Jour Seize - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

June 27, 2011

Jour Seize

I think my French is getting worse. How that can be after 2 weeks in France I haven't a clue, but I think it's true. Maybe it's a regional accent thing, but I swear, I would do my "Gee-voo-drey" (I would like) thing in Normandy and I generally got what I wanted, but the past few days all I seem to be getting is blank stares.

Maybe it's because more people seem to understand English here, so the general order of things goes like this

Me: "Gee-Voo-drey" and then whatever it is I want.
French person: Blank stare
Me: Look of desperation
French person: In English "Do you want one or two of those..."

Sometimes I don't even get that far. A couple of times, after a long day in the saddle, I arrive in a campground, for example, and I'm hot and tired and I get off the bike and my mind goes blank. A few seconds then pass and I just kind of stare at the person, trying to find the words. Usually the person looks at me and says, "it's ok, I speak English", without me even having said a word. The look of relief on my face must be good for a laugh, I'm sure, but they are always nice about. Well, at least I have my charm.

Aside from that it was a great day! It started in Chinon where I hit the grocery store in the hopes of coming up with some kind of food that would not melt because it has suddenly gotten really hot. It was 35 C when I left town about 9:30, god only knows what that translates to in real degrees, maybe I don't want to know. Though really, for me, it wasn't that it was hot, which I don't mind, but it's very humid.

Anyway This Loire a velo trail is like an ACA route on steroids. You really don't even need a map because it is so well marked. Only an idiot could miss the signs. I only missed once, but in my defense I was having an in depth conversation with Lynn (and her husband John) from Britian so we all missed it. And then a Frenchman missed it, so maybe something was wrong there. But aside from that this trail is GREAT. And there are hundreds of cyclists! I've also met a bunch of touring cyclists in the campgrounds.

The camgrounds here are between 5 and 6 Euros which is about 8 or 9 bucks by my calculations, cool.

But the COOLEST thing today was this. I'm riding along, admiring the scenery, which was great, when the trail wound its way through some little one lane streets in a little town. Then the trail went into what looked like a tunnel, but turned out to be an AWESOME cave system. Whoever decided to bring the cyclist was a genius. It was so COOL!

In fact it was not just cool to look at, it was cool temperature wise.. There were French explanations of the caves and I will have to look them up when I have more time, but they looked like they were used, at one time, as wine cellars and actual living areas. SO cool. And then, to top it all, they had built a little area for cyclists to "take five" and have a picnic with some of the best toilets of the trip, all in the cool air of the caves mind you.

From there I kept going another 15 or so kilometers with a few side trips along the way.

The Loire river is getting wider here and I'm told the other end of the river, east of Tours, is nicer. I guess that give me a reason to come back, eh? :-)

That's all for today. I'm moving slowly west. Until tomorrow

I'm in wine country!
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Purty
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Loire a Velo Trail
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...more lawn art
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Gotta love the French lawn art
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The start of the caves. Looks like an average tunnel.
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Inside. Look at the furniture about my bike.
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Close up of last pic. Notice the stairs built into the wall.
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The rest area for cyclists with bike racks and a really nice toilet!
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More caves...
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Leading out of the caves...
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This cathedral is in a town near Gennes and was build in the 11th and 12th centuries. I think it looks kind of cool in black and white.
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Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 645 km (401 miles)

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