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The theme for this year's road trip was "Places where artists lived and worked". In the end , we saw more buildings and other stuff than actual art, but it was a cool trip anyway ... apart from one incident, but I'll come to that.

We started 3 weeks ago in Rouen, northern France. The old town's great to stroll through and a visit to the cathedral is more or less obligatory.






Next stop was Giverny, to Monet's garden.

Here's the bridge he painted loads of times (possibly literally):-



And this is where his famous water lilies lived:-

 

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On to Chartres.
The cathedral dominates the landscape for miles. I think I read somewhere that you respectful Americans did your damnedest to avoid shelling it in 1944.



Inside is as impressive as out:




The city was also home to Raymond Isidore, who collected broken glass and ceramics and decorated his home with it, painstakingly telling the story of his homeland in mosaic.



It's a real work of art and less eccentric than you'd think, even if he couldn't stop once he got indoors:

 

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We continued south to the Loire.
Amboise is a pretty riverside town with a chateau and an ancient centre.






Just outside the town is Leonardo da Vinci's manor, Clos Lucé. We didn't feel the house and exhibits gave much of a feel for the man, but at least they'd built some of his inventions.




The paddle boat looked like a workable design ...



... but the hang glider didn't.

 

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The next day saw us in Bourges.




From there, it was on to the Auvergne:



This antique steerable sled was outside a small skiing museum. The proprietor said he'd never actually skied.




Next stop, Le Puy en Velay, the city known for its volcanic plugs.




Heading south again, we picked a bendy road through the Cevennes.




Our target was the railway viaduct in Chamborigaud.




And then an aqueduct. This Roman structure at Pont du Gard is in fabulous condition.

 

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Nice adventure Sailor - I got my first trip to Alicante Spain this last week, 'twas memorable!
A great part of Spain, especially inland on the higher ground. Tell us more!

Awesome pics.
Thank you.

Our next port of call used to be an actual port. Aigues Mortes is a small, walled town on the edge of the Camargue. I think it predates the Romans.






And then we went off to find the wild horses in the Rhone delta itself. The first ones we came across shared a ferry we were on ...



... and then the real ones appeared.

 

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We moved on to Arles, famous for Van Gogh and Gauguin, but also for the Romans (again). Part of this wall is 2000 years old, although I'm pretty sure the aircon unit isn't:



After a visit to Cezanne's studio in Aix en Provence, we set off for the Verdon Gorge. One of the roads runs alongside a 2000+ ft drop.




The timber barriers at a pass later on might have been stout enough: we didn't test them.

 

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We were in another old, walled city by the evening. Vence, this time.




Our goal was the simple, elegant chapel designed by Matisse.





We were now about as far from home as we would get, so started to head north into the Alpes Maritimes.




Some of the roads had good sight lines and made for fun driving:




Others passed through some more gorges ...






or took us over Europe's highest paved road.

 

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It's been a dreary couple of days and I was cheering myself up reliving our recent trip when I realised that I never finished this story ...

We came off the high pass, stayed the night in a nice little mountain town and set off early-ish to look over this lake before heading for the heights again.




It was on the Col d'Izoard that the engine overheated. (I'm now convinced it was running lean due to rubbish petrol.)




Once cooled, the car's been fine. Only the humans needed to stop. These are probably France's highest public toilets:




After Izoard came Briancon:






And after that,
glaciers,



another col,




and things to do with straw.

 

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Those straw structures are pretty interesting.
It was some sort of international competition. Some of the sculptures were fairly abstract, but most were figurative in some way. The couple holding hands are at about 2:1 scale.


Amazing landscape. I can imagine that photo's probably don't do them justice.
You're right. A point-and-squirt camera or a phone is no substitute for breathing in air at altitude and taking in a 360 deg view.


We moved on via a lakeside abbey and then a known vantage point, the Vue des Alpes. It was too hazy to get a good picture, so I went to look at this car instead (answers on a postcard, please):




It stayed hazy for the trip over the Col du Chasseral, much loved by cyclists who think they're in the Tour de France:




Here's a clearer pic. This time of a typical scene in western Switzerland.




We ended the day in Germany. The haze had turned to darkness.

