Bicycle tour from Andorra, Vuelta across the Pyrenees, across Massif Central and the Alps back to Lake Geneva about 3100 km from August 28th to September 22nd, 2010. ca. 3100 km, 43 mountain passes

II. part
From Andorra border to France across the Pyrenees, across Massif Central and the Alps back to Lake Geneva

XV. day

Soulan,St.Girons,St.Jean du Castillonnais,
Saint_GironsSchlacht_Chantiers_de_la_Jeunesse_FrancaiseCol_de_Portet_d_Aspet_1069_m  Col_de_Portet_d_Aspet 
                          St. Girons                           CJF resistance monument                         Col de Portet d Aspet                    Col de Portet d Aspet 1069 m         

Antichan du Frontignes,St.Beat

Bergabfahrhrt_Col_de_Portet_d_Aspet_Denkmal_Fabio_CasartelliI have enjoyes descending from pass Col de Portet d Aspet so much, that I really missed to see that monument.I am very sorry about it now. I have seen something briefly, but I did not want to climb back. It was the monument of Fabio Casartelli (Italian, Goldmedal winner at road cyling at the Olympics )was not able to stop. 
I downloaded this photos from internet.
At the 15th Stage of the Tour de France on 18.06.1995. he crashed with several cyclists during the descent from the pass. He sufferedso heawy injuries when he hit concrete block on the roadside pralte, that despite the immediate medical Help and more resuscitation attempts he died in the helicopter.At his memorial monument the shadows show on his birthday and on the day of his victory on the Olympics and won and on the day of his dead.Three days later Lance Armstrong won the stage.
The captain of the Motorola team dedicated this victory to his teammate pointing to the sky.

      Bergab_rollend_von_Col_de_Portet_d_Aspet     Col de Mente_in_Piraenen  Serge_Lapebie_La_Route_du_Sud       schoenste_Panorama_in_Piraenen
  descending from Col_de_Portet_d_Aspet     Col de Mente      Serge Lapebie_La_Route_du_Sud  the most beautiful view in the Pyrenees verified by a British painter

In the evening, the ball game pétanque is played.

    Forellenangler_St._Beat     St.Beat    Alte_Kirchen_in_Saint_Beat  Ausblick_aus_dem_Camping
      trout fishers in Garonne river at St.. Beat                             old church  in  Saint Beat               view from camp site in Fos        

Fos Camping of the town

XVI. day

In the morning I was in the Spanish Pyrenees , I was cycling through the small town Bossost in direction Col du Portillon.
Steep descendiing to Bagnieres du Luchon.

          Spanien_Bosost       Endlich_auf_Passhoehe!       Baneres_de_Luchon_hotel_de_Tour
               on the way to Pass Portilhon                              on the mountain pass top                 the Tourhotel in Banieres du Luchon,Mekka der Radfans      

nice resort , which is often the finish of Tour de France stages.
The road is winding up to Pass Col de Peyresourde.

Bahamontes_Gewinner_1958Pyrenees_B_d_Luchonauf_halbem_Weg_zum_Col_de_PeyresourdeCol de_Peyresourde_1563_m Bahamontes stage winner in 1958  favourite cyclist of my late friend ( Legner Laci)   B_d_Luchon peaks overviewing the pass                                                                                                                                                                                                             Peyresourde                               

The pass roads are covered everywhere with the famous cyclist names, of ETA or demanding freedom for the Catalans etc. At some of them I thought thanks heaven, it is better for me not beeing able to understand it. During climbing of the passes in the Pyrenees - perhaps Peyresourde - I found the scipt,which I liked , because I was a fan of Jan Ullrich.
Man = man
jetzt ran = now push!
and under a well made caricatour of Jan Ullrich sprayed at least 3 years ago.

St._Aventin I reached during church chime at noon on the way to Col de Peyresourde (1563 m). The beginn of Peyresourde
View from Peyresourde  to the West.
on Peyresourde. On  Peyresourde  I am trying to take photo from a kite. During descending fromPeyresurde I admire the Pyrenees, a pond in the mountains.  But later I was not disappointed either.

