Rob Ennals > Travel > Simon and Rob Invade and Conquer France

Day 14: Velo a Grande Vitesse

St Pierre sur la Mer -> Montpellier

Taking care not to mention harbours, I pointed Simon in the direction of Montpellier, and suggested that it shouldn't be "that" much effort to get there in a day. Provoked by a desire to get as far away from where we were as possible, Simon agreed that this was a good idea.

We had planned to stop at Beziers, however, on reading the guidebook, we decided that it sounded rather dull, and so followed the bypass instead - taking a long distance zoom photo to prove that we had "been to Beziers". Forgetting about lunch altogether, we settled into a steady touring pace, and switched our brains off.

At around 4pm, my eyes woke my brain up to tell me that I was being dazzled. This seemed rather wrong as at 4pm, one would expect the Sun to be to the South West, which definitely wasn't where Montpellier was. I raised my concerns with Simon, who insisted that everything was fine, the Sun was supposed to be there, he knew where we were, and the road was about to bend. I decided to leave it for a while.

My worries increased further when, on passing over a large motorway, Simon remarked "I think this road must be new. It isn't on my map.". I commented that our map was only two weeks old, and that building a motorway usually took rather longer, but Simon was quite confident, and pointed out how very new the motorway looked.

A couple of minutes later, we found ourselves entering a town that wasn't on Simon's map. Ignoring Simons insistence that this town was new, I persuaded Simon to look over the bottom fold of his map, at which point Simon conceded that we had been going in the wrong direction for the last few miles. Thus exposed, Simon agreed to wear a compass of shame on his map holder in order to prevent this happening again.

Montpellier enticed us inwards using a wonderful system of cycle routes. This made the final part of our journey luxuriously quick, if somewhat dull - cycle-routes beside main roads not being particularly scenic. Fortunately it also made it hard to get lost, as the cycle routes only went to Montpellier.

Montpellier is big. Having spent the last two weeks in an area dominated by places that weren't big, we found the bigness of Montpellier rather inappropriate. Like most big places, Montpellier has a youth hostel, and, like most youth hostels, this one was full. Once we had discovered this fact, and given up our idyllic hopes of soft fluffy beds that weren't made of concrete, [Simon - and giving up a night out in a left-wing-university town with a traffic problem and more old buildings that dominats flat countryside - sound familiar? Still, finding the hostel had given us a good feel for the main areas of the town.] we set off in search of somewhere to camp. Quickly rejecting my suggestion that we camp on the grass in the middle of the central roundabout, we referred to Simon's guidebook for the location of a good campsite, and went where it said... leading us to a completely different campsite.

The completely different campsite was also a good campsite. The ground was soft, and the people seemed nice. As we were erecting our tent, I was beckoned over by a mysterious lady who was standing on the other side of the boundary fence. The lady appeared to be trying to give me free tomatoes. Suspecting something untoward was afoot, and disliking tomatoes, I declined the offer, and started to head back for the tent. At this point, Simon arrived, took a handful of tomatoes, and invited us to breakfast.