 

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It was a shame to have to leave the mountains behind as we headed north. There were compensations, though. The Black Forest is always worth a visit, for example, and further up, Burg Hohenzollern is a great castle that's still used by the family:






This little feller baffled us. Its jaw moved as if chewing the cud, but its legs, haunches etc remained stationary all the time we watched it. Animatronic? We couldn't be sure.




We carried on. Hotels in the village we were aiming for were all full up, so we ended at the partly-walled little town of Eberbach.

There were a couple of interesting cars,





as well as the Neckar river.

 

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Heidelberg is a world class city destination with masses of history.






But the place made us cross. It was too busy and even the signs for car parks confused us, so we set off for an even older place.

In Trier, we found ourselves in a street that terminated in a pedestrian zone. I reversed to a spot where two garages with drop-down kerbs allowed space for one of those stupid tourist road trains. There was enough road width for it to pass, so we waited. Stationary. Absolutely stationary.





We did not see much of Trier either after that!


The next day was going to be one of our annual Nurburgring days. Naturally, with bodywork damage, I was not going to be allowed on the circuit. Perhaps I should have looked harder for duct tape in the correct green ...




Still, my son and his mates were ready for their own laps:-




That was it. A quick couple of days further north to visit family, and then we went home.
 

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Yep. The train thing would probably not have been going faster than walking pace. The dashcam shows that it didn't move the car sideways an inch.

As to the parts, the front is apparently US spec (Acura). The plastic nose can probably be repaired. The headlight is the issue. Its part number is 1 digit different from the UK version and will cost over $300 by the time it's got to me, whereas I can get a second-hand UK one for less than a third of that. I don't know if it will fit, though.

I'm trying a different tack. The idea is to buy a used UK front and headlights and try to fit them.

We'll see.
 

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That looks like it would've been the slowest, dumbest collision in history. Like when in Austin Powers the dude is screaming for the steam roller to stop... For like a minute, haha.
Lmao! (Guy standing 1KM away from steamroller): NOOOAAAAAAHAHHHHHOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHHAAA




Damn, that freaking sucks! Not only did the wreck happen quite away's from home, your Nurburgring run was messed up!

Hopefully you were able to get some kind of compensation from that road train people carrier device that looks like it should be in some kind of mall lol.

I'm sure you were covered by insurance (road train's or yours) for that type of thing. Either way, I'm sure you've got it handled! It just erks me to see such a nice car get damaged in such an odd random way lol!

The rest of the trip looks spectacular! Hopefully you still had fun after wreck of the century!
 

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My insurance company says it could take up to 6 months to sort out a claim in another EU country ... and we won't be in the EU by the time that's up!
Also, they think the whole thing with this car is too difficult and want to call it a total loss (ie: uneconomical to repair). There was a DB9 for sale in Japan recently for the Yen equivalent of $15,000, and even though it looks much better than mine, I cannot accept the insurer's judgement. So I have asked them to pay me off AND let me keep the car. They seem OK with this: it's now about how much they'll give me to go away.

Meanwhile, I've bought a UK spec nose cone off ebay for the princely sum of $75. I'll check it fits on Monday and decide then what's next.
 

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Lmao! (Guy standing 1KM away from steamroller): NOOOAAAAAAHAHHHHHOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHHAAA

Haha, that's exactly it.


Also, they think the whole thing with this car is too difficult and want to call it a total loss (ie: uneconomical to repair). There was a DB9 for sale in Japan recently for the Yen equivalent of $15,000, and even though it looks much better than mine, I cannot accept the insurer's judgement. So I have asked them to pay me off AND let me keep the car. They seem OK with this: it's now about how much they'll give me to go away.

Meanwhile, I've bought a UK spec nose cone off ebay for the princely sum of $75. I'll check it fits on Monday and decide then what's next.
That's such a shame, we have an 'enthusiast' insurance company in Australia for basically cars like this that're a bit more unique, it's surprisingly well priced too.

Careful if you opt for the payout and keep the car, some insurance companies wont offer you comprehensive/any insurance after that.

My insurance company says it could take up to 6 months to sort out a claim in another EU country ... and we won't be in the EU by the time that's up!
Moving to oz? :yes:
 

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