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velotel
03-06-2012, 11:06 AM
This could be fun, kind of like Campy versus Shimano, maybe generate all sorts of riled up comments, the olí which is better game, France versus Italy. Purely for riding of course. I say France. Note this comes from a guy who loves Italy, loves italian women (when theyíre young and havenít rounded out), loves italian food, language, culture, design, cities, cars, in fact most things italian in general, like the lifestyle. Wouldnít want to live there though and only want to ride there from time to time because life is better here in France and because the riding is vastly better here than there.
Some specifics: french secondary road conditions are exceptional. Pot holes here have the lifespan of a fruit fly. The only time I see any is at the end of a hard winter when the road crews just havenít had the time to fix them all. Italian secondary road conditions are disastrous, at least in my admittedly limited experience riding there.
France has something like 1,300,000 km or 800,000 miles of paved secondary roads. And I do mean secondary. As in small, lightly used, never straight, never flat, or at least hardly ever straight or flat. I donít know how many Italy has but itís not even on the same planet with France in that. On the other hand Italy has an enormous quantity of excellent dirt roads, roads that in France would have been paved as soon as Caesar left.
French road signage is excellent. With a good map you have to work to be lost here. Italian road signage is part divination, part blind luck.
French maps are excellent, as good as any in the world. Italian maps are in general too large a scale and in my experience oft times a bit iffy in the accuracy department. There are exceptions there.
French drivers are vastly more respectful of cyclists than italian drivers. Note that Iím not saying french drivers are better than their cousins to the east, they just give cyclists more space. Italian drivers seem to consider a handís width more than ample margin. Again this is purely from one personís experience, mine. Italian drivers are insanely aggressive drivers who all seem to be hell bent on being discovered by Ferrari and hate having anything block their advance, be it another car, a cyclist, or one of those particularly primitive forms of movement, a pedestrian. French drivers all seem to think theyíre champion rally drivers no matter how slow they may be driving and that every curve needs to be cut whether they can see or not. But they still give cyclists wide berth most of the time.
France is an amazingly cycling oriented culture. Iím speaking here of sport cycling as opposed to transportation cycling. On any given day I am always impressed by how many cyclists Iíll see on the roads. Italy is a fully charged, maximum gungho car culture. Sports cyclists are not nearly as important a percentage of the population as in France. The only import there relates to the driver/rider interface.
France has the worldís finest rider security system. In every village it is all but guaranteed youíll find a bakery, cafe, bar, or restaurant where you can stock up on fuel. Forget hauling around power bars; just pull into the nearest bakery. French bakeries are also excellent. Finding bakeries in Italy is iffy and generally theyíre not nearly at the same quality level as french bakeries.
On the other hand, italian food in restaurants is for me the best. Probably because I love italian food. For those not so fond of italian food, France is excellent. Also has lots of very good italian restaurants. Finding salads in Italy can be iffy. Weíre talking a country that can serve up a plate of cold cuts and call it a salad. If you donít like salads, no problem in Italy; they donít either. Pizzas in Italy are the best. Period. Italy is also generally considerably less expensive for eating than France. Never figured out why.
Italian cities are wonderful, way more enjoyable, entertaining, and beautiful than french cities. Cities are not where we go, or at least I go, riding.
French roads are way less crowded. Direct link with the quantity of roads available. Note here that my reference is most definitely northern Italy where every road seems to be packed with cars driven by drivers in a hurry. Every time I return to France from Italy, as soon as I cross the border itís like entering into a vast park of tranquility after northern Italy.
Okay, thatís enough for now. Over to you.

flydhest
03-06-2012, 11:44 AM
I will once again state that I dislike velotel based on nothing but pure envy and jealousy.

At least until I get to go for a ride with him where he lives.

Viper
03-06-2012, 11:50 AM
SoCal > France > Italy.

