My best friend Lara Beth Mitchell arrived Sunday evening and we met up in the Grenoble train station. My intention was to greet her with a bottle of Bordeaux, a wheel of brie and a baguette however, it was Sunday and the only businesses open were of the non-Sabbath celebrating variety and thus my choices were very limited. So instead after three flights and two trains Beth was met with a bottle of Evian purchased moments before from a vending machine.
Fortunately after walking the town for about an hour, we were able to find some heathens who were brazen enough to open their French/Italian bistro for dinner where I had some blue cheese thinly veiled as pasta.
This morning we caught the 10:13 train to Gap and from there an autobus to Montdauphin. Thus ended my game plan. Roberto was in a small town that none of us were able to find even after scouring many maps. Having seen the town in print somewhere would have been comforting, but I did my best to put on a brave face for Beth, “the ticket seller at the train station made it seem like a snap, I mean Montdauphin is only 10kms from Bob’s hotel, we could walk if we had to.”
I am thrilled to report that walking was not needed, it was also not an option, we were 10kms and about 45 switchbacks away and we had our luggage. My plan, or lack there of, required a taxi and judging on the super small towns we were passing through, finding a taxi was far from a given. I was getting nervous.
Thankfully we met a very nice French couple on the bus who ensured that we got off at the right stop and called the taxi company for us. My French is pretty much limited to cordial greetings and due to a recent lesson over a fantastic dinner I can order a bottle of water or wine depending on the circumstances. My French does not allow me to call a taxi company and ask if they can pick me up at a rural bus station and deliver me to the Hotel Pierre and Vacances Residenve L’Albane in Vars de something or another, oh and by the way how much will that be? So the French couple we my, and thereby our, saviors!
The taxi wound us up the mountain to the ski areas village and kept climbing until finally it deposited us at L’Abane where low and behold Roberto was standing waiting to greet us. Skip ahead a few hours and we are all sitting on a deck overlooking a ski area drinking Cotes du Rhone, noshing on a baguette, a block of Blue and a bar of dark chocolate. Today is a rest day for Le Tour so we are all relaxing and preparing for the madness that will ensue tomorrow.
At our hotel in Grenoble, we were the only patrons not wearing a chamois and donned in spandex. In fact I haven’t shaved my legs in days and I felt oddly out of place! On the bus ride we went through Embrun which is where Wednesday’s stage starts and it was awash in yellow, green and pink polka dots. I am not sure I know what I have gotten myself in to! But by this time tomorrow it will all be clear.
Begin at the Beginning
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