Gap - France

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 10, 2011

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wed 27.04.2011 – After Milan we decided to depart Italy for France. On the Autostrada you have to pay. You collect a ticket at the start and then before exiting you place it into a machine that calculates your toll, insert the required coins, boom gate opens and away you go. All good until we (Greg) took a wrong exit and somehow got back on to the Autostrada minus the ticket. We still can't figure out how we did that. Anyway, we reach the toll booth with no ticket and no person to talk to because it is all automated. What to do? The only sensible thing a biker can do in such circumstances – ride around the side of the boom gate and keep going flat out, hoping and praying not to see any flashing blue lights following you along.

Of course now that we had embarked on the slippery slope of criminality, and as we were only 100 km from the Italian border and then out of reach of the long arm of the Italian law AND that Italy had no record of the Pommie-Ducati at all (on arrival in Brindisi from the ferry we were waved through with no record kept of our bike etc) and couldn’t link it to us, we figured why not just ride through all etoll gates and be done with it. So, after another three ride throughs (are these like petrol drive offs?) we left Italy behind and said hello to the Land of the Frogs.

Caio Italy!

France being an EEC member, means there is no discernable border crossing between it and Italy, not like the old days where it was a big deal to move between countries. Now, we only know you are in France when the advertising signage is in French and the majority of the cars have French, not Italian number plates.

We decided to stay the night in the small French town of Gap. Gap is along the ancient Roman route of Via Domitia used for trade and of course for the Romans to hold their empire together. We booked into the Ibis Hotel because it was close to everything and was at a good price.

Gap was everything we hoped for; small yet large enough to provide most of what you need and of course, very beautiful. Motorbike parking was free so we were told to ride around the corner and park underneath the hotel, in a locked and secured car parking spot that they charged cars 6 Euro per day for. Since we took up a whole spot we couldn’t figure out why we got it for free and cars had to pay. But we didn’t care.

We walked around town and then found the market place filled with people sunning themselves and drinking beer and wine. What a fine idea! We sat down, ordered a tall beer each and watched the world go by. We then had a delicious steak meal, served by a waiter who was very friendly, having worked with Australians in Kosovo and learnt his English from them.
Tomorrow we decided to ride Route 85 known as 'Route Napoleon’ as it is the road Napoleon took to Paris for his failed 100 days return from exile.  
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Chris on

I had to laugh at the toll gate incident. The visual picture I had was very funny and the departure more so. Just await the ticket. Should be here when you get back! Friends coming back from Italy got one three months after they returned for driving on a road at the wrong time of day! Beware!

Sandra on

Mmmm, not sure on the toll evasion thing - we always paid but I guess you'll find out eventually! Loving these cafe shots.

Christopher on

Maybe like many of our NSW speed cameras they often only work in one direction



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