That said, NYC is where it's at. Had many great bike rides in CA, North and South. Sinatra never sang about France or Italy. :)


:beer:

verticaldoug
03-06-2012, 11:57 AM
Zidane was better than Baggio

christian
03-06-2012, 12:03 PM
France gave us the Renault 4L. Italy stuck us with the Fiat Panda.

jet sanchez
03-06-2012, 12:08 PM
I am going to be in Paris in April, can you recommend some routes for me?

robin3mj
03-06-2012, 12:09 PM
SoCal > France > Italy.

That said, NYC is where it's at. Had many great bike rides in CA, North and South. Sinatra never sang about France or Italy. :)


:beer:

April in Paris
I Love Paris
An Evening in Roma
etc etc etc

maxdog
03-06-2012, 12:14 PM
SoCal > France > Italy.

That said, NYC is where it's at. Had many great bike rides in CA, North and South. Sinatra never sang about France or Italy. :)


:beer:

I prefer the northern west coast, but yeah.

fiamme red
03-06-2012, 12:14 PM
April in Paris
I Love Paris
An Evening in Roma
etc etc etcAzure-Te (Paris Blues)

witcombusa
03-06-2012, 12:20 PM
They talk funny in both of those locations...I'll stick with Boulder County, CO or even Franklin County, MA :banana:

christian
03-06-2012, 12:30 PM
Hampshire Cty > Franklin Cty

Fewer tourists, more bacon.

witcombusa
03-06-2012, 12:36 PM
Hampshire Cty > Franklin Cty

Fewer tourists, more bacon.

Franklin is more rural as a whole, and it gets you into southern VT which is also good (midweek).

572cv
03-06-2012, 12:54 PM
As one of my riding buddies, who has ridden extensively in Italy and in France, said, when asked his preference: " I'd say seven days out of seven, I'd choose France."
Take a Michelin map, or use viamichelin.com, pick any area you like, look for a network of white roads, go there. No worries. Earlier in the season, I like to find an area up against the mountains or the massif, where there is a mix of climbs and flats. Later, anything goes.
And did you know that the French have been engineering roads to have even grades below 8% wherever possible since the 1800 's? They decided those old roman roads which went in straight lines over hill and dale were for the birds. The result, for cycling, is astounding.

Jaq
03-06-2012, 12:59 PM
France, obviously.

More good roads makes it easier to run away.


(badump bump)

witcombusa
03-06-2012, 01:01 PM
As one of my riding buddies, who has ridden extensively in Italy and in France, said, when asked his preference: " I'd say seven days out of seven, I'd choose France."
Take a Michelin map, or use viamichelin.com, pick any area you like, look for a network of white roads, go there. No worries. Earlier in the season, I like to find an area up against the mountains or the massif, where there is a mix of climbs and flats. Later, anything goes.
And did you know that the French have been engineering roads to have even grades below 8% wherever possible since the 1800 's? They decided those old roman roads which went in straight lines over hill and dale were for the birds. The result, for cycling, is astounding.

You live in VT and prefer hills under 8%? :confused:

I like the steep stuff, makes for better scenery

the bottle ride
03-06-2012, 01:12 PM
Allez les bleus!

From a bike culture view point I will take Italy- as long as I can eat in Northern Italy.

But as a place to visit and ride, France is head and shoulders above Italy- quiet roads exist even around busy towns.

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 01:19 PM
SoCal > France > Italy: funniest thing I've read this morning. Might as well have said Omaha > SoCal.

Excellent OP. One thing Italy does better than anywhere is developing world class motorsports talent. Yes, of course, it's exhibited on the roads too much.

Some French bakeries also have pork-product filled thingies, in case sugar/fat isn't enough fuel.

Italy wins on coffee, no doubt.

French secondary roads are indeed velvet and are relatively car-free.

merlinmurph
03-06-2012, 01:21 PM
Because you do a great job convincing me to ride there some day.
Never ridden in France. Got to do a 3-hour ride in Italy once a few years ago and it is definitely one of my favorite all-time bike rides of my life. That one ride convinced me I have to go back.

