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SAN SATURNIN LES APT, FRANCE – ALBISOLA, ITALY – MOLLENS, SWITZERLAND – As summer rolls to an end I am still savouring the warm memories of a summer vacation of two-wheeled bliss spent between the Luberon region of Provence, the Ligurian Coast in Italy, and the Valais.
Luberon is a protected region of painted ochre and lavender scenery, dotted with picture book medieval villages. Seen from the saddle of a bike, the scenery rolls by like a slow motion slide show.
I rolled into the town of Rousillon, renowned for its burnt orange cliffs, just as the sun was putting the final touches on the town’s church tower.
PROVENCE, FRANCE – AMINONA, SWITZERLAND – This week marks a high point in biking adventures for the year with back-to-back outings in Provence, France and Valais, Switzerland leaving me with a mile-wide grin.
What to say? Skies and lavender fields hand coloured by Cezanne, gently rising uplifts separated by carved ocher tinged limestone gorges. In short, biking paradise.
Even the 35 plus degree days seemed dreamy with the dry heat pulling the sweat from my pores and somehow refreshing me as I headed for the next watering hole (read winery).
The wealth of medieval villages, classified among the “most beautiful towns in France”, and the beautiful scenery made the distances in between melt away under the Provençal sun.
That feeling and the beachcomber laziness of life in the Luberon region where I was staying were the perfect antidote to bike-commuter burnout.
My only regret? Not having brought my mountain bike to explore the endless vineyard roads and canyon paths… next time.
Twenty-four hours later I was carving the mountain around the ski area at Aminona, Valais.
The scenery surrounding the Petit Mont Bovin is some of my favourite in the area, with its distinctive knob-topped summit and sweeping high mountain vistas, and all the sweeter to enjoy after a 2-hour, 1,2oo-meter ascent.
To boot I found good company along the way to share the views with: Jack.
Half-way through our climb my new-found trail mate told me he had recently celebrated his 70th birthday, making me feel like a bit less of a bad-ass.
At the top the views were no less awesome.
One week of vacation left, not sure how to top this last one.