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Old 04-18-2010, 11:19 AM
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Default A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

I was one of the unlucky travelers that was caught in the wake of last Wednesdays eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. This was a particularly nasty eruption, as far as aircraft go, because it occurred underneath a glacier. What this means is that as soon as the eruption occurred, the melting glacial water poured into the crater and turned the magma into tiny glass particles; which then rose up in the eruption plume. Volcanic ash is not a good thing for aircraft in any of its forms, but as tiny glass particles it was particularly bad, since once taken into a jet engine, they act like tiny abrasives on all the moving parts, which could lead to a cooked engine, which could lead to a very cold swim - or worse. So, that's what all the travel commotion in the US/Europe corridor has been about for the last 4 days.

I was over in the far Eastern side of France, in Annecy, for business reasons. I was going to fly home on Saturday out of Paris CdG; after taking a train from Annecy to Paris on Friday night. Enter the French train strike! My train was canceled, and just when I getting ready to get irritated about that, they closed CdG due to the volcanic eruption. Then they closed, London, then Frankfurt, then Amsterdam, then Nice, then Milan, etc., etc. Not a great prognosis for getting back home anytime soon.

But the Spanish airports were still open (there's always a solution, the challenge is to find it) So, there was an airport, now we needed a plane. Commercial flights were out, but we found another alternative that looked viable. Next topic; how to get across France and into the nearest Spanish airport; Barcelona? The answer, 9 hours by car.

So, off we headed from Annecy to Barcelona; first South, then West. Three cars, nine people. As we proceeded, I realized that we were going to be traveling through Jean-Paul's (jbbfly) (aka "J-P") area of France; Languedoc. Armed with my trusty BlackBerry camera phone, I decided to snap a couple of shots to show you what the area looks like. Granted, the options for photoing this area were not great; particularly since my photo vehicle was the dirty windshield of the car that I was riding in (I was riding "shotgun", so my view wasn't too bad).

Here we go and, up front, I'm going to ask Jean-Paul to please post some better pics of his area and to clarify anything that I state that is incorrect.

Here's what I was leaving; Annecy:

Click the image to open in full size.

Cruising down the A9; about 130 kpm. Here's the sign for J-P's area; as you can also see, we were heading as quickly as possible to Barcelona. [Click on the pics to get a larger image from Photobucket]

Click the image to open in full size.

The area, for me, was somewhat flat and hot. This was mid-April, it must get pretty hot there in the Summer months. We weren't close to the Mediterranean, since the A9 is pretty much of a straight shot across the South of France an into the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Southwestern France from Spain (I guess you can also count Andorra in the mix).

Here's a little shot of the countryside; trust me, you're going to have to squint and use your imagination to get much out of these camera-phone pics at 130 kpm:

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's another; they had what looked like some nice fruit trees just coming into bloom:

Click the image to open in full size.

And, of course, what would France be without the noble grape? There were many vineyards planted right up against the highway. Seemed like an ideal climate to me. With appellations like: Gres de Montpellier, Terrasses do Beziers, Terres de Somminiers, etc., I really wanted to partake in the local wine fare; but, no time to do it. Look real hard, this is a tough one to see:

Click the image to open in full size.

I messaged J-P as we were cruising though his neck of the woods; I would have loved to be able to stop by to meet he and his wife, Tiana. But, we both reaffirmed that we'll do our best to get together to fish some time this Spring/Summer. I've heard a lot about Chub and Dace, now I need to hook into one, or two, or three.

But, as Robert Frost said in his Poem Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening, "I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep". And was that ever the truth; I arrived back in the US last night at 2:30AM!

Click the image to open in full size.

We'll do it J-P, your area looks nice to me. I did pass over one or two small rivers on the A9, and I think I may have seen a rise!

Pocono
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Pocono

Sorry to hear of your travel woes, glad to hear you made it. Nice that you were able to see a little of JP's home territory! Thanks for the photos!!
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Sorry for your travel problems Alan, welcome home... Thanks for the pics of JP's home ground...

Dan
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Thanks for the pics Pocono. Sounds like a couple of long uncertain days. Glad that you got out. News is still reporting indefinite delays today.
JP lives in a pretty place. That first pic is gorgeous. Are those the Alps with the snow caps?
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Thanks a lot Allan for this report....it's really touching as you may imagine...
I've seen many reports on tv with hundreds of people stuck in stations and airport for days....so you were lucky to find a plane even in Spain.
Allan you should know strike is the french national sport.
On the sign for my area:two towns:Pézenas where Molière lived
Adge which was founded by the Greeks and built near a volcano(this one has been asleep for long)
You were close the sea...it can be seen from the motorway...
You crossed some rivers I fish of course....they flow down to the sea
It's often hot in the summer...you're right...
As for the vineyards....the ones by the motorway are not the best...got some good bottles at home
The Hérault is one of the most varied area of France,I'll post pics to show some of the different sceneries which can be found within less than a hundred miles.
thanks again....big chub and spooky dace are waiting for you
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Hi Allan,

Thanks for sharing your trip. I was thinking about you getting stranded yesterday knowing you travel in Europe a lot. I see the airlines are doing some test today about flying over or under the cloud. Even with all your problems you were thinking about your friends on NAFFF.

Frank
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Allan: Great trip report and photos of France, sorry to hear you got stuck in all the mess with the volcano ash!

Larry
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmie View Post
Thanks for the pics Pocono. Sounds like a couple of long uncertain days. Glad that you got out. News is still reporting indefinite delays today.
JP lives in a pretty place. That first pic is gorgeous. Are those the Alps with the snow caps?
Jimmie,

Yes, those are the French Alps. Annecy is a small town on the Western side of that range; not far from the Swiss border; about 40 miles. There's a lot of Swiss feel in the town. It's a pretty place.

Pocono

---------- Post added at 10:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:02 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbbfly View Post
Thanks a lot Allan for this report....it's really touching as you may imagine...
I've seen many reports on tv with hundreds of people stuck in stations and airport for days....so you were lucky to find a plane even in Spain.
Allan you should know strike is the french national sport.
On the sign for my area:two towns:Pézenas where Molière lived
Adge which was founded by the Greeks and built near a volcano(this one has been asleep for long)
You were close the sea...it can be seen from the motorway...
You crossed some rivers I fish of course....they flow down to the sea
It's often hot in the summer...you're right...
As for the vineyards....the ones by the motorway are not the best...got some good bottles at home
The Hérault is one of the most varied area of France,I'll post pics to show some of the different sceneries which can be found within less than a hundred miles.
thanks again....big chub and spooky dace are waiting for you
J-P,

Glad you enjoyed the tour. I look forward to seeing some better pics of the area.

It's Marty's birthday tomorrow, so we went out to dinner tonight at a restaurant called the French Manor. We order a bottle of Fitou in your honor for the occasion. It was Cuvee des Ardoises, Chateau des Erles, 2004. Very nice; light, full and flavorful. Perfect with lightly grilled Tuna.

Pocono
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

As I promised here are a few pics of my region.
Part1....the seaside:La Grande Motte.
Click the image to open in full size.
Sète...Mont St Clair,Thau pond...where they breed oysters
Click the image to open in full size.
Bouzigues...charming little village by the pond.Was there this morning
Click the image to open in full size.
Cap D'Agde.and the black cliffs.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: A Dirty Windshield Tour Through Jean-Paul's Languedoc, France

jp, that is an amazing place. Really great pics. Thanks for the view. Living in Iowa,we dont have many views like that...Ha Alan, thank you for your report and pics. I bet you had an exciting time during that Valcano plume...

Regards, Boser
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