Monday, 10 March 2014

Aix, the long goodbye, March 15ish.

We seem to be having trouble leaving Aix but I am sure we will have some success shortly. We have been finally getting around to visiting some of the museums and places we figured we would have lots of time to see but haven't. Then we have been saying goodby to our friends, school mates, teachers,  favorite shopkeepers and landlords. We also got to stay an extra week in our apartment for next to nothing becase the hosts are taking a vacation. So the Mar 15 exit from Aix has been postponed.

We have been doing stuff like visiting the Foundation Vasarely.

The Vasarely Foundation was remarkable for the size of the works, makes me wonder if they are trying to compensate for something.

The outside view of the Vasarely Foundation

We recomend going on a sunny day because if it is raining outside it also raining inside.

We went to see the big professional bike race in Aix, The Rotonde d'Aix. Several of the winners from years past showed up for the race and Yoly picked an Italian, who had success winning the race in years past, but he was there without any team mates, so while he led the race for several laps he never won any of the laps that paid €1000.00 each or the big prize at the end of the race. The race was a series of sprints and sprinting is a team sport. We had a nice spot on the finish line but the race is actually won or lost about 150 meters before the finish when the teams put their sprinter in the perfect spot from which he can make the sprint to the line with fresh legs. Team Europecar won most of the sprints but some other team won the race. There was also an amature race before that featured some spectacular crashes and all the road rash that goes along with them.

This is the Italian gentelman Yoly picked to win, but alas he had no help getting into position for the sprints.

Here we see a plot developing where two teams promise not to work against each other but once the race is on even the best laid plans of mice and men...

Our hero Chris Froom, winner of last years Tour de France, signing  Yoly's program.

Europecar wins one of the money laps. The racer and the team also get points because it is a professional race.

There is the winner and his biggest fans.

Here he is again with a bouquet of flowers, a trophy, some money, and a kiss on the cheek from Miss Provence, thanking his team mates and just being glad he was able to help out the team.

We finally made it to the Atelier Cezanne and up to the Painters Grounds where the famous painters like Cezanne painted mount Sainte Victoire. It was highly recomended by our friend Kathy and was the highlight of the walk.  

It was a bit hazy in the afternoon but the view was great.

Mount Sainte Victoire.

A view from the painter's garden

We made a few training rides up into the Sainte Victoire mountain region

We finaly found the old marble quarry.

There are some impresive sites in and around the quarry.

This is a nice house at the base of mount Sainte Victoire, but lots of work with all the vineyards and fruit trees. I think I see some olive trees down there too.

Yoly is very impressed with the misters that spray a mist of water in a line through the forest to create a fire break. The type of vegetation that grows around the misters is different from the local flora and generaly doesn't burn as easy. The area was devastated by a fire 25 years ago and you can still see the scars on some of the older trees.

One of the several summits on the 9km off road of circuit Roques-Hautes west side of Mount Sainte Victoire

Big Bimont dam. (Barrage du Bimont

Little bimont dam.

Yoly and Lac du Bimont.

The route between Lac du Bimont and Lac Zola was challenging and we had to carry the bikes sometimes, good thing the weren't fully loaded.

Another summit over looking Lac Zola

Lac Zola

 Lac Zola

An ancient aquaduct made by the romans it used to supply water to Aix-en-Provence in back in the day.

lake Zola and the dam takes its name from the engineer François Zola who designed the dam in 1844 but later died of pneumonia before the project was completed. 
François Zola was the father of Émile Zola, the famous writer. 

It's all down hill from here

Still going down untill we meet the paved road to Aix

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