After five days of early mornings it was strange to have a lie in on Saturday at Hotel Particulier in Arles. We were lucky to have a fabulous room for our last night. Tour leader Gary explained that all the hotels have a few superior rooms and he tries to share these evenly throughout the week.
Marion looked stunning as we headed out to dinner with our fellow cyclists for the last time. We celebrated our last evening with champagne at the hotel before heading to a restaurant in Arles for our last meal together. As always the meal was a fun affair and we will miss the conversation. Food and wine have been major features of the cycling week and I was able to eat like a king without worrying about my weight.
Sadly I won't be able to eat like this at lunchtime again unless I want to put on a couple of stones.
From Arles we headed to Avignon by taxi to pick up our car from Hotel D'Europe. And from there we drove here to a fabulous villa that we've rented in Bonnieux. The weather has cooled down and we've had a bit of rain but we're set for a relaxing time.
We will miss the characters we met on our cycle. There was the extremely modest Steve - a very successful businessman with tremendous leadership qualities, his lovely wife Carin a devoted mum and fellow writer, the super fit Tim who, despite being a few years older than me managed to be first man to the top of every hill. Tim is a truly nice guy who recently retired from an executive role in one of the world's biggest chemical corporations. I said he was first man to the summits as his wife Therese, whose rendition of Chantilly Lace was one of the week's highlights, was often there before him - Therese is an amazing athlete and also an artist in glass. Our final couple were Mark , who works with Steve, and his wife Wendy. Mark has a fabulous sense of humour and gave us all plenty of laughs. Wendy works out almost every day and, coped brilliantly with all the climbs. It's hard to believe that the eldest of her three kids has almost completed university.
We hope that social media will allow us to follow their futures and we hope that they enjoy the rest of their holidays and have good return journeys to South Africa and the USA.