Millau to Saint-Afrique - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 5, 2024

Millau to Saint-Afrique

Finally, we ride

Heart 0 Comment 0

Thanks to everyone who sent such supportive comments. I really appreciate all the empathy! For those of you who are gluttons for punishment, here is a pic of the offending ankle on day 5. 

Ouch!
Heart 0 Comment 2
Angela NaefThat looks painful! Hope it heals soon.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Hannah McElwaneySo very sorry, Jill. Sending healing thoughts and a speedy recovery ❤️‍🩹
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago

Still bruised but with a lot of swelling reduced.   An additional factoid not mentioned previously was that Dave purchased an ace bandage which we used when I went to breakfast or walked down the street. Fortunately, this tour I had switched out my flip flops for keen sandals which turned out to be handy, as I could fit my bulky bandaged foot in them conveniently. 

We had determined that today we would try to ride. I wasn’t sure how my ankle would do so Dave knew there was a possibility that after 2 km I would say we needed to turn around and go back. It’s been 4 nights and 3 full days of more or less boredom for Jill and some for Dave too. As previously reported, he managed a couple of rides and even did laundry on the last day when the weather was bad (again). The laundry process went smoothly except he doesn’t think the washer dropped any soap in, so we may have clothes laundered with no soap!

On our last night we had an unexpectedly nice dinner at Restaurant Mangiore, a place with lots of atmosphere and had our first oysters of the trip. 

Monday morning we loaded up with Dave doing most of the work. I was whiny and nervous and probably an annoying spouse, although Dave never complained.

It was a beautiful day, the nicest we have had, and really a lovely day for riding.  I was cycling in my light hikers without clip in cleats because I couldn’t twist my ankle. I quickly learned that the riding was okay for me. When I have my foot up it’s fine but  I have a low level ache when standing and that was pretty much what I experienced on the bike; a mild ache all day. The worst was when I had to stop suddenly and put my foot down and the extra sudden pressure on my foot was difficult. For that reason Dave did all the pannier hauling - thank you, Sweetheart! We didn’t book any place to stay for the next few days, being uncertain as to where we would wind up. 

On the way to St. Afrique.
Heart 7 Comment 0
The Tarn was roiling after all the recent rains.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 0
We learned that this breed of sheep is the only breed whose milk is used to make Roquefort cheese.
Heart 3 Comment 0

The Tarn Gorge is lovely, with relatively limited - and polite- traffic. We rode through Peyre, a plus beau village, and it was indeed very beautiful. We had a pretty flat or rolling profile until we reached St Rome du Tarn and then we had a long consistent boring uphill for 10 k.  At that point a headwind kicked in (Murphy’s Law at work.) At last, at the top we stopped to stretch and then started our downhill into Saint-Afrique.  Unfortunately we had to stop again because of a detour, consult the temporary signage (always ambiguous) and google maps (not illuminating), and determined we would take the detour which rerouted us through Lauras and onto a busier D999, adding an extra 6 k onto our ride. Dave, with the help of Google suggested an additional detour which put us up some steep -unpleasant for Jill -pitches through Lauras but allowed us to miss about half the busier highway.   When we arrived in Saint-Afrique we got detoured again because this hilariously busy flea market was in full flow. It took us 20 minutes to push our bikes about 400 meters through the crowds . And if we had wanted a really cheap looking recliner or an induction range we could have made a purchase! Dave did stop for some delicious gingembre (ginger candy).

The lovely hillside village of Pyre.
Heart 6 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltSome species of marsh orchid

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/48983-Dactylorhiza
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Oh good, Dave. We were worried you wouldn't be including any shots of waterfalls!
Heart 7 Comment 0

At the 2 * Hotel Pont Neuf, and for the princely sum of 86 euros, we got a tiny but serviceable room overlooking the busy street and market and these Tibetan goats (see pic). The proprietor couldn’t have been nicer. He just handed me the room key without taking any details. The room had been remodeled modestly but had a good shower with hot water a plenty, air conditioning that worked, an electric towel rack (which is so handy for drying clothes), and good shelving . If the hotel would only upgrade the bed (dumpy)  and linens (also dumpy) it would be a fine little place. After several efforts derailed by the language barrier  we figured out where they wanted us to park our bikes and we were even able to recharge our batteries in the garage- which saved Dave an extra trip and some hassle. 

At the fair.
Heart 2 Comment 0
An animal rescue group hawking candy to support their efforts.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The town of St. Afrique.
Heart 5 Comment 0
A comfy spot to store the bikes overnight.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Karen PoretYou could even put your panniers in the wardrobe cabinet ;)
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Heart 1 Comment 0

As an aside, people it his region speak limited English. Dave is using a lot more of his limited but serviceable French. So far we have only seen one other  US couple (in Millau) and we think this area is much more a local destination for tourists. 

So it was Sunday night which is always a challenge for eating in France (as is Monday and Tuesday for that matter) because everything is closed, including, in this case, the Hotel restaurant, which looked quite nice. After striking out with several suggestions from our host, we dined at La Fabrick, a take out joint with a couple of tables that served burgers, fries, cola and beer.  The one guy who ran it was doing a good bit of business there, since it was the only place open. We dined on a shared Roquefort Burger and fries and each had a local ale, all for 19 euros. (We learned last night that “partager” is to “ share” in  French, a useful word in restaurants.) So after a fairly disastrous start to our travel budget due to the various hotel cancellations and extra train tickets we had a nice economical day!

As we walked home, quite early, we were longing for a glass of wine to have with our expected Netflix viewing in our room and stopped by the epicerie (fruit store), to see if it carried alcohol. They were just closing - except for a manic dog running about - they had wine but none with a screw top.  Note to self:  pack corkscrew. Second note to self: add inflatable pillows to packing list.  We have found in some of the more modest inns, they give you a single pillow which is often wimpy!

On the whole, we were very happy with day, and especially my ankle.  Hopefully we are back on track.

Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 228 km (142 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 13
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetA corkscrew would be a wonderful souvenir of France. Functional and not too big or heavy to carry.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Karen PoretSO glad you were able to get OUT and enjoy!! :)
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago