From Peyrehorade to Saint Jean de Luz (2018-09-01)

How to climb hills near the Atlantic Ocean ?! Today I would reach the Atlantic Ocean ! I was to follow the Les Gaves Reunis, the river that unites the Gave de Pau and the Gave d'Oloron just a few kilometers east of Peyrehorade. The river is about 80 meters wide I guess and getting wider while flowing to the Atlantic Ocean. It was rather dampy when I left Peyrehorade. At first instance the sun seemed to win again. But then it disappeared again, and all was wet and not drying. When I looked behind me to see how the river looked like when looking into the sun the view was beautiful too. But also these beautiful swans were there. Quietly eating and flowing around.

That is, until they finally saw me ( I had stopped at quite some distance to park the bike to a pole). It brought me these pictures, and do I like them ... Do you happen to know that if swans find their soulmate they stay together for the whole rest of their lifes ?! What a highlight, and the day was only 20 minutes young ! I continued to follow the river and it was a joy to cycle here. At this point the river had split up into a main and a smaller stream. There I even was on a gravel track twice, old mountainbike days are here again haha. I had seen these birds (Cattle Egret) already sometimes at Peyrehorade and also today along the river and now saw more and more of them. Then I passed the trees where they were living in, and there were hundreds of them. In Peyrehorade I had noticed that every morning many ducks were passing to the east and returning to the west in the evening. Today I noticed that these white birds were also always flying to the east, from the trees in which they live. There must be a reason for that and that reason must be food ?! At a map I had seen a lake east of Peyrehorade (that I had not visited) but that could be their daily goal ofcourse. Then the river "Adour" also joined the Les Gaves Reunis. That made an extra wide river. Nevertheless I have not seen any commercial ship on it. Nor any private boats, except for 1 or 2. There must be a reason for that, but I don't know it. My holiday house was still standing strong it seemed, maybe I should visit it again sometime haha. And just at that point there was this nice place for a stop. I ate my second boterham (google that haha) and enjoyed the view. All my life I have loved to be near rivers and harbours and ports. Cycling along at the dykes, having those enormous views, and see the ships wrestling to get upstream and "freeflowing" downstream.

Tip : at my site you find water related pictures of the Netherlands about :
- the Laborieux (ship) at the river IJssel,
- the landscape along the river IJssel,
- the Volharding 5 (ship) in the port of Rotterdam, seen from a tourboat,
- the skyline of Rotterdam seen from on- and offshore,
- the worldfamous windmills at Kinderdijk (Unesco),
- the river Zaan and the Zaanse Schans (Unesco), through Amsterdam and the polder,
- the Ships museum in Amsterdam,
- the Ships museum in Rotterdam,
- the outdoor harbour museum in Rotterdam.
Just click at any subjectline, these series are all related to water, waterlandscapes, rivers and boats in the Netherlands.

Today it was another lucky day. Then I was pedalling downstream (-0.5% ?), had a slight tailwind of some 5 to 10 kmh and Would Have No Hills along a river haha. I cycled easily some 20 to 23 kmh. That is, when not stopping to take pictures ofcourse. It felt a bit like being in the Netherlands again ! The flatland, the river and the fruit trees, it all looked so familiar. Until I saw that the fruit were kiwis haha. I guess the climate change will have kiwis to grow in the NL soonest too ?! There was an announcement about a mousse party. If you don't know what that means, here is a short film about one. Some containers full of concentrated mousse are used to create huge amounts of high volume mousse. That mousse is then blown over the public. This one was in Guillestre in the Hautes Alpes where the dj was playing very good dance music (later in the night). The central square was full with people.

The mousse slided over and of the square, all the way down over the main road to the next main road some kilometer down haha. I joined the party all night (including camera) until about 02h00 hours when it stopped. Then I took a shower at the camping, that is fully dressed, and I still think my clothes have never again been so clean haha !

I was about to follow the river for quite some distance in the direction of Bayonne (and Biarritz). But to avoid the busy traffic in such a big town I had created a detour for the gps somewhat more south of those urban areas. Then I would end up at a campsite near the coast anyway. And had planned to visit Bayonne and Biarritz a next day(s) but without luggage.

I was enjoying the views of the river at my right and missed the exit at the left so I turned. The first thing I saw was a Very Steep Hill ... I climbed the first 200 meters or so but then turned back. Then I had promised myself that this would be the first day on which I would not push the bike ! And it was obvious that I would have to break that promise on this hill already.

