Day 55: Bayonne to Leon - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

April 1, 2024

Day 55: Bayonne to Leon

Heart 0 Comment 0

Loading up in front of Hotel des Arceaux, I noticed that it was not really as narrow as it had felt yesterday. It was mainly the entrance that was super narrow. The grey shroud at the top of the photo is not an attempt at censorship, but, I think, a weird camera glitch.

Heart 0 Comment 1
Karen PoretWow! Dodie is a live model with matching color jacket from the store window :)
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago

In the clear light of day we could look again at Bayonne, though we did not go back up to the cathedral area. The town has a rather Parisian air, with four or five story, rather formal, light grey buildings. It is not the gay ambiance of St. Jean de Luz, but still nice.

Heart 3 Comment 0
A little formal, but nice buildings.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Clearly not a Roman bridge, over the river Adour, but I like the railing.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Houses on the river.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Looking across the river, there was the image of a rather aggressive cleric.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Having crossed the river, and looking at the guy head on - still pretty aggressive.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Also across the river was this carousel, that bills itself as being from 1900. If so, it must have received some upgrades, because there is a little car on board (just barely visible) that has to be at least a 1915 model T.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Bayonne has some Vauban designed fortifications. It had a wall all the way around.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Since we were following Eurovelo 1 we were prepared to feel betrayed when the sign directed us to a set of crazy stairs. Fortunately, there was an elevator beside!
Heart 1 Comment 0
From across the river, we could look back toward the cathedral.
Heart 3 Comment 0
This house sized fresco with Basque language denotes a youth centre.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Getting out of Bayonne we had bike lanes all the way, and now we had bike path. It was looking good!
Heart 3 Comment 0
Ok, with EV, experience shows you can expect a little mud.
Heart 2 Comment 0
But wait a minute, this is ridiculous. Heavy rains have turned the area into a lake!
Heart 0 Comment 0

The next cyclists along the path were a young mother and her son, Charlie. Of course, they too were not about to go through the lake. They offered to guide us around the obstruction, and went out of their way a bit to do that.

Heart 3 Comment 0

We carried on a bit, until a spot where it seemed we could dive back onto EV1. But the route flooded sign gave us pause. Was it flooded, or FLOODED?

Heart 0 Comment 0

We were deciding whether to try the flooded route when some cyclists emerged from the path. I asked them in French if it were truly flooded, and they replied "Oh yeah", or the French equivalent,  that's why they were retreating. At this point I glanced down at their gear and saw that their panniers were from MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop). "Canadians!", I exclaimed.

The cyclists turned put to be Jennifer and David, from New Brunswick. They were headed up the coast, with Jennifer stopping at Rostock and returning home to her work, but leaving David to carry on to Poland. Today was their first day out, since they had started from Bayonne. Needless to say a lot of fun chatter ensued, and we are sure our ways will cross as we all proceed up the coast.

Jennifer and David from New Brunswick
Heart 5 Comment 0

As we stood around doing our own chattering, a bird came to see what we were up to. It was a Chaffinch - a new one for us!

24175 Chaffinch
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

We carried on along the road for a bit, but soon had another crack at regaining EV 1. Now it really did the trick for us. It is a combination of rail trail and marked bike lane, such that at no time during today were we battling with cars.

That little kid was a hell of a cyclist.
Heart 1 Comment 0

This whole area was revealed to us as a major vacation spot, with sand dunes along the beach, and numerous tent or vacation yurt or cabin sites.

Vacation cabins
Heart 1 Comment 0
Across the street: "Club Fun", has food, a pool, and a spa.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A canal led us near the village of Cap Breton.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We found there lots of pleasure boats.
Heart 1 Comment 0
And this, probably a dredger, with two "steam shovels" on board.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Several times during the day we had passed and been passed by a guy riding a hand pedaled recumbent. I tried to get a shot of him, but he was too darn fast!

This guy could really move!
Heart 0 Comment 0

This is an area with giant dunes by the beach. In fact, we know that Europe's largest dune is coming up on our route in the next couple of days.

Heart 1 Comment 1
Karen PoretResembles Ord dunes near Fort Ord in Monterey, CA.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
At this point one could walk up the dune and have a look at the ocean. We found David and Jennifer there, doing just that. They said the 15 minute hike up was worth it, but for some reason we were eager to move along. Grampies 2017 also recommended this, but Grampies 2024 will maybe wait until an opportunity comes up tomorrow.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Even from the road, we could see interesting dune features..
Heart 4 Comment 0
It's quite an area to pedal by.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Now we entered an area of managed pine forest. This goes on for a very long time. It is easy to see patches that will soon be thinned, thinned patches, and areas of mature trees.

Heart 0 Comment 0

A pathside info panel shows the stages of production:

Heart 0 Comment 0

The pine trees here are a type with heavily shingled, reddish bark. Very attractive.

Heart 2 Comment 0
These must be thinnings, because they are quite skinny.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another carrion crow. We keep shooting these blacks birds, looking for a raven or a rook.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Oh no, one more lake. I went through first to see if it would be possible, with Dodie worrying about the camera, should I wind up in the drink.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Our surmise that we had been on a rail trail was borne out when we came to a former station.
Heart 2 Comment 0
We found a "Common Wall Lizard" - on a wall.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltNice shot! Commonly found on walls. Introduced to the Cincinnati OH area, where I have caught them. First time I did was late 1990s and it took a bit to find out they had been naturalized in the area for a while.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/55990-Podarcis-muralis
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago

At last we came to Leon, our destination town for today. We were pleased to see the standard French layout, with church on one side, bakery on the other, of the central square. There was a bonus this time, with a bike shop beside the bakery. 

Bike shop and bakery.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The small church was nice, but pretty normal.
Heart 1 Comment 0
We are in France, so it had a Joan of Arc!
Heart 0 Comment 0
And a poster of our favourite guy, Francisco.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Dodie waits, as I visit the church in Leon main square.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Here then is Leon's main street. This follows up on the square with yet another bakery, and even another bike shop! We headed to the Carrefour market, where you can get good premade salads.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We booked a place just outside Leon, that attracted us with its name. Indeed, it is set up to receive cyclists from off EV1, and even has an Acceuil Velo sign.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The bikes are stored behind one of these doors, and behind another is a full shared kitchen.
Heart 1 Comment 0
But as we've been saying about French accommodation, you can expect rickety stairs and cheap building materials.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We did figure out how to work the heater, so that is a big plus for the room.  Also, the owner is German, so the beds have duvet and not annoying tightly tucked white sheets. With this, we are in good shape to cycle again tomorrow!

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 2,503 km (1,554 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 0