Today we picked up our rented bikes, had a wonderful breakfast of fresh baguette with ham, cheese and fried fresh eggs compliments of Sandy and hit the road with the intention of tasting some wine and getting some fresh air and exercise. We left Bonnieux headed for the Pont Julien and two wine chateaus along that route. The first chateau was closed (today and only today), as the first of May seems to be some kind of holiday around here? I sort of remember that, but not really to tell the truth. It doesn't seem to be affecting the restaurant and such in town, but none the less, ferme (closed), so on down the road we continued. The next place on our stop was the chateau that had furnished our wine at the Le Tinel dinner on Tues night, Epyceries, I think... We stopped, rang the bell and had a nice tasting of the wine we had at dinner and all their others. They had a nice variety and we all walked out promising to come back tonight or tomorrow with the car to buy some wine - we each wanted at least 2 bottles.
One problem, we still haven't figured totally how we are going to get any wine home, let alone a fair amount of wine. Guess I better check FedEx while I'm here on the internet to see if there is a location close, our plan is to send back the majority of our clothes (that we severely overpacked by the way) and check the wine in our suitcase. The issue is that United has changed their rules about wine in checked luggage and it needs to be in packing material like it would be in boxes, no worries though as the French seem to pack their wine laying down with formed pieces in between that is much more compact than our standing up styrofoam way. We can each easily take 6 bottles, and could probably do a case with some creativity and strong muscles - never the less time is waning and we need to figure it out soon - guess that is my job to think about and figure out...
After our tasting we continued on to the Pont Julien, a roman bridge remaining completely intact here in the Luberon. It is pretty amazing to think how smart the Romans were and the engineering feats that they accomplished as a society. This bridge is pretty small, but impressive none the less due to its age and still working order. After a quick break at the bridge to take some pictures and get Sandy in the wild poppies we headed out towards La Coste a town ~ 4-5 km from Bonnieux depending how you go, but our way was likely 10-11km. It was bordering lunch time and everything except the resaurants closes down, we weren't hungry yet, so we continued on to the Abbeye St Hilaire.
Shan had tried to get to this abbey on her walking tour on Sunday, but had made a wrong turn and never did find it, so we set out to correct her mistakes on a faster mode of transportation. First, we had to climb up to La Coste (another perched village), then climb up and out of the village, then climb some more, whew I knew it was hilly here, but as usual on a bike it takes on a whole new perspective. We finally started the descent to the turn off for the Abbey and I was thinking... for every down there will be another long up... guess I better enjoy it while I can.
We found the abbey and had a nice walk around and look, and then I checked the map for a way back to Bonnieux hoping for not too many hills. This is a past time of mine in Colorado Springs, how to get home on my bike, climbing the least amount or least grueling hills. Unfortunately my map is not a topographical map, and therefore I couldn't really tell, but the road below the abbey appeared pretty flat!
We climbed up the gravel road from the abbey to our original road and continued on down the hill, and down and down and down to meet up with my "flat road" back to Bonnieux! Silly rabbit tricks are for kids!
At the turn for my "flat road" Shan and Sandy thought they wanted to ride more than the 11km back to Bonnieux so we parted ways and I started climbing my flat road - turned out to be a nice steady incline for 7 of the first 11km back, then a nice downhill reprieve which only meant I would have to climb (more steeply this time) back up to my perched village.
I was only home 20 min when in came Sandy and Shan, they had gone a ways then changed routes to come back here and had ridden about the same as I had by the time it was done. Sandy was pooped - she hasn't done much riding with Shan on the open road and didn't know what she was really getting into...
So now, after a snack of baguette and cheese on the terrace, I'm at the cafe blogging so I can finally feel somewhat caught up. Tonight is our michelin restaurant night at Bastide de Capelongue, and we are all saving our appetites to eat and eat and eat! So, I will be done, need to put on some makeup and finally put on a dress after two weeks of carting them around and not using them!