Friday, 1 July 2011

Cardless and phoneless . . . and in France

The trip to Nice was blighted a little when I stopped for petrol; neither my Visa card nor my phone were working any longer. Normally, I'd have little problem about asking someone to use their phone for a few minutes if I needed to. But have you ever tried asking someone if you can use their mobile to make an international call? Quite. And as for public phones . . .  what public phones? They seem to have fallen into disuse over here. And those that can be found either require a credit card (ouch!) or only support emergency calls.

I checked my wallet - 200 euros. This could just about get me back to England if I was very careful. Sadly, I decided to skip the Nice stop and ride on to my next planned stopover at the Col de Cabre further north up in the Rhone-Alpes. Mistakenly, I took the long way round on this trip and ended up with riding 150 km on narrow mountains roads. The scenery was spectacular but the riding called for serious concentration over several hours. I was quite exhausted when at last I arrived at the refuge.

I'd not stayed in a refuge before. It proved to be very basic indeed but to be fair there were shower facilities and everything needed for sanitation. However, the dormitories were crammed with beds only about 18 inches apart. Fortunately, I was the only resident in the whole refuge, so I'd the dormitory to myself! I slept well that night.

The lady of the house let me use her phone to call Marilena and who promised to contact the bank in England about the card. Hopefully, things will be sorted soon.


  1. John - caught up on your travels and stories today after a hectic week here full of Exam Board stuff. (You were mentioned in dispatches by your friendly Ex. Ex.). I hope your last 200 euros gets you home!
    Dreading the though I'm sure BUT when are you back here?

  2. Back home - with money in my pocket too!
    Just winding down. Somehow after being on the road for so long, I'm not in a hurry to get back to normal life.