My tour the France is nearly finished, and everything I thought I knew about France has been confirmed!
It is such a brilliant country for a bicycle, a million tiny wee roads with no traffic that take you over hills with forest, fields and picturesque towns. Behind each hill a church tower appears and you know the next coffee or banana isn’t far away.
I love the life and the people here. One of the first days I stood at the side of the road staring at my map when a man on bicycle stopped to tell me the next campsite would be at least 50km away. But he rang his son, who lived 15km further in a caravan behind a factory with two chicken, to tell him he would have a guest. There we discovered that both our dads took a Citroen 2CV to Turkey in ’72! And we eat little scary animals, who didn’t taste bad at all. He told me it happened only one or two times in his life that someone appears out of nowhere and goes to nowhere.
I had about two days of lovely sunny weather before the temperature plummeted again to 3 degrees and I cycled through rain and snow.
An afternoon I tried to get warm and dry in a wee cafe when a friendly looking man came up to me to say he has a guesthouse… it did sound tempting, warm and comfy instead of cold and wet, so I decided to splash out and stay at ‘Le Detour’ in Buffard. I got there and the friendly looking man told me that if I’d use my own sleeping bag I could stay for free! It was like a castle. And en-suite I’ve got the feeling it was partly because of my poor french he thought I was Australian, and they’re a bit more of a novelty here then the Dutch… ah well.
Also I have discovered that my speciality of pasta with tuna and cheese does NOT work with sardines instead of tuna and camembert instead of cheese… yuk. The frogs I had the other day were a whole lot tastier.
On Sundays many french people put on real fast looking clothes and jump on the race bike. I met a whole peloton with which I easily kept up for about 15km before taking another turn. 😎
Yesterday the impossible happened… I got a puncture! Big shock! since I’ve got special indestructible german tires who were bloody expensive… and I have only 1252km! I’m not impressed. Lucky for me Antoinne and Gilbert just passed and fixed it while I made them a coffee (I can do it myself you know)
But my legs feel good. I’m ready for the Alps which is just as well since I’m in Grenoble and I’ll be crossing them in the next couple of days. I dramatically changed my route when I was close to Lyon. I’ve been following the ‘Green Route’ to the mediterranean when I met Monsieur et Madame Guillerault, an older couple who cycle lots and live here (I’m staying with them). They told me it wouldn’t be a problem to get across to Italy from here. So I will find out if that’s true soon enough.
They both used to be math teachers, its funny. I met 4 cycling math teachers in Estonia as well. I’m always surprised math teachers do fun things too…
Today I’ll take a break, have a look around the town. Its gorgeous! surrounded by mountains. Gonna get my stuff sorted.