|We were expecting the run from Rodez to be easy and very pretty all the way to our stopover in Vichy but hadn't counted on a stuffed tyre at the get-go.
Davy was 'gently' reminded that he had swiped a corner gutter while parking the night before and this was the probable cause of the tyre dilemma. Dah !!!
We had the spare fitted in a matter of minutes and were back on the road and looking for a tyre shop.
Some 200kms later we finally found one that was open. After at least 30 minutes spent explaining and showing the problem to one, then three, tyre men we finally got the 'thumbs up' and directed into a workshop bay.
Things looked good for a moment until we were told they did not have a tyre in stock.
No way!....you must be kidding, this was a big operation.
As we left we understood the real problem. The gates and shutters were closing …. it was 12 midday and everything shuts for a two hour lunch break. Thank you very much!
Another 80 kms later and we found another tyre shop who had us back on the road in 20 minutes.
The difference in attitudes and efficiency was amazing.
Compared to all this excitement the rest of the drive was simply brilliant on fabulous roads that meandered through beautiful farmland and spectacular snow capped mountains.
Just the way we liked it but would have been even better on bikes.
It was interesting that we found no trace of Vichy's WWII collaboration with Nazi Germany, no museums, literature, nothing which was disappointing as we were eager to better understand that terrible period in French history.
The town itself was very interesting to walk around with its many parks and spa centres. The Napoleon III park, the bandstand and 'horseshoe' covered gallery were all great features and very unique.
Vichy was our last stopover location before our Paris departure and was where Gilli performed her magic with washing, sorting and re-packing everything in readiness for the temperature change we would encounter in India.