What a wonderful day! We woke to full sunshine, blue sky and the perfect temperature. Beastie’s need for speed had got the better of him and he had decided that today we would recreate our Mini Road Trip – but on bicycles! He fetched some croissants and sold me the idea over breakfast. We set off up the road to hire our trusty steeds which turned out easy enough and we got two bicycles with baskets and comfy saddles for E30 for the day. The plan was to ride to St Tropez, take a boat across the Gulf of St Tropez to Ste Maxime and then make our way back along the coast road, looking in at Port Grimaud and Marines de Gassin along the way.
The ride to St Tropez was easy enough and took about 20 minutes. The cycle path is very easy to follow and although you do run alongside the road, at no point do you have to deal with traffic – and it’s flat. We chained up our bikes to some railings at the side of the old port but not before Beastie insisted on having his photograph taken with his flash new wheels in St Tropez.
Beastie then took the opportunity to catch up on some watch shops that had previously been closed and was excited to discover that the shop will have an Alpina model that he is interested in, in stock by the time we return in July. We bought our ferry tickets to Ste Maxime and took our bicycles on the boat, something that I think they might only allow when they are not full, as they do take up a lot of space. As we sailed across we looked at the bay and realised that the second part of our trip was a great deal longer then the first, but we had ages to do it in. The Bateaux Vert are very speedy little vessels and in no time we were on the other side looking back.
We arrived at Ste Maxime with just enough time before lunch for Beastie to make a nuisance of himself in another watch shop, where the man in the shop was almost as interested in Beastie’s Chopard as Beastie was in the Breitling he was trying on. We escaped the shop with a heavy Breitling catalogue to cart around the rest of our journey and found a lovely little restaurant we had never visited before called Le Maison Bleu. I had the Plat du Jour which was a white fish steak in butter sauce with rice and ratatouille, Beastie had fried ravioli and lardon salad. A pichet of rosé to wash it down and a cafe gourmand to follow made it a very special meal, and a proper lunchtime treat. Then off we went again in the direction of St Tropez, on a path that we had not noticed before which ran along the beach, lined with small cafes and restaurants.
Eventually we arrived at Port Grimaud and made our way to the beach end where it is quieter, and there are less folk to run into. Both Beastie and I were a bit unsure of ourselves riding in confined places around people and it would have been very easy for either of us to run some old biddy over! It was time for another rest and we had an ice-cream in a small cafe and looked admiringly at the Lamborghini that was parked up there. The irony of Italian cars, such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, is that you could not drive them in Italy on any road that wasn’t a toll road. It seemed to us that the further south you went the worse the non toll roads got. Motorways for example had a 50 km limit in some places because the surface was so bad and I’m not talking UK pothole bad, I mean seriously falling apart and wrecked bad. In fact thinking back on our Italian trip, our scariest moment was hitting a huge pothole at 130km/h! My God did it make a bang and how we didn’t tear the wheel off I will never know – and this by the way was on a motorway!
A little more exploring in Port Grimaud and then on to Marines de Gassin where we had a stop by the beach just to see what was going on and a look in a few shops. We were quite tired by now so we thought it was time to take the bikes back, get something for our supper and go back home for a cuppa.
As I said at the start of this blog, what a wonderful day Beastie’s mini road trip turned out to be. The ferry crossing from St Tropez meant that it was a circular ride, just like our Italian road trip and this made it so much more fun than just cycling to St Tropez and then back again. He can plan another bike ride for our next holiday here in July!
Today will have a simple ending, Beastie will lose himself in Florence following the adventures of Robert Langdon, while I immerse myself in Ken Follett’s Winter of The World. All this excitement will be sustained with a glass or two of rosé and a pizza!