Pretty much a _ _ _ _ up day!: Bike, train, subway, more subway, train, tram, train, bike... arrive in beautiful Blois - A tour of France, and Portugal - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2014

Pretty much a _ _ _ _ up day!: Bike, train, subway, more subway, train, tram, train, bike... arrive in beautiful Blois

The morning started with us getting separated in about 250 meters of leaving our hotel on the way to the train station. Thank goodness we both have cell phones, but we missed our train by about 5 minutes, so we had to wait about 1 1/2 hours for the next one.

We were taking the train to Blois, to start our journey along the Loire Valley. From Rouen, we had to first go to Paris, then take two subways to a different train station. No easy task with loaded bikes. While it is great that you can take bikes on most of the trains, it is a pain. Getting on most of the trains, you have to negotiate steep steps to enter. We are getting pretty good at it, but still not fun. You never know how the bikes go on, until you see the train car. One some of them, you just lean your loaded bikes against the wall, and "bob's your uncle", but on others you have to unload your panniers before going through the narrow door, and then there are special hooks to hang the bikes. All this must be done in about 5 minutes, especially when connecting.

Once we arrived in Paris, we then had to figure out how and where we get to the other train station, to connect to Blois. We have 58 minutes, so it should not be a problem. On a day like today, though everything seemed to go wrong. We, or I should say, mostly the sick guy with the cold, lugged both the loaded bikes bikes up and down many flights of stairs to get to the subway. They had young guys down there to help tourists like us, thankfully. He told Ron that you cannot actually take bikes on the subway, but that he does it all the time. He was a great help with tickets, directions, etc. Down more stairs, we pushed and squeezed unto the first subway ride. The back end of Ron's bike was actually sitting on some poor guy's lap!

We got off at our designated stop, and up and down more stairs to the next one. You would think that one subway to the next would be on the same level. We finally arrived at the other train station across Paris, but of course, we missed our connection to Blois by about 30 minutes. The next one is in about 1 hour, but now rather than being direct, we have to go to Orleans, which is past Blois, change trains, and transfer to another one, back to Blois. The day just keeps getting better!

Of course, none of these small stations have elevators or escalators, so poor Ron, with my help, had more stairs to lug bikes down and up, to get across to the other side of the tracks. I was watching for the sign saying Orleans, at every stop, and when I saw it, (although, it had another French word with it), I said, "this is our stop." Turns out, it was one stop too soon. Grrrrrrr! A very kind French lady saw the looks on our faces, ( or perhaps understood the swear words), and took me down to the ticket agent to see what we could do. There were no other trains coming that went to Orleans, so we would have to take a short tram to get to the station. At least it was a level entry for the bikes, the only problem was, the next train to Blois was almost two hours later. Crap!

I had already phoned the owner of our B&B in Blois three times, telling her we would be late, what's one more call. We finally arrived, 4 1/2 behind schedule. The good news... we did arrive, and the accommodation is great.

First thing we did was, DRINK, then rest. It was harder than if we had bikes 100 kilometers! We had a great dinner in this lovely town, and then went to the night show at the chateau at 10:30. It was a history of the Blois Chateau, with sound and lights. It was a great show, accept for some reason, perhaps brain fog, we declined the English head sets, so I don't think we could pass a test on the history of the chateau.

We are so looking forward to getting back on our bikes tomorrow, and discovering the sights of the Loire. Hopefully, no more trains.

Anne de Britagne Hotel in Blois
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This is an animated show at the Houdini museum
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The chateau
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Beautiful Blois gardens
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Chateau at night
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Miss this little guy❤️
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Bikes on subway, a tight fit
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Really tight!!
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And we wait for another train
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Today's ride: 2 miles (3 km)
Total: 193 miles (311 km)

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