        Peyresourde        Peyresourde        Passklettern_Frankreich_Col_d_Aspin
                                   Peyresosurde                                                          Peyresourde                                           much traffic on  Col d Aspin-en                 

The next pass :Col de Porte

start of Col du Tourmalet.  Camping , inn, restaurant in  Saint Marie de Campan

XVII. day

                          Tourmalet                                Jacques Goddet                Panorama from Tourmalet to the West Westen                     

Statue of Jacques Goddet auf Tourmalet, who was the organizer of the tour from  1936 until 1986
Descending from Tourmalet, 150 m lower  a valely is leading to the Skicentre.
long descend to Argeles Gazost, after climbing the pass: Col du Soulor.
That sign shows the start  of Pass Col du Souolor  and that one   finishes the row..
From Col du Soulor uphill to Aubisque.
Such a chasm lined the narrow road with no road railing. I rolled fast downhill to Laruns

Col_du_Soulor_im_NebelCol_d_Aubisque Aubisque Col_de_Marie_Blanque
                  Col du Souler                                              Col d Aubisque                                            Aubisque                         Col de Marie Blanque             

After descend, I followed the advice of the American couple, who were also touring passes to Bielle, to climb the Col de Marie Blanque, even though it was late. Early sign of the pass Col de Marie BlanqueEvening victory. Opposite again a resistence monument.

Camping in Louvrie.

XVIII. day

Asson, Lourdes.  Cave of_Betharam before Lourdes. Internat by the river, with a wonderful   old bridge.
Lourdes: Panorama, Lourdes downtown. Crosses in Lourdes.
The entrance of the lower church and its Interior. Large groups of pilgrims . Maria-Statue with flowers. Pilgrims from Italy passeng by.

LourdesHier fehlt jenes Foto, als die Polizisten mein Rad in einer Minute hinauf in den Mikrobus hineinzerren, nachdem ich 15 km auf den Autobahnen 
um Toulouse herum den Schilder Aubisque Lourdes
       Lourdes  main road of the pilgrims        Documents of limmiting my freedom    lower church in Lourdes         large group of pilgrims from Italy and Irland 


Tarbes Main square.
The entrance of the huge cathedral in Albi, the enormous cathedral tower. The streets in Albi near the cathedral and closer to the downtown.

    50_km_lange_Platanenallee    Hauptplatz_von_Albi    Riesiger_Turm_der_Katedrale    Abschied_von_Albitól
  an almost 50 km alley lined with plane trees before Albi                  Albi                             tower                             Morning leave of Albi by the Tarn river         

From Tarbes I could not find the right direction,too. So I had to cycle on "N 21", then north on 124 to Aubiet, pedalling through the city. , Gimont  .I went through L Isle Jaurdain to Toulouse.
There I came again to the motor way. I simply could not find any other signposted way. It was 10 km  to Toulouse. I followed the sign Centre. Later a sign showed to the right. While I was "tearing off" along the airport and the Work of Airbus. It Then it turned out I 'm back on a motorway. Soon,a police van stopped. They dragged my heavy loaded bicycle in the van. That was the end of my fast cycling on the motorway.Finally they made a photo of my identity card and about 2 km later,I was allowed to take my bicycle out of the microbus.
There was really a small turn to the centre. Before they asked my whether I had money....
But luckely I did not need to pay any fine. One of the four policemen said,if he is seeing me again on the motorway , taking my bicycle away.
I was so afraid, that I did not stop in Toulouse even to take a photo.
I was concentrating only not to come to the motorway in direction of Albi.

Route further:Lavour, Graulhet .
The cathedral showed me the direction to Albi centre. But here I had to cycle some km on the highway
Office de Tourism was well marked as in every city. I came there after 7 p.m., so it was already closed. The City plan was detached and the camp ground was good to see.
Then I took my compulsary pictures and looked around in the city.

