Monday, 9 May 2011

France - Carnac

29th April, 102km, Genner - Les Touches

The wind rolls off the Loire chilling our bones. Reluctantly we pack our things. Porridge and coffee gives the required energy to get moving, and once we do, the riding is great. Quiet roads with lots of wildlife – I ask for little more.

A fine view to wake up to
We stop to re supply at a supermarket. Somehow considerable time passes. The area selling TV's is playing the royal wedding - it doesn't hold my interest for long.

In the town of Chalonnes we hit the bin jackpot. I know - I said I wouldn't mention it! But Richard pulls out a bag containing more bakery goods than we know what to do with. We load up my bike with €50 worth of fodder and roll out of town. Once we come across a suitable place we take stock of our goods.

Bin Jackpot!!
Some hard riding takes us over the ton for the first time in while. I hadn't realised until now but I'd be slaking for quite some time on the riding front. Riding at a higher rate pushes me into my cardio zone – it feels great to get the lungs pumping once more.

Lunch overlooking the planes of Northern France

For a change our campsite is not so picturesque. A small park on the outskirts of town supplies us with all we need – some reasonably flat ground. We even have the luxury of a picnic bench.

30th April,105km, Les Touches - La Vraie Croix

Pastries make up the majority of our breakfast. For 11'sis we fire up the stove for coffee - and of course more pastries.

Yesterdays revelation of riding harder hasn't faded and I push the pedals harder up each hill working my lungs more each time. The hard work pays off as I pass the 10,000km (6000mile) mark.

The Magic Number.
Thunderstorms in the afternoon. My mood darkens as the rain begins to fall. But as the pattern seems to go - once wet through I'm as happy as a pig in shit. The skies clear and allow us a great sunny evening ride.

We set up camp in a field of grass shoots. Well timed storms roll in just as we jump into the tents. The patter of rain and the flicker of lightning is the perfect send off - natures lullaby.

1st May, 69km, La Vraie Croix - Carnac 

I wake up to a puddle in my tent. Definitely one of my cheaper buys that is not going to stand the test of time. Still £60 for ten months – comes in a long way shy of a mortgage.

Our mornings ride gets off to a fine start and the kilometers begin to tick away. After the customary supermarket bins stops we arrive in the town of Vannes. The town itself is partly set behind castle Walls and very pretty. We a drawn to the dock area where we take a break and enjoy the photo exhibition that is being displayed there - ocean theme.

On the way out of town we bump into Catherine. She gives us some directions but then offers us lunch - Richard and I require little encouragement. As a fellow cycle tourist we talk about our trips etc while munching on homemade quiche. We also sink some local beer and talk about the French political situation.

Eventually we leave after a very enjoyable few hours. Thanks Catherine. I had honestly though I'd seen the last of random acts of hospitality on this trip.

Back on the road the midday showers have eased revealing blue skies. Our destination for the day is Carnac - a town famous for it's Neolithic ruins. While riding I notice my bike behaving strangely - after such and extended period one developes an enhanced sensitivity to such things. Much like a martial artists weapon becomes an extension of himself. Yes - I just compared bike touring to martial arts. Anyway. My trailer has given up - the bottom half completely shearing away. I prey that the two cable ties will hold out until we find a suitable stopping point. Once in Carnac we do find just the place - the beach and my first views of the Atlantic in a long time. As I fix the bike I dig my toes into the sand, look out over the rolling waves, and allow myself a small and secret "yey, I made it" moment.

Bike sorted we go to check out the old stones. And great they are too. While drying my soaked tent I meet Max(germany) and Danny(Spain) - two backpackers touring western France. We get on great and the nights camping duo becomes a four. Great evening of food sharing, whiskey drinking, fires, guitars and laughs.

1 comment:

  1. Yea, that was a great night! But one of you douchebags stole my towel... or at least it disappeared after you left... hmm suspicous ;)

    So I have to get as soon as possible to England!

    À bientôt and a good rest of your travel,