SkiBike Tour 2009-10 - On The Road Again

Posted: Tuesday, 6 April 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Over the Easter break I was supposed to be helping sail a boat up the Baltic from Travemunde in Germany to Aarhus in Denmark, but as the Baltic was still partly iced over and the Captain had been unwell, plans had to be delayed till June. This left me with another handy gap in my diary and ever since my trips to Scotland I had been aching to explore some larger ski domains.
I considered at the French Alps, but the price for an independent traveller was too much, so I turned my searches west to the Pyrenees and the principality of Andorra. Eventually I settled on Vallnord which, unlike Grandvalira, (boo hiss) allows skibikes. Once again LateRooms provided details of some budget accommodation right next to the telecabine station in Arinsal.

I left home at 06:00 to check in at 07:30 for a 08:30 sailing from Dover to Calais. I was lucky that I had booked to go via P&O as SeaFrance were on strike on that day.
I had a perfect crossing in bright sun and sea as smooth as a mill pond. On the French side I fitted beam converters to the car's headlamps and began the long drive South.

My route took me via Paris, why does the Perepherique run so close to the centre of Paris? I had horrid bottle necks to contend with and the worst examples of French driving imaginable.

Something odd was going on with my sense of smell, the whole of France seemed super smelly, but in a nice way; the Pas de Calais smelled of Crisps and Paris of French Fries, perhaps my body was telling me to eat more.
I intended to drive till sunset and get as far south as possible, yet still get a room for the night. Just after Limoges, I spotted a building high up on a hill side with the word Hotel on the side in faded letters. A quick double back at the next interchange found me outside the empty looking Hotel de la Malyerie in Sadroc, luckily it was open and the proprietors were having dinner. I was shown to my clean, simple and quiet room. After freshening up I sat down to a delicious Omlette with Cepes (wood mushrooms), french fries and salad, all washed down with a glass of Primus blond beer.
Tired but not yet fully sleepy I took an evening stroll around the lovely rustic town, sympathetically restored; the air was filled with the pungent smell of wood smoke and damp fertile earth. I returned to the hotel by torchlight along a country lane and slept well that night.