Thanks for all your posts.
Murph

mvrider
03-06-2012, 01:23 PM
I don't have first-hand experience, but I attended an informative seminar at REI last year about independent cycle touring in Europe. Here are the slides (http://www.slideshare.net/choonpiaw/independent-cycle-touring-in-europe).

My takeaways:
1. summer in the Alps is the off-season: cheaper lodging than during ski season
2. trails and train support in Germany and Switzerland are fantastic
3. switchbacks in Switzerland are flat
4. cars are required to give bikes a wide berth in France
5. high bicycle mortality rate (per km) in Italy (almost as high as in the U.S.)

572cv
03-06-2012, 01:27 PM
You live in VT and prefer hills under 8%? :confused:

I like the steep stuff, makes for better scenery

The steep stuff is fine going up :beer: Around here, there are climbs up to and over 20%, and is great getting up these every year. But I also like the elongated downhills, the seeming to never end runouts down from a col. The riding in France has different challenges and different subtleties. The riding in Vermont is wonderful in its own way, too. Its just different in the US in general.

Viper
03-06-2012, 01:33 PM
April in Paris
I Love Paris
An Evening in Roma
etc etc etc

Sinatra sang it, but he didn't really mean a word of it. Ella's or Billie Holiday's version was better. He sang the song, but what he was really thinking was:

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Vegas, Flamingo's in blossom
Poker tables under palm trees
April in Vegas, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Vegas, baby
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart

Whereas 'New York New York', written for Liza Minelli and stolen from Sinatra...was actually a vocal biography of Sinatra. :)

PS: Not a fan of Sinatra so much at all. But New York? Yes.

:beer:

gdw
03-06-2012, 01:34 PM
I'll take Southern Germany over the other two any day. Good folks, beautiful views, hearty food, and great beer. Oh yeah, they bath more than once a week too.

zap
03-06-2012, 01:40 PM
We will be of to Provence next month. If it gets warm enough to melt the snow at the top by April 24th, Mt Ventoux baby.......on the tandem.

This is all preliminary but our plan is to rent a villa in Tuscany next summer.

christian
03-06-2012, 01:50 PM
One thing Italy does better than anywhere is developing world class motorsports talent.
What? Alberto Ascari?

Jaq
03-06-2012, 01:58 PM
We will be of to Provence next month. If it gets warm enough to melt the snow at the top by April 24th, Mt Ventoux baby.......on the tandem.

This is all preliminary but our plan is to rent a villa in Tuscany next summer.

Oh, lordy. Post a ride report.

We're bundling our daughter off to spend the summer in Provence with friends. We might fly out to spend a few days and I was thinking about packing the bike.

When I mentioned it, my gorgeous, patient, and thoroughly understanding wife (why yes; she is standing behind me at the moment) gave me a look that would curdle milk on a moonless winter night, but I figure sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do when he's done begging and pleading and buying shiny things in small boxes.

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 01:59 PM
What? Alberto Ascari?

Wiki: "The crash occurred on the Curva di Vialone, one of the track's challenging high-speed corners. The corner where the accident happened, renamed in his honour, no longer exists, having been replaced with a chicane, the Variante Ascari."

Guys race, guys crash.

Anyway, one guy. That's all you got?

goonster
03-06-2012, 02:11 PM
Guys race, guys crash.


Ascari did not die in a race.

Anyway, one guy. That's all you got?

You said that "[o]ne thing Italy does better than anywhere is developing world class motorsports talent", which is quite a claim, considering that Italy doesn't even do this as well as, say, Finland.

Fixed
03-06-2012, 02:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCoi3wDyk9A

cheers :beer:

as an old guy in 79
i am a big lady day fan but ol blue eyes had a way too it is called timing .
cheers
imho

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:21 PM
You said that "[o]ne thing Italy does better than anywhere is developing world class motorsports talent", which is quite a claim, considering that Italy doesn't even do this as well as, say, Finland.

Ascari died going fast in a dangerous corner. Got anything else to add?

Ok, sure. Lots of Finns in F1 and MotoGP. Uh huh. Finns are great rally drivers no doubt and are probably the most dominant.

