We are back in France, well the far southern part at least, the last country on our 2nd RTW motorcycle trip. It is almost over, in less than a week we will be waiting to board a ferry to England. It all seems a little surreal, we have spent almost six months travelling generally westward seeing and experiencing so much and now we will race through the last week ignoring the signs for interesting and intriguing places. We are out of time, the temperature is dropping, leaves are gaining their autumnal tints and it’s time for us finish our journey.
We leave Dubrovnik to sunshine as usual, following the coast road (D8) to Donja Podstrana – there is a name for you but the weather forecasts see rain fronts crossing the continent over the coming week, so our aim will be to try and minimise our exposure while still keeping to our timetable.
We leave Donja Podstrana and the coast and head inland to the main motorway. The scenery changes in only few miles, is less arid and shows a gentler side to Croatia, small villages, intriguing winding roads. Yet another place to come back to and explore – the list keeps growing, we must stop looking or we will have years of traveling just in this part of the world.
We cross into Slovinia, our last new country on this journey and last border crossing until the UK as we are in the Schengen area late in the afternoon and spend a night in a small hotel/guest house.
The next morning sees a magical mist covered landscape heading north, yes added that to the list as well.
Italy was crossed with our destination, Montauroux, a small hilltop village west of Grasse, where we were based from January to May 2014 and did a significant amount of planning for RTW version 1.
As we ride up the hill towards Montauroux, we recognise all the old sights, winding our way into the square, we are relieved, nothing seems to have changed. We park outside the ‘Brasserie du Clos’ where we would walk to each morning for coffee to watch the world go by, and more often than not in the evening for Pizza and a surprisingly good rosé wine on tap. We had got to know the proprietor Albert quite well. Over three years later, would he still be there or have sold and moved on? He is there and remembers us, he still has a post card we sent from Uzbekistan in 2014. Another great reconnection on this trip.
We wander the town, reminding ourselves of those little things that fade from the memory,
Lunch at the ‘Brasserie du Clos’ talking with Albert, it was great to see him again. We will keep in touch in future. Merci Albert pour le déjeuner, à la prochaine!
Our next stop is in Aix, chosen from a number of similar interesting places around the same distance from Montauroux, we know that Anne has an Aunt in the region, but where? Aix of course! We spend a couple of hours catching up with someone Anne had not seen in over 25 years.
Onwards to Lunas in the Occitanie region, created in 2016, where we catch up with the last friends before finishing this trip. Phillip and Judith we met in 2009 in India where we were all part of an organised group riding through Darjeeling and Bhutan on Royal Enfield motorcycles, our first overseas motorcycle adventure and look where that led us!!
We spend a couple of days enjoying their company and hospitality and the last of the warm sunshine before heading off into the rain and back to UK, the trip almost over…