Spa Camping Albi € 24.2. by far the most expensive! The swimming pool I did not try this evening, instead I talked to young cyclists from Britain

XIX. day

Farewell from Albi on the bank of Tarn river.
Further route.Taunus, Rodez, Villeneuve, Figeac, Maurs. In the evening it turnd out that the planned camp site is only for mobile homes. In the hotel by the lake the young receptionist girl tried to explain just to pitch up my tent on the lake shore. I thought I will not miss taking a shower this evening. So I sat on the bench by the lake and ate my supper. Then I saw a rat ,which was looking for food. He disappeared only as a woman with a dog came to close to him.
I quickly decided to stay in the hotel, before my food and tent will be touched by the rat. I paid 42 EUR for the room with breakfast.

XX. day
I arrived to the town Aurillac before 9 Uhr. The Office de Tourism was still closed.I had to ask several times for the direction to Col de Legal. The girl,who answered me last time, warned me about the approaching rain. That turned quickly in reality.

Varied landscape  of Massif Central and the first pass: Col du Bruel. The second one is already in unpleasaant rain: Col de Legal.

Col_de_Neronne also in rain. The inn on the pass has almost enticed me away to stay here. Dispite of changing an inner tube in the rain, I cycled on.
I had bad luck because I did not suspect that the hard pass is ahead of me: Col du Pas de Peyrol.
Even the otherwise grim French policemen, who were waiting in the rain for controlling vehicles, had encouraged me..

SalersMonolith_in_den_Fels_gehauene_KapelleSalers Peyrol
         moutain village                  Monolith, chapel cut in the rock                          Salers                                               Col du Pa de Peyrol           

Col_d_Entremont already withot rain. I miscalculated the weather. For in the Office de Tourism I was a day early & nbsp; no rain for the next day predicted But they had not considered that I am cycling up in the mountains about 1500 m altitude. I could no dry my washed on the revious evening washed my cloths. That is why I had no dry clothes more.
So I opted for a cheap hotel in the city & nbsp; Murat (La Messageries 30 + 8 EUR breakfast), where the next morning I had dried the still wet clothes with hair dryer.

XXI. day

St.Flour, upper town ,  bank of Ander   Varied landscape of  Massif Central . From Department Cantal I got to Haute Loire.
In this department, the sea level was marked on the kilometer markers. This was around 1000 m over sea level.   St.Flour , then the next pass: Col de Fix St. Geneys

        Mittagsrast_Langeac        Polinac       le_Puy_en_Vellay
              lunch break in Massif Central :Langeac                               castle of Polinac                                             le Puy an Vellay 

, , . A flock of eagles, medieval pig slaughtering, preparation for battle.   Now it gets serious..
The enemy fired   from huge guns , that made eerie riot. But the attackers do their best. .  
A quieter scene in the festival city.

    Le_Puy   Puy_Schmiede_zanken    Puy_Schmiede_zanken    Hofdamen_mit_Herrscherin 
                  Le Puy                               smiths                                                                                                             ladies  

             in_Krieg_ziehend   Anfuehrer_verhandeln   Mittelalterliche_Schlacht_Le_Puy

.                            Soldiers go to war                             Leaders are negotiating                             the battle

Camping Nolhac

XXII. day
Landscape in the highlands. The first pass Col des Pradeaux where I had rested for lunch. The second pass: Col des Limites In the distance the Alps. Col_de_la_Croix_l_Homme_Mort = Center of Ambert
Abbey in the mountains. The morning mist rises . Landscape   in Central Massif . The first pass :Col des Pradeaux, where I had a lunch break.  The second pass : Col des Limites
The remote   Alps.             Col_de_la_Croix_l_Homme_Mort = "Pass of the Cross of the dead man."
Centre of Ambert

The route furhter: Montbrison, Montrond les Baines(Loire),Chazelles sur Lyon,Duerne,
Camping ca. 30 km before Lyon in Randonniere, I was lucky to find it in the late darkness.

XXIII. day
In the mountains of Lyon (Monts du Lyonnaise) was the first pass:Col du Luére, followed by Col de Malval
There I received information from a cyclist how to avoid the motorway: Mornant, Givors Grigny, Vernaison. on Sunday morning when the sun shines a lot of cyclists were traveling. But also thousands were hiking. In the city of Lyon was also an organized cycling tour with thousands of cyclists and police blockades.
I tried to find out what it was, but for my questions, I received no response.
Finally, I reached the city after a long half circle around the city, this time not on the motorway.
 The inner city of Lyon.
On Sunday the shops were closed. I learnd from Russian,who were working in the city, that threre is only one by Turks run grocery open.  Originally I did not want to carry lots of food.
So I had to buy now for a higher price.

