Waiting for the plane - Following Rivers and Pilgrim Trails from Zurich now Dawdling around France - CycleBlaze

October 3, 2016

Waiting for the plane

We had intended today to take the train into Brussels but the state of both the weather and my knee decided us on having an utterly idle day. We are completely packed and now just wait until tomorrow . It certainly feels strange to go from a state of vigorous activity to spending the day lying on our beds watching TV. Any way it gives me an opportunity to give an overview of the trip.

I was delighted to get a message on our guest book this morning with a map of the trip - it is more or less accurate but starts us in Zurich, if you want to see things in more detail eg elevations etc have a look at the guest book.


Zurich was a particularly easy airport to arrive in. It is easy to assemble bikes there just outside the terminal doors and the cleaners had no problems moving all our rubbish away. We were staying in the Raddison Blue which is situated in the airport terminal itself. The great plus about this is that the train station is there too so it was particularly easy the next morning to just wheel the bikes to the train to take us to Oberwald. It is an expensive hotel though but we felt it was well worth it.

We found that Swirzerland was very expensive eg hotels were all over 100CF a day and often a lot over. You just have to accept it for a fact if you want to cycle tour there. The cycling was wonderful, we were cycling down the Rhone but were suprised at how much often steep uphill there was, in fact our first day was one of the hardest we had. On the whole the cycle tracks were well marked and we found the people friendly. The traffic was very considerate. We had thought that cycling around Lake Leman to Laussane would be difficult as we had to go on the road but it really was absolutely fine.

The guide we used was the German Bikeline one and of course this was excellent.


We found that the prices in France much more reasonable, generally we were paying around 70-80E a day in hotels - we could have paid less but were staying in reasonably good hotels. We used booking.com to book the day ahead nearly all the time

Down the Rhone to Lyon
Initially we had trouble finding the route out of Geneva but a Wonder Woman in a Office de Tourisme sorted us out. We had been a bit concerned about finding accommodation along this route because booking.com was for the only time on this trip not helpful but again the the woman in the Office de Tourisme helped out. A lot of the riding was on roads but these were quiet and the traffic very considerate. We had a French Guide book ........

Lyon to Paray Le Monial
After riding on quiet roads to Macon a lot of this was on dedicated cycle tracks. The books we were using were...

To Le Puy en Velay
The weather was particularly hot - over 35 degrees it was an easy ride to Roanne but after that things got more difficult ! One of the major problems was that with the heat we were trying to ride 50 to 60km before midday and this was almost impossible with the hills. The scenery was fantastic particularly on the Loire Gorge. We used ....... When we got to Le Puy looking at the hills and the weather we decided to do something a lot easier and probably more suitable for people of our age.

Along the Loire
This well known route is of course lovely

Velo Francette
This runs from Caens to La Rochelle . We joined it at Angers and followed it to Caens, a lot of it is on dedicated cycle routes and we were lucky enough to find a French Guide Book on riding it at the the Office de Tourism in Saumure

Normandy Coast
We had ridden this before and once more thoroughly enjoyed it. Ken has a detailed Michelin Road Atlas and it was this that we used to make sure we could find a suitable route on small 'white' roads.
In Valery we were lucky enough to find maps of all the cycle ways in the Sienne Maritime and this we found very helpful and it alerted us to the really good information that can be obtained from the O de T. Crossing the Bridge de Normandie is certainly a challenge - the traffic is fast and furious and the cycle way very narrow. The day that we crossed it it was very windy so we walked which really is a good solution to the problem - it took about an hour.

Northern France
We knew that there was a Vois Vert from Dieppe to Forges les Eau and we again managed to find excellent free maps - this time of the Cycle routes in the Somme - from Arras we again used road maps and that got us to Ypres.

We have cycled in Belgium before but at times have had difficulties with Navigation. This year we used the Belgium cycle maps with the number system and we found that this was a easy way to navigate. One thing though try and work out a relatively straight route without too many knooppunts close together or you will find you will be just wiggling along through masses and masses of houses. Seemed to me that Belgium was in the middle of a building boom. We found that Belgium was considerably more expensive than France for both hotels (similar hotels 15E to 20E dearer) and for food. We found it hard to find a cup of coffee along the way as usually the bars and cafes don't open until about 11am and getting bread can prove difficult as there seem to be far fewer bakeries. There are of course cycleways all over the place but we didn't find that the drivers quite as courteous as we found the French ones.

Well it is over and all we have to do is fly home. Once again we feel that we are very fortunate with the three things that enable us to these trips
* We have the health to do it
* We can afford it
* We have some one to do it

Our hope is that perhaps next August we will be off on our 'Next last cycle tour'. Think we would start off in the north and go south as in October things are getting a bit chilly up here.

When I get home and am reunited with them I will list the guide books and maps we used. Suprisingly quite unlike what we have done previously we didn't use the two GPSs we had with us

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