Motorcycle world championships alone:

Italy 75
France 5
Finland 1

Developing world class talent in motos, there is no question.

"Cranky" = polemical. Got it.

christian
03-06-2012, 02:25 PM
You said that "[o]ne thing Italy does better than anywhere is developing world class motorsports talent", which is quite a claim, considering that Italy doesn't even do this as well as, say, Finland.Yes, this was my point, perhaps too obliquely. Finland, Germany, France, the UK, and the US spring to mind as places which produce race car drivers.

christian
03-06-2012, 02:26 PM
Anyway, one guy. That's all you got?My point was that the last Italian F1 champion (admittedly a great driver) was in something like 1953.

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:30 PM
Yes, this was my point, perhaps too obliquely. Finland, Germany, France, the UK, and the US spring to mind as places which produce race car drivers.

Of course they produce high quality race car drivers. One country stands out historically though. If you have actual facts, please present them.

All countries are proud of their racers, but it's always been widely acknowledged Italy has the deepest tradition in motorsports. Not only in its drivers and pilots, but in its manufacturers and the way that culture is manifest on the roads, which was to the point of the OP anyway.

Any of you guys who are arguing this point drive in Italy much? It's exactly as the OP said - seems like every single person drives like mad.

christian
03-06-2012, 02:31 PM
Motorcycle world championships alone:

Italy 75
France 5
Finland 1

Developing world class talent in motos, there is no question.Sorry, but you're really reaching. Let's look at the top class in road racing, because well, 50GP and 125GP bikes will be dominated by Italians and Spaniards since they're the only ones racing...

In 500GP, it's something like 20 to Italy, 17 to UK, and 15 to the US. Still a clear indication that Italy is motorcycle-crazy and develops good riders.

But including anything less than 500GP is misleading; at that point, you should include motocross, which will make the US look dominant, or speedway, which will warm my little Swedish heart! :)

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:40 PM
Sorry, but you're really reaching. Let's look at the top class in road racing, because well, 50GP and 125GP bikes will be dominated by Italians and Spaniards since they're the only ones racing...

In 500GP, it's something like 20 to Italy, 17 to UK, and 15 to the US. Still a clear indication that Italy is motorcycle-crazy and develops good riders.

But including anything less than 500GP is misleading; at that point, you should include motocross, which will make the US look dominant, or speedway, which will warm my little Swedish heart! :)

Then you'd be debating supercross (bleck) vs. natural terrain riding, American vs. French, enduro, paris-dakar, blah blah.

Anyway, speedway and flat track are the most exciting left turn motor sports around, aside from roller derby. Ok, ready for the NASCAR pugilists.

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:42 PM
My point was that the last Italian F1 champion (admittedly a great driver) was in something like 1953.
One more thing.

Look at the Italian flags on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_driver_records

goonster
03-06-2012, 02:43 PM
Any of you guys who are arguing this point drive in Italy much?
Yes, I have driven in Italy.

It's exactly as the OP said - seems like every single person drives like mad.
Newsflash: there is a difference between driving like a jerk and being an actual motorsports aspirant.

Back on topic: much as I love Italy, France really is a much better place to ride overall.

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:51 PM
Yes, I have driven in Italy.


Newsflash: there is a difference between driving like a jerk and being an actual motorsports aspirant.

Back on topic: much as I love Italy, France really is a much better place to ride overall.

Yep. Look at the stats. Get back to me about the Finns. Oh, and use google.

You sure like to argue without facts.

goonster
03-06-2012, 02:53 PM
Look at the Italian flags on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_driver_records
There it is, at the top of "Most Races Without a Win." :hello:

Seriously, you are stretching if you think this proves your point for the era post '53.

christian
03-06-2012, 02:56 PM
Goon - Andrea de Cesaris has both most starts without a win (208) and most consecutive non-finishes (18, I think). So he must be the very best!

Actually, who is the best post-1950s Italian driver? Alex Zanardi?

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:57 PM
There it is, at the top of "Most Races Without a Win." :hello:

Seriously, you are stretching if you think this proves your point for the era post '53.


Seriously, you are stretching when you equate "most races without a win" with "nation that has an excellent track record of developing world class talent" and depth of motorsports culture.

Oh yeah, what about the Finns crankypants?

Viper
03-06-2012, 02:57 PM
Earnhardt > Any Italian F1 driver

#3 :beer:

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 02:59 PM
Earnhardt > Any Italian F1 driver

#3 :beer:

Petty is the original. beer clicky

Viper
03-06-2012, 03:04 PM
Petty is the original. beer clicky

You won't get an interweb argument outta me on that. :) Dale would've agreed with you, too.

Fixed
03-06-2012, 03:07 PM
i would like to ride in france but will be going to italy
cheers
mrs fixed wants to see Jacopo Carucci 's work

goonster
03-06-2012, 03:11 PM
Oh yeah, what about the Finns crankypants?
The Finns' reputation speaks for itself, but you might enjoy this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bmqdnx5R1U).

tannhauser
03-06-2012, 03:22 PM
The Finns' reputation speaks for itself, but you might enjoy this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bmqdnx5R1U).

Oh yeah, love that episode. "We're going very slow."

Hakkinen is practically falling asleep.

thinpin
03-06-2012, 03:42 PM
Remind me what this thread started out as.

Italy has it in the wine department for me, but by a short head only. That may be because the rest of the world aped french varieties and style in the main (so we are ore familiar with them) while italy's wines remained under the radar for a long time.
I have never ridden in either country, having hung up my wheels for 15 years or so, but I have climbed quite a lot in the alps of both regions. Could not pick a favourite there. I really enjoyed what both had to offer. If it came to living in either country for a while, I would take France, as velotel says, the road riding appears so much better.

Liv2RideHard
03-06-2012, 04:27 PM
Dolomiti. Having been all over Europe, the Dolomites...hands down. I have cycled in the Dolomiti and...words cannot describe the beauty....bella, bella, bella.

tsarpepe
03-06-2012, 04:42 PM
I'll take Southern Germany over the other two any day. Good folks, beautiful views, hearty food, and great beer. Oh yeah, they bath more than once a week too.

Comparing any food to Italian is a grotesque, but German potatoes and sausages?! Shoot me now!

tsarpepe
03-06-2012, 04:44 PM
i would like to ride in france but will be going to italy
cheers
mrs fixed wants to see Jacopo Carucci 's work

When are you going, Fixed? And where?

Fixed
03-06-2012, 04:58 PM
When are you going, Fixed? And where?
2013 Florence
cheers

oldpotatoe
03-06-2012, 05:56 PM
Allez les bleus!

From a bike culture view point I will take Italy- as long as I can eat in Northern Italy.

But as a place to visit and ride, France is head and shoulders above Italy- quiet roads exist even around busy towns.


I've ridden in lotsa places in Italy and France. The 2 most memorable were Lovorno to Pisa, everyday for a week(ship pulled into Lovorno) and Caan tp MonteCarlo, again for a week(ship in Caan). Late 80s also.

Both were fantastic, great roads, light traffic, beautiful weather BUT, and I am SURE it was because a big, gray, 1000 ft long aircraft carrier was 3 miles ouitside the window of the zillion franc apartments overlooking the bay plus coupla thousand sailors invading Caan, but to say we as the visiting military weren't treated very well(here and in Nice) is an understatement. Ignored in restaurants(no, we weren't eating at 5:30), overcharged, yelled at a couple of time(me in Nice, asking for a bottle of water at a little kiosk).

On the other hand, in Italy(and also in Palermo, Sicily, up the coast each morning) we were treated very well(big gray boat right off the coast in Lovorno AND Palermo) so I will be going back to Italy(Siena next spring), never France, apologies to Velotel.

tsarpepe
03-06-2012, 06:01 PM
2013 Florence
cheers

Oh well, I was thinking I may intercept you this year, while I am here.