       Lyon_Hauptplatz_Sonnekoenig        Lyon_Rhone       Rhone_Lyon
            Main square with statue of the "Sun King" s                                     Rhone bank                                               

Further route: Pont du Cheruy , Cremieu. Camping "la Rivoirette" in Morestel.

XXIV. day
Route: Belley, Culoz,Ruffieux,Motz,Gorge and valley of  Fier river.
medieval town Morestel on early morning. I looked for a bicycle servide in Culoz , so I took some photos of the town life

       im_Morgennebel       wieder_Rhone_Fluss       Radweg_entlang:Rhone_bei_Culoz
                      Culoz    morning fog                          Rhone river  lunch break site                       excellent   bycle track along Rhone river

Sailboats , marina by the Rhone.

        Gorges_du_Fier       Gorges_du_Fier      Gorges_du_Fier      Gorges_du_Fier
                   Gorges du Fier                 Gorges du Fier = proud gorge                       earned well its name

Frangy, Sallenoves,Cersier, Cruseilles. The was the real start of the climb up to Mont Saleve.

That is already the pleasant valley of Fier river in the Alps . I saw such well prepared sport grounds almost in every village/ town.
Those peaks are still waiting for" a conquest ". First I admire the small  town.
I started to climb up   Mont Saleve , though it was pretty late.


              Panorama_von_Mont_Saleve_auf_Genf    Mont_Saleve_Mont_Blanc  Mont_Blanc_im_Licht_der_heruntergehenden_Sonne
                                 Mont Saleve                                       view from Mont Saleve to Mont Blanc        in the lights of sun set

many (21) paragliders circling over Mont Saleve. Mont Saleve Telepherique. Panorama to the evening Genf.

Spending the night in one by Vietnameses run cheap hotel in Annemasse, which was full of noisy Arabs..

XXV. day
Route: Annemasse, Viuz en Sallaz, Tanniges,Morillon. I pushed the pedals up to  my last pass : Col de Joux Plane 1712 m .

                     Auf_Serpentine_von_Joux_Plane    Col_de Joux_Plane_mit_Radlerpartnern             Col_du_Joux_Plane_Passhoehe
                 On the serpentines of  Joux Plane Passes        accompanied by a Frenchman and British    on Col du Joux Plane a spoke broke                 

Panorama from  Col du Joux Planel. From there we came up. On that terrace we had a cola
My last pass Col du Ranfolly

      Joux_Plane_Mont_Blanc_Blick    Col_du_Ranfolly     Gorges_du_Pont_du_DiableThonon_les_Bains_Lac_Leman
     Panorama on  Joux du Plane towards Mont Blanc         Col du Ranfolly            last gorge:Gorges du Pont du Diable Thonon les Bains by the Lake of Geneve    

Morzin, St. Jean d-Aulps. Last gorge : Gorges du Pont du Diable, then downhill to Lake Geneve.

I thought in the morning of the 25th day, which should havee been a reward stage because I had to climb just a big pass, beautiful weather and at night I did not need to look for any more camping.
But the day occorred in a different way.
Halfway to the Col de Joux Plane Saliva a spoke of the rear wheel broke and got into the bicycle derailleur.
I just had to turn the bent derailleur, even to loosen the brake line. Because the rear wheel was bent so much.
The accompanied Englishman asked whether I can continue the tour with a so much bent wheel.
In the bicycle service of Fülöp in Budapest turned out, that the derailleur's shoe had a crack.
On the downhill, I also had a flat tire in the back wheel, of course.
Nevertheless, I arrived safely in Thonon le Bains in the evening.
I had managed the tour !

Driving home -in compensation for the long sitting in the car - I saw Matterhorn then I climbed up to Oberalppass.
Under   such avalanches protections the road lead to the pass top. View to  Andermatt. god of shepherds in Andermatt

Useful hints, tips for cyclists,who want to make a bicycle tour in France.