviously handmade, and was delicious – no meat or tomatoes, but zuchinni and cream sauce – very nice, and just the right amount.

DBBBEB79-7536-4AED-A565-2B765A1DB061After only one night we were on our way again, this time taking the paege to make better time – although at times we were barely moving because of roadworks and on/off ramp backups at every large city we passed.

We eventually settled for the night in the nice large, flat parking lot of a cemetery at the edge of the town of Conzano, not too far northwest of Alessandria  It was very quiet and much cooler – we had a lovely dinner of salmon teriyaki and another early night.

FACB8DE2-AE74-4719-812C-F5948D7C3661When I went to bed Mo was full across my pillow – as I tried to nudge her over she growled and snapped at me!  After mollifying her and almost falling asleep we were kept awake by a prolonged lightening and thunder storm.

The lightening would flash, then it took forever for the thunder to hit, but when it did it went all around and on and on.  Mo got a bit excited barking to scare it away, but one of the last rolls was so powerful it actually shook the campervan.

9F8173E6-37F7-4D15-A56E-A2A36D5DF503Before leaving Conzano the next morning we had a nice walk around the village. 

BC3A7056-57C9-435A-A2AF-E92F7F2E3B22There’s an art exhibit all summer and the artworks are all over the place – it was very different and made for an interesting morning.

11C5987B-734B-4A33-A673-D84491234321DEB2FFE9-5629-4371-9E69-860BC2D36BE2BFA9A881-F6FB-4787-AB9C-BC5C982C6CF7ECF43210-CC4B-416D-A065-17C59C238B53CD3C4B70-D6D1-404B-82AA-42C2230D8F493E9E1325-E70A-47D9-9682-585E93E776F638433DDC-08FA-4608-81E5-3DF26671BC79After leaving the town we headed for the nearby village of Lu to pick up the course of the next day’s race and see where we might want to watch from.

378BCE9C-9E75-4134-8DDA-BC998993547AWe eventually made a wrong turn – the pink arrows weren’t up yet to guide us – and we ended up in Casorzo, where we stopped for a quick snack just outside the town.

D88FFF63-9E0E-4DE9-A65B-382D8A97ACEDIt was a rest-stop and had fantastic views, as well as some wall art of fairy tales.

327AED95-EB5B-4CFF-B6AF-C076A33FCD6E3E7FD86A-1B81-48ED-AB07-670C83E7D1FAWe then made our way to the town of Montemagno, which has a castle – the oldest part is from the 12th century, with major additions in the 13th and 18th centuries.

F245461A-C738-42C0-A524-934984381C4AWe walked up and around it, but it was all closed up – it did have, of course, more incredible views.

798E25E4-64C2-4A6B-9E6B-EF7F51A8321DWe parked for the night in a large flat parking lot next to a pasta and sauce making place – Colin popped in and checked with them and they didn’t mind us being there.2D504670-D80D-423B-A180-81F68AF65080