Climb01742
03-06-2012, 06:09 PM
velotel, if i had met more people like you in france, perhaps i wouldn't prefer italy. the riding is gorgeous in both countries but based on personal experiences, italy has a more welcoming culture and populace. on the other hand, paris is my favorite city on earth and marseille has the world's best seafood. one could be hugely happy in either place.

jh_on_the_cape
03-06-2012, 07:51 PM
Zidane was better than Baggio
Zidane lost the world cup for France! nothing worse!

jh_on_the_cape
03-06-2012, 07:54 PM
France gave us the Renault 4L. Italy stuck us with the Fiat Panda.
Ferrari? Classic cinquecento (not the new ones)? Alfa Romeo?
And you like Le Car?

jh_on_the_cape
03-06-2012, 07:56 PM
Allez les bleus!

From a bike culture view point I will take Italy- as long as I can eat in Northern Italy.

But as a place to visit and ride, France is head and shoulders above Italy- quiet roads exist even around busy towns.

This sums it up perfectly.
Riding in northern Italy is excellent, though.

I have ridden both. I have lived in Italy. Married an Italian woman. Learned Italian. Italy is great - to visit. I could go on and on.

Side note: I had a few beers with tsarpepe in Rome in January!

Fixed
03-06-2012, 08:01 PM
Oh well, I was thinking I may intercept you this year, while I am here.
thanks
cheers :beer:

thinpin
03-06-2012, 08:46 PM
Both were fantastic, great roads, light traffic, beautiful weather BUT, and I am SURE it was because a big, gray, 1000 ft long aircraft carrier was 3 miles ouitside the window of the zillion franc apartments overlooking the bay plus coupla thousand sailors invading Caan, but to say we as the visiting military weren't treated very well(here and in Nice) is an understatement. Ignored in restaurants(no, we weren't eating at 5:30), overcharged, yelled at a couple of time(me in Nice, asking for a bottle of water at a little kiosk).

I believe its not so much a case of forgetting who helped them in WW2, but that they needed that help, was a massive blow to national pride that is still not healed. They have a funny relationship with the Brits too. I would always make a point of dropping in my Irish nationality when it looked like there was a touch of stand-offishness.

maxn
03-07-2012, 03:07 AM
[QUOTE=thinpin] a massive blow to national pride that is still not healed./QUOTE]
this makes sense to me.

and for what it's worth, I have heard stories like potatoe's from a few people, including my dad, who did a sabbatical in Paris >30 years ago. Actually, I had stories of my own, even though I was only 5 at the time (a*hole Parisian kids stealing my toys and burying them!). My advice is to give it another try. My first trip back here was made somewhat begrudgingly , but I have found people to be very welcoming and kind and I have had nothing but good experiences. Don't write off the country based on 30 year old experiences!

as for France vs Italy for riding? I defer to velotel who has more experience in both. For live/work though there is no question for me that France is the place to be, at least in my field.

tsarpepe
03-07-2012, 04:36 AM
Side note: I had a few beers with tsarpepe in Rome in January!

Too bad we couldn't do a repeat. Cheers, wherever you are, mate!

Nags&Ducs
03-07-2012, 05:16 AM
I'll take Southern Germany over the other two any day. Good folks, beautiful views, hearty food, and great beer. Oh yeah, they bath more than once a week too.

I hope so!!! We are moving there in the summer. What makes southern Germany so great?? I need to get the gouge from you!!

Have lived in Portland, OR for the past 3 years and still haven't done all the iconic ride here. Definitely plan to ride Larch Mt, Bald Peak and a few others before we leave.

I'm looking forward to Germany. Great central location to visit other great locales!!

Lionel
03-07-2012, 06:22 AM
SoCal > France > Italy.

