Monday, 9 May 2011

France - The Final Leg

26th April, 86km, La Cellette - Migne
The beginning of the final leg of France. We spend the morning with our new friends. Between breakfast and cups of tea we pack up our things. With photos and goodbyes done we point our bikes North-West and start pedalling. Midday.

For a change we have no luck with supermarket bins and opt to pay for our lunch. Over the course of the afternoon the road gets progressively flatter. The quiet country lanes make for perfect cycling. My body feels well rested and very well fed. All is well in Jimmy world.

Hardly seems worth a mention!

By evening we make it to an area called the Brenne. Here hundreds of lakes are crammed into a small region. We disappear off down a side road and find a suitable camping spot. We get set up and eat next to an open fire. Frogs make a racket all night.

Camping in the Brenne

27th April, 86km, Migne - Noyant de Touraine

Back on the Vaseline - good times people!

I wake to the sound of frogs. I unzip my door to the world and a greeted by the misty lake. Aside from the frogs there is no other evidence of lastnights multispecies performance – the carp are no longer rising and the water snakes have wriggled away.

Once on the road we enjoy the views of the remainder of the Brenne. We stop for an early lunch and power nap in Preuilly sur Claise. Richard prefers to gorge himself and then nap it off and I take on his routine – in fair it's perhaps preferable to my gorge myself and then feel sick for the first hours riding.


Casualty of the day is my right pedal. I falls off at every opportunity and eventually wears my patience down. We stop in Descartes to get it sorted. While there we take a second lunch and check out the birthplace of the famous philosopher (“I cycletour, therefore I am”) - you know the one....

Our shadows begin to lengthen and so we peel off the main road and begin the camping
hunt. The first exploratory foray down a grassy lane comes up trumps. The last of the light is used to cook dinner. Bed once dark – back to our circadian rhythms.

28th April, 92km, Noyant de Touraine - Gennes

As usual Richard wins the race to get packed up – the old “wild poo” tends to set me back abit. We make our way along the banks of a tributary of the Loire. We take an early lunch on the banks of the river. It's shallow enough to go for a dip – though neither of us can muster the motivation. Our dustbin diving moves up a notch (though you may think 'down') from supermarkets to domestic bins. Thankfully people seem to make speedy exits from holiday homes and sling all remaining food – keep up the good work folks!

It's not long before we reach the Loire. By pure coincidence we join Euro Velo 6 – the long distance cycle route I used to cross Europe East. Begin to follow the signs as I did in Germany/Austria. Begin to get lost. Begin to get angry. I'm reminded of the early days when Mihailo and I would get pissed off at the wiggly routing of the cycle path – at which point one of us would bellow “FUCK THE PATH!!” - and we'd jump back onto the road. Richard and I managed to get ourselves onto restricted military land - smart move.

The road to nowhere - or in our case military property

In fairness if you can put up with the inefficiency you are rewarded with no traffic, better scenery and often very good camping opportunities. We jump back on the route in the evening for this very reason. Once on the banks of the Loire we roll out the gear and spark up a fire.

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