Sunday, July 15, 2012

Modes of transport

First of many musings on the trip.  More to come as I get to it.

The France vacation was definitely a multi-modal trip in terms of transport.

1.  Airplane.  Annoying, as air travel always is, but uneventful.  The airline charged us extra for Chad's bike on the way over, as expected, but not on the way back, as it still seems that they are still more understanding of travel with bikes in Europe.  (The tandem came apart and packed into two normal suitcases, so was free both ways!)

2. Bus.  There is a highly convenient bus, Les Cars AirFrance line 4, that ran straight from the airport down to the neighborhood where we stayed in Paris, near Gare Montparnasse.

3.  Train.  We took a series of three progressively smaller trains from Paris down to the area we rode in.  First the TGV to Bordeaux,

then a smaller regional train to Perigueux (you can see our luggage -- three big bags with bikes, and three backpacks with all our other stuff),

and then a dinky little local train into Les Eyzies.

There were no problems getting the bikes onto any of the trains, even on the crowded ride on the way back to Paris, since they are counted as luggage by the French railways, and can be squeezed into the luggage area as long as they are packed up in bags.

I did have one minor snafu when I went to print out our pre-purchased tickets at the kiosk in the Montparnasse train station -- the machine must have sensed that it was 5:30 in the morning and decided to give me the blue screen of death.  Argh.

Fortunately the next machine worked, as it was 5:15am and the ticket offices weren't going to open until after our 5:56am train left the station.

4.  Bicycle!  More on this later.  Suffice it to say that it was fabulous :)

5.  Foot.  We spent quite a lot of time on foot when in Paris, and also during the bike trip as we explored old villages, caves, and castles.  (Pictured below are the road (?!) that led up to Chateau de Beynac and the Wednesday market in the medieval center of Sarlat.)

Nary a car needed (though Chad had to stop to admire this kitted-out adventuremobile near where we parked the bikes one morning)

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