Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: Salers to Egliseneuve d'Entraigues - A Summer Meander Through France - CycleBlaze

August 10, 2015

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: Salers to Egliseneuve d'Entraigues

Sunshine in Salers and the prospect of a long downhill, it all adds up to a tremendous sense of freedom. I sleep in until 8:00, and have a lazy breakfast before hitting the road at 9:30. Then I'm off on a long 16 km downhill, waving at all the cyclists struggling uphill in the fresh morning air. I know I'll get my comeuppance shortly, but its impossible not to feel extatic on the long drop. And my comeuppance does come shortly, with an eight kilometer climb to get over a ridge. But the scenery is beautiful, and I enjoy it. A car stops and the passenger inside leans out to tell me in a heavy occitan accent that there's a cyclist with a flat somewhere behind me, and do I know him. When I figure out what he's saying I reply, no; I'm travelling alone, and anyway I dont have any spares to spare, so-to-speak.

Random chateau of the day, seen at the bottom of the descent from Salers
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The star of the Cantal, a Salers cow!
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There are cattle everywhere, and with the sunshine, that means flies. If I can go faster than 15 kph, I can out run them, otherwise they are a nuisance. But, I am soon on the way down into Riom es Montagnes picking up speed. I plan to stop in Riom for lunch. Lunch is the local speciality, beef, this time in the form of a burger with cheese (Bleu d'Auvergne) made in Riom.

After lunch, I make a brief detour to see the ruins of the castle at Apchon. While the site is spectacular, the castle is less so, being , er, ruined.
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From Riom I head down toward Condat, and then up once again to Egliseneuve d'Entraigues, where I decide to spend the night. For the first time on this trip I'm staying in a Gite d'Etape, a collective housing arrangement where for a few euros you get a bunk in the dormitory, and access to the showers, toilets and kitchen. I'm the first wanderer of the day to arrive, and I take the first bunk near the door. As the afternoon and evening wear on other travellers, mostly hikers, wander in, and the room is soon near full. Luckily nobody takes the upper above me, so I am hopeful for a good nights sleep. The couple that run the Gite also run a bar/restaurant in the village, Cafe Garage, where I will have supper. Actually there are two other restaurants in the village, but after getting the advice of a local barkeeper, NOT at Cafe Garage, I rule one out immediatly. The other, the barkeeper tells me, is good, but only open haphazardly as the propriator doesn't like to open for only a few people. I try there, but with no luck, and so am obliged to fall back on the Cafe Garage. Many of the other people from the gite are also there, and I take a table near a family of four with whom I have taken up a conversation. The owner seems to have been tippling along with his clients this afternoon, and his antics rapidly have us in stitches with laughter. He forgets things, loses count of items, and once, when dealing out glass dessert plates, resorts to throwing one of them across the table to a startled husband. Luckily, the guy hangs on to it, but we are all laughing at the scene. Dinner is basic, home-made sausages and fries, cheese course, and fresh blueberries with homemade sorbet. Good, filling, but not at all the refined cooking one finds in some restaurants.

After supper, we retire to the Gite, and I am rapidly asleep, only to be awakened about an hour later by four latecomers and their dog. One of the women is coughing, and continues to do so throughout the night, and the dog cannot settle with all the new people to sniff. It was a long night.

Street view in Egliseneuve
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Today's ride: 86 km (53 miles)
Total: 1,150 km (714 miles)

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