That said, NYC is where it's at. Had many great bike rides in CA, North and South. Sinatra never sang about France or Italy. :)


:beer:
I'm sure you know "my way" is a remake of a french song :beer:

oldpotatoe
03-07-2012, 08:23 AM
[QUOTE=thinpin] a massive blow to national pride that is still not healed./QUOTE]
this makes sense to me.

and for what it's worth, I have heard stories like potatoe's from a few people, including my dad, who did a sabbatical in Paris >30 years ago. Actually, I had stories of my own, even though I was only 5 at the time (a*hole Parisian kids stealing my toys and burying them!). My advice is to give it another try. My first trip back here was made somewhat begrudgingly , but I have found people to be very welcoming and kind and I have had nothing but good experiences. Don't write off the country based on 30 year old experiences!



No thanks

PQJ
03-07-2012, 08:58 AM
Zidane lost the world cup for France! nothing worse!

He also won a world cup for France, and a European Championship. And he is one of the greatest players ever, in spite of the Materazzi incident. And you can't really say France lost because of Zidane. Baggio wasn't 1/10 of the player Zidane was. And Baggio had a mullett.

gdw
03-07-2012, 09:22 AM
"I hope so!!! We are moving there in the summer. What makes southern Germany so great?? I need to get the gouge from you!!"

The scenery is great, the people are polite, honest, and know how to drive, it's clean, the food is great, the beer is excellent, etc. I first went there in the late 80's after having made the mistake of visiting France. Germany was a refreshing change.

Where are you planning to live?

MadRocketSci
03-07-2012, 07:18 PM
which makes for better riding fuel? Beurre or first press EVOO?

SEABREEZE
03-07-2012, 08:32 PM
I like both for what each has to offer, the spice of life, if you will. Additioanally both are romance languages, need I say more. You cant always be in the saddle of a bike.

rustychisel
03-07-2012, 09:06 PM
Could have just closed the thread after velotel's first excellent post, I suppose.

France. Obviously.

I still recall coming out of Tunnel de Mont Blanc in 1990, looking down the brown smog filled valley into Italy from the French border post, and thinking 'The Italians have had 3000 years of civilisation to f**k up this country and haven't they spent that time productively?'

velotel
03-08-2012, 03:16 AM
On the other hand, in Italy(and also in Palermo, Sicily, up the coast each morning) we were treated very well(big gray boat right off the coast in Lovorno AND Palermo) so I will be going back to Italy(Siena next spring), never France, apologies to Velotel.
Damn, I was just thinking I should offer you a couple weeks of touring here in France, expenses paid. Got lucky there, I'm off the hook.

Rode around Sienna years ago. The town in the evenings was fabulous. All these gorgeous young women in wonderfully short skirts and all these gorgeous older women in more discreetly short skirts who had managed to totally avoid the italian fire plug round look and instead were just plain hot looking and they're all strolling the streets and plaza every evening. I know, you're used to that in Boulder but while admittedly the women in Boulder are good, italian women have a class and style that can make a man have wonderful dreams. Ah but I forgot, at your advanced age after a day on the bike you may not even notice that there are any women there!

Oh yea, the riding was fun too. Rolled on a lot of dirt roads even though on the map they were shown as paved. Rode to the village that looks like the Manhattan skyline from the distance; thought it looked better from the distance than up close. Good riding, ate well, drank well, enjoyed the views enormously (in town that is, those strolling viewlets all over the place), and left early to return to France and ride in the hills above, funny this considering your post, Nice and Monte Carlo. And immediately rediscovered why I love riding in France so much.

Service in french restaurants is notorious, even to the french. From time to time there are campaigns in the coast cities to try to change things around a bit. If they really want to change the attitude, let 'em earn their living off tips instead of off salaries. That would make an instant difference. Also have to add that the coast down there is the most italian part of France. But that said, the italians are a wonderfully gay people, terrific fun to be around, at least much of the time and as long as they're not behind the steering wheel of a car. Ironically the best method for peaceful driving in Italy (massive multi-word oxymoron there) is to drive a powerful car very, very fast. I came back across Italy from San Marino once in my Z, average speed something like 210 - 220. Passed some cops once; I'd coasted down to about 200 when I went by. The limit was 130. Other drivers seeing the car in their rear view mirror moved over fast. Unless they had a fast car too and then they were just as likely to pick up the pace for awhile until they'd start to slack off and slide right and away I'd go. Have to spend as much time looking in the rear view mirror in Italy as looking out the windshield. And forget looking at the views. Unless you're an italian who will probably have the pedal to the medal and the phone glued to the ear!

