As we are in the middle of our long flight home, we can’t help but reflect on what a wonderful vacation we’ve had. The eight hour flight from Amsterdam to Philadelphia, followed by the five hour flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix are grueling, but they are a small price to pay for the wonderful experiences we had at this year’s Tour de France.
We finished our vacation in the fabulous city of Beaune, France. We visited this area two years ago when we followed our first Tour and the city continues to impress.
The medieval walls and turrets that surround the city conjure up images of ancient battles and wine-making monks. This time we had less than 24 hours in this special place but we made the most of it.
On our final night with our Custom Getaways friends, we enjoyed a fabulous five course French dinner at a Beaune restaurant. With great local Burgundy wine and fine cuisine, we recalled the highlights of our trip:
- The rainy time trial Prologue in Rotterdam, won by “Spartacus” Fabian Cancellara
- The up-close and personal back-stage access of the start of the race in Brussels
- Getting Lance Armstrong’s autograph and patting him on the back to wish him good luck on the Tour
- Riding the closed course during Stage 2
- Crossing the finish line by bicycle and then having our pictures taken on the podium, as if we were all the holders of the maillot jaune
- Viewing the race from the Izoard VIP area while enjoying champagne after a sprint finish
- Riding 100s of miles through the Dutch, Belgian, and French countryside, through polders, cobbles, and vineyards
- Spending time with new friends from across the globe—Australia, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, Greece, USA, and France to be exact
- Being led by a great group of cyclists and tour leaders: Sandra, Erik, Thomas, Nico, Giles, and our driver Adrian
Custom Getaways allowed us to see the Tour from a perspective that few will ever experience. They executed the plan with precision and flexibility and were attentive to our needs. They adapted to our varying levels of cycling experience and worked to make sure that everyone got what they needed whether it was a short ride, long ride, no ride, vegetarian meals, or medical attention.
All great trips must come to an end. Our end started yesterday when Adrian dropped us at the TGV station in Le Creusot, France. A transfer on the Paris metro and another train to Amsterdam marked the end of our European journey. It certainly will not be our last. For now though, we will continue to follow the Tour daily on the US broadcast from Versus. We will read the blogs and Facebook posts from our cycling friends and wish that we could be there for the Tour conclusion in Paris. Viva Le Tour!