Change is in the air - Kiwis fly - CycleBlaze

September 8, 2019

Change is in the air

Bourbon-Lancy to Nevers

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness indeed. This morning dawns with heavy cloud cover, reminding us that Autumn is now tapping us on the shoulder as we unearth warm jackets from our panniers.

I used to teach this poem, 'To Autumn' and did my best to share my enthusiasm for Keats' powerful imagery with reluctant students. I particularly love the way he uses personification to bring the season to life. (Am a bit of a fan of using  personification myself; you may have noticed)

We are warmed, however,  by the kindness of our overnight host. He is a busy man, running a café and restaurant as well as managing a clutch of studio apartments. There was much shaking of hands on arrival, and again on departure.  But, before we leave, we must have a coffee, yes? Gratuit, of course. C'est un vraiment gentil homme.

This morning sees us again rolling through undulating countryside. It is remarkably quiet . . . no church bells, no cow bells, and very few vehicles to break the silence. It's certainly aromatic though. The lack of sun and wind seem to intensify the farmyard smells and the odours of freshly harvested pastures.

I can't resist these beautiful faces!
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At Decize, an ancient settlement stretching at least as far back as Julius Caesar, we meet the sprawling Loire river again, having to cross no fewer than three bridges to cover its various strands. It's still an important navigation crossroads, forming the junction between the Canal du Nivernais and the Canal Latéral à la Loire. And not just for shipping: we cyclists arrive on the former and depart via the latter.

Failing to find somewhere to eat in town, we continue along our canal path, heartened by signs for La Halte Nautique, open until 3pm on Sundays. And sure enough, at another colourful canal lock, we find a small hut and a number of marquees set up alongside the canal. We take our seats on the grass and enjoy a two-course lunch for €7 apiece. Plus coffee. Oh, all right, plus rosé.

I think we're due another lock house photo ...
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Dawn HunterHaha! Rosé indeed!
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2 years ago

We meet the occupants of a beautifully maintained canal barge, flying the Australian flag, who are also dining in the tent. They are from Townsville and are enjoying two months of life in the slow lane. She has the unfortunate honour of being the second Australian we have heard of in two days to have fractured her wrist in a cycling accident. However, she is manfully soldiering on with one arm, still able to deal with whatever the first mate has to do to guide a large boat through a lock.

Well fortified, we cruise the final 30-odd km to tonight's accommodation. It's a self-contained apartment that appears to be housed in a senior citizens' village.  Not entirely inappropriate then.

We're not senior citizens yet
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Dawn HunterOh you are so funny!
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2 years ago
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Today's ride: 90 km (56 miles)
Total: 854 km (530 miles)

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Sandra LawnHi Robyn and Bruce
Enjoying following your journal, so many canals I haven't heard of, and Switzerland, my favourite place. Great photos........including seeing Colin Firth on your lucky is that?? I'm sure I'm going to be dreaming about him now too as I'm cycling around Nelson NZ. On that note I see you are from Picton/Blenheim, I'm in Atawhai as you come into Nelson from the Whangamoas, if you ever over this way please get in contact and call in for a cuppa, it'd be lovely to meet you and talk cycle touring.
I can be found on Crazy Guy On A Bike

Seriously thinking of changing over to CycleBlaze

Enjoy the rest of your tour and then China
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2 years ago
Robyn RichardsTo Sandra LawnHi Sandy
Thanks for the message...and, yes, would love to meet up and talk cycle touring! We come across to Nelson occasionally and love biking the trails from Richmond all the way up to Kaiteriteri. Great trails!
And, yes, we're really enjoying this trip - our first long distance one.
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2 years ago