No Ferry Today: Camp By Stream To Near Saint Florent. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 3, 2014

No Ferry Today: Camp By Stream To Near Saint Florent.

The tent is dry because it's an overcast morning. And just to say what a strange dream I had about camping in this old house and the owner and his people turned up, but they couldn't see me because I'm invisible for some strange reason. I can't really recall much more, more which makes sense anyway.

I awoke to the same tinkling sound of the stream that lulled me to sleep. Breakfast is the last of yesterday's baguette spread with jam that's been in the pannier a few weeks, and tea. It is almost nine when I get on the road which is narrow and hugs the coast, though high up a steep slope above the rocky shore and is next to traffic free apart from the infrequent campervan. The road is up and down a lot as it goes in and round every coastal indentation.

Today's goats.
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I finally descend to Calvi around eleven and pick up the signs for Port. Then it isn't easy. I pass through roundabouts and by turnings without seeing another port sign. Before long I'm heading out of town on the other side.

Returning back, I turn off to the waterfront and follow the mariner until finding the port. It's a lot smaller than I'd envisaged. It looks though there may not be a sailing to mainland France every day. There's an old rather shabby ticket office. The hatch where I would buy a ticket is shut, and, there is no timetable on the wall, nor no one around whom I can ask.

I cycle back through a big stone archway which is the port's entrance gate, to a café by the mariner quay where a fisherman is unloading his catch in plastic crates into a small white Citroen van. I sit down and have a coffee and while I sit a few tourist-type cars arrive and drive in through the port archway. Are they here for a ferry? I ask myself.

Meanwhile I use the Wi-Fi, logging onto this site. I read in a journal introduction page where the author writes, his daily budget is five English pounds per day. This seems to me just about impractical. Given the journal is dated 2007, though, even keeping pace with inflation. Well, I don't know what five quid is in today's worth, but, lets say for simplicity a figure of ten euros, or nine pounds. Its doable provided you forego all beverages, because the day you run-out of tea or coffee, the budget is broke buying more tea or coffee. Processed foods are out, such as biscuits, cake and sweets. The sweet energy packed snacks which pick you up when that sudden sinking feeling sets in. They're expensive as are soft drinks. So its achievable if the diet is strictly disciplined. Perhaps bread and water. I find it a struggle on about twelve euros for the bare basics. Over that I like coffee and at a café it's two or three euros.

When I close the computer, it has gone twelve and the tourist office is shut for lunch, so I cycle to a Super U I passed earlier riding through town looking for the port. Today's lunch is, posson avec legumes et pomme de terre, from the hot food counter for six euros. Half the budget, but you've got to treat yourself when in a town.

I'm back at the tourist office at two. The young woman behind the desk says "you must go to a travel ad-gen-see", on inquiring about sailing times from Calvi. The woman in the travel agency confirms what I now suspect, that there is only a weekly service and the next sailing is a few days away. But informs me there are daily sailings to Toulon and Marseile from Bastia. So I set off cycling that way.

On entering Calvi.
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The ride is hindered by gusty wind. Sometimes crosswind and other times headwind, depending on which way the main coastal highway swings. At some point I turn off upon D81 with little to no traffic, it climbs and crosses a plateau, descending down a valley to Saint Florent; by which time, it is getting late, cold in the wind and rain-like. Beyond Saint Florent I'd hoped to camp near the shore, but the town spreads along the coastal stretch, so I'm still riding looking to the side as the road continues inland into a narrow valley which excentuates and funnels the wind. I have a look at a level plot of grass on the inside of a layby, but I'm going to need somewhere to shelter from the wind. I have just passed a track up to a small white house, that I think belongs to the water service. I turn back and off up the track to the small house above the road. The gravel area on the sheltered side is big enough for my tent. It's difficult getting tent pegs in, but there are lots of stones which I use to anchor the ties. Then I sit comfortably against the sheltered wall and cook supper of pasta and open a bottle of wine.

The view back as I climb on D81.
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Today's ride: 103 km (64 miles)
Total: 13,233 km (8,218 miles)

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