Monday, 23 August 2010

More Travel Wardrobe, St Girons

Just to put a bit of sewing/clothing talk back in my blog, here is the travel wardrobe, minus underpinnings, swimming costume, cycling clothes, the raincoat and a few scarves.
I have posted about most of the items previously.
Top layers
Casual cardigan
Cardigan jacket/bolero
Lace wrap (purchased)
Crochet short sleeved cardigan (rayon/cotton, purchased)
2 wicking poly t shirts (purchased specifically for trip)
1 fine wool jersey tank
1 woven cotton short sleeved blouse
1 merino jersey long sleeved t shirt
1 rayon knit t shirt
1 quick dry nylon skirt (purchased, radically altered)
2 quick dry nylon trousers (purchased, radically altered)
Silk jersey long sleeved
cut on cap sleeved wicking polyester
Cotton batiste,sleeveless (purchased, radically altered)

I have a lot more clothes than we packed for my husband, but they took up about the same amount of space - all of the tops and the two short sleeved cardigans fit into one A4 sized zip lock bag, and the dresses and bottoms into another.

With the last travel post, we were about to leave Camon. At this point I had been travelling for a week, and had worn (and washed) every item above, except the raincoat, long sleeved top and one of the pair of trousers.
I did think at this point that I could have managed with fewer clothes.

The most worn and practical clothes were the skirt, cotton blouse, and batiste sundress.
These were the only items (other than my silk scarves) that were completely dry overnight after being handwashed, then wrung out in a towel. (12 hours or less to dry) (Later I found that the merino long sleeved top was equally quick to dry). I had tested all the clothes at home, but this test proved unreliable in Europe, with the clothes slower to dry, although the weather was reasonably warm.

I had included the batiste dress at the last minute after a completely unrelated search turned up a post by the Slapdash Sewist describing how useful she had found a batiste dress for travel (sorry, I have lost the post). I read Trena's blog all the time, but had somehow not picked up ealier that she is an expert at travel packing. I guess she does not boast enough!

The poly t shirts, poly dress,silk jersey dress, wool jersey tank and nylon trousers took 24 hours to dry
The rayon knit t shirt took about 30 hours to dry.

I think the relative speediness of my clothes drying compared to my husband's (similar fabrics) was due to my clothes being smaller, having less robust facings (deliberate construction choice) and also my more attentive wringing and hanging techniques :).

I was least satisfied with the wicking poly clothing. Although I felt quite comfortable wearing the polyester clothes whilst on the plane and in Paris, all of the poly clothing felt too hot to me during the middle of the day in the south of France. I found the natural fibres more comfortable, and not really any slower to dry or requiring more care.
I was pleased to have included the cardigans, as these completely changed the outfits, giving me more variety, and I needed the warmth in the evening and early morning.
I had not come across an iron yet. This was not really an issue. The woven clothing did not look particularly wrinkly when it came off the drying coat hanger, and packing wrinkles steamed out nicely by hanging the clothes in the bathroom whilst taking a shower. However, my printed cotton wovens looked far less wrinkled than my husband's plain and fine striped business shirts. These would have looked much better ironed, but fortunately, the shirts had been packed well ironed for the meetings early in the trip, and after this, he disguised the wrinkles by wearing his pullover for more official occasions.

Back to the tour
We left Camon in the early morning, driving to Palmiers to see the stage start. The technical discussion in the car and whilst waiting was all about nutrition and hydration - pros, training, racing, and the differences for recreational athletes. Whilst this was all very interesting I also found it quite amusing, as most of the riders in the group had skipped lunch for the last few days - we were supposed to find our own lunches, but as we were riding on back roads (no shops) and arriving at towns very close in time to the tour, all the food shops had been closed. I guess the shopkeepers all wanted to watch the tour as it passed through their towns.
Palmiers was our first chance to buy food since Tolouse. We had arrived very early to avoid the road closures, so were able to stock up with cherries, cheese and bread for lunch, Yum.
We munched away whilst enjoying the pre stage activity.



Eventually, the stage starts. We are very close to the riders, and can identify individuals, but even only a a few hundred metres from the start, they are very fast.


It is now our turn to ride. We get changed in the van again (long dress a great advantage IMO) and set off for our 90km trip to the next hotel. It is quite hot, around 36 degrees C. I would never choose to start a ride in the early afternoon in summer at home, but I am not in charge, and as Uta commented on my last post, if you really don't want to go out in the sun, travelling to the south of France in summer is not a good idea. I am pleased to have found 50+UV sunscreen in Palmiers (yes, it is baby sunscreen!)

The countryside is beautiful, the road is quiet, and a nice mix of hills and flats. I am keeping up nicely with the fit blokes, but after whizzing past dozens of picture perfect scenes decide that I have no desire to thrash myself, and start stopping for photos.



After this wonderfully cool tunnel, through the natural cave and full of stalagmites, there is a picnic area with an ice cream stand.
Cassis sorbet is delicious (blackcurrant).
I am joined by all the following riders, and only just restrain myself from trying another flavour.

Eventually, (at 90k) the decadent riding group arrive at St Girons.
The fit blokes have added on a loop up the Col d'Aspet.
The decadent riding group have a swim instead. The pool is the best bit about the hotel.
We are staying here

It is a bit of a comedown after Camon. I know the room is clean, as there is an overpowering reek of industrial disinfectant. This is better after 3 hours with the window open.

The fit blokes (including my husband) arrive back in an exhausted state. The dinner is very plain, but large, and although there is no deviation from the set menu for the vegetarian, (vegetarian = leave the meat off the plate), one of the courses is pasta with tomato sauce, so he does not starve. (He eats my pasta too). Later in the evening great inroads are made into the almond biscuits we brought from home.
There will be plenty of room in this bag for fabric......


BetsyV said...

I know it's a bit late for this tip, but did you hang your (and his) clothes inside out? I find they dry a bit faster if the facings are outside.

My DH doesn't like many of his clothes to go through the dryer ...

RuthieK said...

Your poor hubby and the food. A vegetarian work colleague worked in France for 6 weeks one year and had a difficult time with finding suitable things to eat. The icream sounds yummy.
Love your travel wardrobe. Its nicely co-ordinated without being ultra matchy. I think you did a great job there.

Katharina said...

Wow, this is a really nice wardrobe, however i think its a lot of stuff for travelling. I usually go with about the half.
like the cardigans.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I'm not an expert, but I'm glad you found the batiste dress suggestion. I was amazed at how quickly it dried. I have finally booked my ticket to Turkey and am daydreaming about my wardrobe already!

I can't get over that 90k (over hills!) is a "leisurely" ride that you could start in the afternoon and finish before dark. I bow down.

Sharon said...

Wow your wardrobe is amazing and would have been so versatile.

I am so enjoying all of your posts, thank you so much for sharing.