I had no problem at all with that decision then I really loved the scenery along the river. Besides that, the original track was some 5 kms shorter then the hilly one. But then : what was that ??? Did I see a cap of a gnome lying near the roadside ??? I turned, and indeed there was a red gnoom cap lying over there ! Was this the proof they really exist ?! Somewhat anxious I continued, then was I now in their Kingdom ? What would happen tonight, lying in my little tent ... I dreamed about them, being them very kind to me ! I continued to Bayonne, and traffic was getting more intense. Pretty suddenly I was in the urban area. Many roads connect to Bayonne so many bridges are crossing the river. Picture They had already reinforced one bridge, someone must have warned them about my OnTheRoad 4.0 haha. For those who like technics (and those who don't) : if you make a construction 3 times more wide it will be 3 times more strong. But if you make it 3 times more high it will be 9 times more strong. That is why those beams are standing and not lying. I had a nice cycleroad just (almost) for myself. This cycleroad was constructed hanging above the river following the mainroad and was a joy to ride. Although for only about 15 minutes it felt like being at the outskirts of the port(s) of Rotterdam once more.

Tip : at my sites and you also find pictures of the area of Rotterdam and Dordrecht and there surroundings :
bicycletouring along the big waters,
the harbours and the rivers Nieuwe Maas and Oude Maas,
the river Beneden Merwede and along the Biesbosch,
the river Lek and the windmills of Kinderdijk (Tip !).
These series are all related to water, waterlandscapes, rivers and boats in the Netherlands. And to cycling ! Then the track turned left and I entered centre ville of Bayonne. And there were so many people ! It was tempting to stop here for a while, but as I sad I would return later, disguised as a real tourist with hat and fake mustache plus beard. I continued and so left the centre.

I passed the Decathlon and stopped to buy a new inflatable pillow. The one I had from China worked pefectly, until it did not anymore.

Then, still in Bayonne centre, the road started climbing ! All day I had been at a height of only about 8 to 10 meters above sealevel. Which was the lowest point of my YesTrip anyway. But now, just only some kms away from the sea the land was raising. And raising and raising ... I had a difficult time to get to Biarritz. Cycling in the traffic noise all the time, at some 30C at the tarmac, and looking up, up and up. Finally having arrived in Biarritz the situation continued to be so hilly and steep. Just have a look at the height profile and see what happened there ! I conquered 545 vertical meters which is quite "normal". But today I made them not evenly spreaded over ie 55 kms but in almost only the last 20 kms. So those last 20 kms were 2.5 times more steep. That's why ... But when I finally entered the centre of Biarritz I was excited to immediately see the Atlantic Ocean ! So I did no longer follow the track but decided to cycle straight ahead to the farest point of town towards the sea. Then I was there. Unfortunately an older couple got in the way to take the historical picture haha. They kept on walking left and right, and did not come to the idea to sit on the bench. But anyway, I took some more pictures some 200 meters furtheron, and again at another point in town. But when I entered this part of town I even had to climb further up ... A kind of boulevard is along the beach there, but it is quite some meters above sealevel. Until now I still had not pushed the bike. But I must admit to have made some stops not to enjoy the views but to recover haha. Since I would return here anyway it was more wise to continue, so I did. To then find out that obviously all along the coast here all streets were very steep and going up and down and up and down. I did get into some troubles because of that. It was hotter then predicted, and I guess the mental "thing" was hindering me now.

All meters of the remaining 12 kms were just as hilly and steep. I stopped several times to rest, and then found myself on the 90 80kmh ongoing main road. Yes, this summer France has lowered the 90kmh maximum speed to 80kmh. At the first top of that wide road I could turn right to start the last 3 kms to the camping. Yet another steep but short uphill. But "somehow" I was exhausted ... I climbed that hill and at the top saw a sign of a camping that I had not found online and so had not planned to stay on. I was really tired, and the price there was only € 7,02 (of which € 0,22 tax for the maier haha). Only less then half of what I had reconded upon. So I stopped to have a look.

It was very calm there so I decided instantly to stay here. Supermarket and restaurant at just 10 minutes by foot, and the beach some 15 minutes (while some 70 meters down up ...). The only drawback was the camping closing for the season at the 5th, so I could stay here only 4 nights maximum. Anyway, I liked the tranquille situation (as always) and put up my tent. I had a nice diner at a restaurant fairly early. Duck with musterd sauce, one of the birds that flew over the Les Gaves Reunis in Peyrehorade every day haha. Plus 2 cups of good coffee and 2 glasses of nice cold beer. That was to compensate for all the calories lost that day haha. I went to bed at about 22h30. And dreamed about all those super seniors that cycle all day and never give up. With electrical assistance that is haha.

Enjoy your day, your bicycle and Nature !


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