Within cooee - Kiwis fly - CycleBlaze

September 19, 2019

Within cooee

. . . of the sea: Domfront to Mont-St-Michel

This is Day 21 of our European adventure, and the 17th of our odyssey across France. Perhaps because we feel so close to the Atlantic, today seems to gallop by. We feel a milestone coming on.

The riding is delightfully easy, again. We leave Domfort around 9am and almost immediately we are on the voie verte once more.  We divert to Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët mid-morning for coffee and lunch supplies, and to Ducey for an early beer, but otherwise we are steadily heading east towards the coast.

Barb M, whenever I see these sweet faces, I think of you and your 'girls'. Hope you read this!
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This rail trail has been a pleasure to ride from the moment we joined it in Mayenne yesterday. Each segment is clearly signposted and the surface is in very good condition. Some sections display the EU logo, declaring funding from that source. I've actually promised Tour Leader I will do a shout-out to the EU (he's a fan), in appreciation of their contribution to our cycling pleasure. Take that, Boris!

The only way forward was up and over . . Where was the EU when we needed it?
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The rail trail comes to an end when we reach the bank of the Sélune River, which seems to be just a stone's throw from the sea itself. Is this it? Have we reached the coast? No, not yet.  Our route then snatches the sea from view, though with tantalising glimpses of a majestic Mont-Saint-Michel on the horizon. 

No, we're not talking about a rabid InterCity bus but an actual buzzard. I stop to don my blue, bird-scaring jacket and arm myself with a thorny stick. Tour Leader announces he intends to just punch the buzzard in the throat. Hmm.
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Dawn HunterHaha! Go Bruce!
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2 years ago

We wash up at our accommodation only two and a half hours early, ever hopeful. But the door is locked and a hand-written note brooks no argument: "check-in 17.00- 20.00".

We have oodles of time so take the opportunity to ride another few kilometers to Mont-Saint-Michel. A UNESCO world heritage site visited by more than 3 million tourists a year, the rock has had a religious presence for over a thousand years, and still does today. 

A closer view of the iconic skyline
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Riding into the huge complex before the causeway, though, is a surreal experience. I've only been to one Disneyland, also in France as it happens, and the similarities are striking.  There are tour buses, shuttle buses, hotels, eateries, painted cows ... and we're still on the mainland. Bruce volunteers to mind our bikes amongst all this madness while I catch a shuttle bus across the causeway to take a closer look. 

Morrinsville, they've rustled your cows!
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What I don't expect to find, once through the gates, is more of the same. Just as in medieval times, no doubt, the lower levels of the Mont are home to more hotels, more eateries, more souvenir shops. Climbing up towards the Abbey gains a magnificent view but doesn't shake off all of this secular commerce. Hotels are tucked away in secluded alleyways, shops rub shoulders with a small chapel, English school children run amok on the steps. It's quite an experience but I'm glad to squeeze myself into the last spot on a shuttle bus and return to the mainland and a patient spouse.

Expansive view from the Mont, above the hoi polloi
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Today's ride: 84 km (52 miles)
Total: 1,649 km (1,024 miles)

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Jill BrinsleyBruce as a buzzard punching thug is a great image. Have your camera ready Robyn.😱
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2 years ago
Dawn HunterWoo hoo - over the 1000 mile mark! Bruce did 10km on our ergometer to celebrate for you!!x
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2 years ago
Robyn RichardsTo Dawn HunterYay, go Bruce!
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2 years ago