Wednesday, 27 June 2007

still smiling

well I've been in France now for just about two weeks and so far it's been smiles and happiness abound. Even getting soaked to the skin whilst triking in a thunder storm failed to get me down.

I got to St. Malo on the 6th of June at around 10pm in the evening, with of course no hotel booked. Now being a walled city, space does tend to be at a premium so i wasn't able to find a hotel that could accommodate my trike. Started vaguely triking down this road across the harbour and after about 1000m came across a lovely little hotel on the corner of a square. Adding to its charm of having a secure rear garden it only cost 35 euros a night! As you might of realised i spent the next day sight seeing around the town ( photos at )

I left St. Malo on Friday the 8th of June.

What a first day on the road......
lesson one: In France "N" roads aren't really suitable for bikes, let alone trikes. image a two lane north circular!!!!

lesson two: learn to stop! i went far to far on the 1st day spending almost 9 hours on the road. Now i average about 6

so over the last couple of weeks the rhythm of life has changed. I wake up with the dawn chorus....mutter to myself about it being far to early to be awake and go back to sleep. I tend to get out of the tent anytime between 7-8am. Breakfast and packing up tend to take about an hour and then its on the road.
Depending on how i feel and what's ahead on the road, i usually aim to do 60-70km's a day.I tend to get to the campsite around 1-2pm. Then its just a question of pitching the tent, having a shower followed by a nice lie down. Afterwards it's into town for food, beer and a good leg stretch. Repeat that for 3-4 days and then have a day off.

Travelling through the countryside has been such a joy. the heat of the sun warming me as i pass amongst the trees, the smell of crops ripening in the field, the rustle of a breeze amongst the corn fields. The silent flap of a raptors wing as it sees me approaching from its perch. My exhalations rising in intensity as the road rises up over the hill. The fear and uncertainty as the dog races to its masters gate as i glide pass. The sound of a long and easy descent when all is quite except the sound of the tyres on the road and the slowing beat of my heart.

Now as for my body....well the legs are getting used to the workload and i reckon in about another two weeks they'll be sweet. The suntan lines are another matter all together :)

in this area of France its mostly rural with lots of small and achingly pretty villages. each with a church, baker, cafe and maybe a hotel/bar. On Sundays the only things that are open is the church and maybe the cafe for an hour or two and that's it! Talk about a flash back to the 70's. During the week between 12-2pm the only places open are the restaurants serving up their " plat de jours". On the up side the shops stay open till 7pm ( well they have to get their 35 working week in somehow) which gives me plenty of time for my siestas.

I'm slowly getting back into this thing called "writing things down" and "using more than 4 words to let people know how its going". My mum will be ever so pleased.

Most of the campsites that i stay at have a spare plug socket in the shower block so that i don't always have to relie on my solar panel. Which is just as well because the last week has been rain, followed by even more rain.

Right now I'm in Salers, which is little gem of a village perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the mountain. Its medieval in construction and stills retains all the charm and character of 500 years ago.

Tomorrow, well i'm off over the mountain.

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