To Ambialet - You lead me away from home, just to save you from touring alone - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2022

To Ambialet

It was  a slightly overcast morning and a bit cooler than previous mornings. We have planned an 08:30 breakfast as our ride will be a bit longer today and we thought maybe we would get  an earlier start. 

At breakfast, we were surprised to find that we were the only guests in the hotel last night. Breakfast was great with the usual cheese, ham, lots of fruit, yogurt and bread. The bonus was a delicious espresso. In fact, so good that Scott had two.

With no other guests, our bikes received the royal dining room treatment.
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Scott AndersonYou really can’t beat traveling in the off season.
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2 weeks ago
A wonderful espresso to start the day.
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Our very sweet and kind host at Chambres d'hôtes l'Escuelle des Chevaliers.
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Even with our best intentions we still could not get rolling before 10:30.  There was really no rush as the day was still warming up and we needed our  vests at the start to stay warm. After all, it was all downhill from here! At the bottom of the hill, we turned right and began to follow the D600. It is a separated  two lane road that is built for substantial traffic but today there were very few cars on it. The scenery was also limited so no picture taking to slow us down until we got closer to Albi. On the positive side the asphalt was smooth and fast which helped with the large uphill we encountered right  after leaving Cords sur ceil. The downhills were great fun too, hitting speeds upward of 50 KM per hour on the smooth surface.

One picture from the D600 looking out over the surrounding farmland.
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Also at another brief stop we saw this great rosemary bush. We are a bit sad as ours at home did not survive the winter.
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Heading down the steep hill into Albi we stopped part way down to get a picture of the massive church in Albi and this view looking back uphill.
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In the distance you can just make out Church of Saint Salvi in the city of Albi that has history dating back to the the 11th century.
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We soon arrived at the Tarn River and the bridge that would take us to Albi. Having stayed here previously, we went across the bridge for the magnificent sights and our daily coffee stop.  After coffee, we  retraced our route back across the bridge and began to head east. After some slight routing miscalculations we found our ourselves riding along the Tarn and through a number of small communities on the north side of the river.

We have arrived! This is on the bridge to Albi.
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Looking toward Albi with the Tarn below.
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Great view of Church of Saint Salvi.
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Our coffee stop. The temperatures were starting to really warm up and thhis square was a great place to stop.
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My bird picture contribution. Not exactly a partridge in a pear tree but more like a pigeon in an olive tree. But I am not so sure it is a pigeon. Let me get very close before flying off.
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Bill ShaneyfeltClosely related to a pigeon, it is a stock dove, one of 6 pigeons and doves found in France.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_dove
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2 weeks ago

The road  toward Ambialet became a very nice ride along the much smaller D70. We were met with a fairly abrupt steep incline of 13 degrees, according to Garmin, that moved us away from the river and up to the hills. Near the top of the incline, the road  split where the D70 continued along the hillside with a bit more of an incline. A second road went  down toward the river on a  single lane paved road.  A bit of a curious choice as there we two Véloroute signs. The Véloroute C6 sign indicated continue up the hill and the Véloroute de la Vallée du Tarn pointed down to the river but the directional arrow had been spray painted over to indicate also stay on the higher road. A bit  confused we stood there on the road reading all the available directional signs  when a car whizzed passed Scott without  so much as slowing down. Kind of strange driving behaviour we thought at the time. But a couple of cyclists took the road down toward the river and Scott had planned the route on his Garmin that way, so we choose the low road. We were glad that we did but we encountered a few situations that made us wonder if the locals wanted the bikes down on their narrow blind corner road. It would certainly require drivers to be much more cautious.

This is the is the divide road. It is really nice cycling and we are about to begin a sharp incline going inland away from the river.
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At the top of the hill looking down on the Tarn River.
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Véloroute de la Vallée du Tarn sign. To us, it appears that some vegetation was entwined around the sign to obscure it. And then again, maybe it is just a conspiracy theory!
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The riding the lower road by the Tarn was lovely but watch out for the possibility of a car approaching from the other direction.
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Some of the Véloroute signage. These are very handy.
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Very rural along this part of the Tarn.
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Who could resist a cow pic?
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Arriving in Ambialet we noticed that it is a Petites Cités de Caractère. These towns take upon themselves the task of maintaining, restoring, safeguarding and publicizing that heritage.
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The  area where Ambialet is located is a result of a Tarn meandev. The river bend is 3 km long creating a peninsula  on which the village is built, thus uniting the upper and lower courses in an isthmus of only thirty metres.

This picture is from the internet. It helps understand the unique geography of Ambialet. That narrow piece of ground in the foreground is where the small village and a hydro project reside.
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The bridge that takes you to Ambialet.
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A local group of roadies that came down the hill on the highway where the Véloroute de la Vallée du Tarn intersected very near Ambialet. The front two where moving at a pretty good clip but we caught up to them in the bar.
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Along the Tarn in Ambialet.
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The hydro electric station also serves as a crossing of the Tarn when the water levels permit.
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Water height markers over the years. The highest level is 1930 and the lowest 2014.
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More Tarn pictures. The church at the top of the hill offers amazing views but we just do not have the energy for the climb.
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Our bikes were stored here for the night.
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We  stayed in the only hotel in Ambialet which was just on the other side of the bridge. After enjoying an afternoon beer in the sun we backtracked to the Logis Hotel Restaurant du Pont. This was a convenient place to stay as it also hosted the only restaurant in town! We were not expecting too much from the restaurant but ordered a lamb plate and a vegetable  plate to share. They were both fantastic dishes. The lamb was local and was some the best we have had. We finished  another great day of touring and made our way back to our room to call it day.

So many flavours with these veggies! Yum!!
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More than enough lamb to share!
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Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 101 km (63 miles)

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