But to judge the french on your experience down there would be like someone judging all americans after visiting Houston. Or maybe in the boonies of Georgia. Or downtown New York, etc. The french are the french but not all french are french in the same manner. But it's true they are an arrogant people, which they readily admit. In so many respects the most americanized culture in Europe despite their frequent supposedly anti-american displays. But in my experience with the french, they all love the US, can't believe I prefer living here rather than in the states, and adore going there on holiday. And would you believe one of the aspects they love in the states is the terrific service and friendliness. Regardless, changes here arrive glacially, if at all.

oldpotatoe
03-08-2012, 08:38 AM
Damn, I was just thinking I should offer you a couple weeks of touring here in France, expenses paid. Got lucky there, I'm off the hook.

But it's true they are an arrogant people, which they readily admit. In so many respects the most americanized culture in Europe despite their frequent supposedly anti-american displays. But in my experience with the french, they all love the US, can't believe I prefer living here rather than in the states, and adore going there on holiday. And would you believe one of the aspects they love in the states is the terrific service and friendliness. Regardless, changes here arrive glacially, if at all.

Well, I think it was solely because we were in the military. So, if I do go to Europe, it'll be to Italy.

Fixed
03-08-2012, 08:55 AM
i bet they the french would love ol p.
just as we do
kindness is loved al-over and ol p.
is full of it ...


in a nice way
cheers :beer:

Viper
03-08-2012, 09:28 AM
I'm sure you know "my way" is a remake of a french song :beer:

My Way.

Originally written by God.
Plagiarized by Moses.
Handed down to the Israelites.
Lost within the sands of time.
Found by the Spartans.
Lost in War at Sellica.
An Irishman found the lyrics while drinking Guinness at Lacedaemonia.
The Irishman lost lyrics in a pub outside County Mayo.
Last century, Germans uncovered it during an Indiana Jones movie and Hitler sang the song throughout France.
The America GI's showed up, my Great Uncle Peter who landed in France in 1944 saw the lyrics, memorized them and brought them back to America.
While on vacation in Memphis, Uncle Peter, who lost an eye in France, told the story to a fellow GI, Elvis Preseley.

Thank you Great Uncle Peter.
And though I do not believe in God, I believe in Huey Lewis' Power of Love and hold faith in the mysteries of our origin, while concerned about our future.

goonster
03-08-2012, 10:05 AM
Service in french restaurants is notorious, even to the french.
+1

I once witnessed a Lyonnais family receive horrendously slow and indifferent service in Grasse. The pater familias responded by causing an indignant scene, storming off while refusing noisily to receive his meal, but not before the waiter humiliated the man by insisting on being paid for the order.

Europeans of all stripes truly cherish the "we'll make it right" commitment of most establishments in the U.S., even while making cracks about how they can afford to provide free refills cheerfully because the coffee is so weak. Vive la difference.

goonster
03-08-2012, 10:35 AM
Baggio wasn't 1/10 of the player Zidane was. And Baggio had a mullett.
It's true that Zidane belongs in a very special class, and they played in different positions, but Baggio was at least 90% of the player Zidane was. Like Zidane, a true class act throughout.

OK, he had a ponytail (not a mullett), but, unlike Zidane, at least he had hair!

MadRocketSci
03-08-2012, 11:19 AM
Well, I think it was solely because we were in the military. So, if I do go to Europe, it'll be to Italy.

<OT thread drift> I had a Margherita at Pizzeria Locale across the street from you. I may never have to go back to Naples again! </OT thread drift>

oldpotatoe
03-08-2012, 11:30 AM
<OT thread drift> I had a Margherita at Pizzeria Locale across the street from you. I may never have to go back to Naples again! </OT thread drift>

That place is very cool. Great Pizza and I've spent more than a few days(and nights) in Napoli.