Bikerail 2018 part 1– On Interrail with a bicycle @Interrail ‏

For us who where young in the 1970s, Interrail opened if not the World, so at least Europe to us. Among us young norwegians, some had been visiting Sweden or Denmark (there has for a long time been many ferry-connections between Norway and Denmark). A very few had visited other countries. Cheap flights did not exist at these times. The only alternative was hitch-hiking.

With Interrail we could visit Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, London and other cities and places we had read and heard about, that had been way out of our reach. I spent three summers travelling Europe by train.  We pretended to be travellers, not tourists. But we were of course uninformed and ill prepared amateur tourists. We should go out and discover the world, not go on sight seeing or rely on guide books, like the tourists. If we saw something that looked interesting, we often did not know what is was. And we missed a lot because we were not prepared and did not have good guide books. But we got to see many countries and famous places. We wanted to see as many countries and famous cities as we could, to tick them off on our list of “been there”. It is not a good way to travel.

I have been using bicycle for transport for many years. But I did not go on any long cycling tour before I turned 60. It is one of the things I should have stated to do many years ago. But we cannot rewind the time an live it all over again.

Continue reading Bikerail 2018 part 1– On Interrail with a bicycle @Interrail ‏

Wines and other drinks of Tour de France 2018. Stage 1: Noirmoutier-en-l’Île — Fontenay le Comte

Her we go again. We can let football be football. Now it is time for Tour de France. Stage 1 starts at Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and the riders will pass Passage du Gois before getting to the mainland.

Passage du Gois is a 4,5 km passage to the mainland, that is flooded tice a dav, on high tide. One has to be aware of the tide and the time when passing.We must assume that they studied the tide table before deciding to include this in the race. Even when the road is not flooded, it can be slippery. It was used for the first time in Tour de France in 1999. Slippery road lead to falls, and the peloton was splitted with a 6 minutes time difference.

It was used again as opening stage in 2011. There is another connection to the mainland, so people can get to and from also at high tide. But this connection is not as interesting and spectacular.

The stage is flat, and it will probably end in a sprint. There is one 4th category climb a 173 km, just enough that someone can get the polka dot jersey. But on a stage like this, it can always be a question of who will be in the position to sprint at the final. The stage follows the coast, meaning that wind can play a role. But the weather forcast says nice weather and only light winds.

When the riders get to the mainland, they will turn south towards  Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie before turning east and into the area Fiefs-Vendéens-Mareuil.

The stage ends in Fontenay le Comte. We will visit several wine areas. But from a wine perspective, it is a soft start. We are a bit south of the river Loire. We are not very far from Cognac. But I do not think we shall go there yet. Cognac is not very goos as an aperitif, and we are only at the aperitif now.

I find it misleading to call Loire one wine region. The various areas do not have more in common than that they are located near the same river, the longest river in France. We could mention other “wine rivers”. Bordeaux is located where the rivers Garonne (and Dordogne) flows into the ocean. Along the river Garonne we find many wine districts lik Duras, Marmandais, Buzet, Côtes-du-Brulhois, Fronton, Lavilledieu anf St-Sardos. But we do not label all these wines “Garonne wines”.  Alsace is located by the Rhine river, but we to not call Alsace wines Rhine wines. Etc.

I find it difficult, or almost impossible to find what could be called a Loire style. We are now at the Atlantic coast, with costal climate. At Sancerre ande Poully Fumé, there is continental climate. There are major differences.

Tour de France 2018


Tour de France
Giro d'Italia