September 21, 2011

Pyrenees Tour: The Mediterranean

First thing this morning I rode to the train station, and bought a ticket to Toulouse. No problem for Papillon, the train is a bike-friendly TER. I might never go anywhere on a train in France except on a TER, they make it so easy. It is harder and more expensive to put a long distance together, I suppose, but the trains really are easier with cycles. All TER trains take cycles, all have a place to hang them.

After that I rode south on the Canal de Robine, headed for Gruissan Plage, a close and very nice sand beach on the Mediterranean, less than 10 miles from the city.  The ride was along a cycle trail which followed the Canal de Robine. If you were to follow it north, you would reach the Canal du Midi. After leaving the pavement of the city, the cycle path surface got pretty rough, and I was glad to have Papillon's sturdy tires. As it was, a bolt on my rear rack rattled loose and I needed to replace it.

In the Pyrenees I often saw beautiful black horses, the Merens. And I remembered the famous white horses of the Camargue, though I don't know their breed. I wondered what I might find in the Aude, a region of the Languedoc between the Pyrenees and Camargue. Looks like some of each.

Soon after the horses, I passed a herd of black cattle, very similar to the ones in the Camargue. They must be accustomed to grazing  in water, since they are often in salt marshes, more than ankle-deep.

Gruissan, the town itself, is located on a large salt-water lake, which the cycle path circles as it enters town. The views to the hills in the distance were lovely. If you look closely, you can see the Pyrenees to the southeast, somewhere between here and Perpignan.

On the way to the beach, I saw this sign and included the photo for my brother. All the world wants to be where he is.

The Mediterranean

The beach at Gruissan-Plage is fine, wide, sandy, with no pink high-rise apartments lining the coast. It wasn't crowded, and everyone here was having fun, playing, snoozing, swimming.

I spent the entire day here, enjoying the sea, doing nothing but relaxing and thinking about the amazing bike ride I have just completed.

And after a few hours, asked someone to take my photo, explaining why. So an amiable woman took my photo, and that done, I sat in the sun, waded in the water, took a walk on the beach, ate a good seafood lunch beachside, took a snooze, waded again, walked again, and .... called the trip finished.

Hard to leave the Mediterranean, but there it is. Atlantic to Mediterranean. Done, terminé, achevé, fini. Last post from this road. Thanks for sharing this very cool adventure with me!



  1. I'm feeling a bit trieste knowing that this is the last of your wonderful posts. The pictures and the text have been beautiful, and can't wait to have dinner to hear about it in person. Safe trip home! Laury

  2. Thanks, and thanks for making the site richer with your comments, they make it way livelier! See you before too long.SM

  3. Wow, quite a trip. Congrats on doing what you want to do. You look great. It's been fun following your adventures.

  4. Hey Larry, Thanks,thanks, thanks!!! Can't wait to come see you and Shari in the midst of your new adventures!!! XOXO, SM

  5. Susan, I'm sad to see you end your trip. Where will I get my bike-travel fix now...?

    I totally agree about the TER, by the way. I would seriously consider it for long-distance travel in France if it weren't so expensive (no discounts like you get when booking TGVs in advance, for example). You can't beat the 'roll on, roll off' simplicity, though. Enjoy your time in wonderful Toulouse!

  6. Gerry,

    Well, now it's my problem too ...where will I get my next bike travel fix?

    By the way, if you ever want to get from Toulouse to Blagnac by bike, it is actually quite easy. Like most things, especially the second time.


  7. Just finished reading your account of your trip. Sounded just wonderful. Loved the photos and the comments. My wife and I are planning a trip down through France into Spain for next year, and your adventure is a tonic and an inspiration. Norman

  8. Hi Norman, Thanks for reading, and for your note...In France, if you'll be in the area I cycled in and want specific route numbers, send me another comment or emai. Where are you headed?


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