That’s what I have been doing for quite some days (ok not exactly on the river – luckily I stayed high and dry). Following amongst others the beautiful Saone and Meuse. Those paths are – together with vals plat naar beneden – my favorites so far. Yesterday I had my first day of mastering bigger hills and I actually did enjoy the ride. A lot. Below an overview of my last days. For more details about my mood, thoughts, emotions and so on you can give me a call. 🙂
Where did the bike take you since last time?
Day 10: Chemilly – Gray. 67, 1 km.
Happy sunny day, although my body felt quite tired and my Achilles was still telling me to take it easy. It was also a day with a strong breeze coming from the south. So the mental game of ‘Don’t let the wind become your enemy!’ was being played all day. Checked out the city centre of Gray, looking for a nice place to spend my birthday tomorrow (lots of rain predicted). Along the way I found myself a Lidl, went inside while being hungry and enjoyed a very nice pasta with fresh basil and many vegetables as a result. Yes, I also loaded some chocolate into my basket. Check out details of my chocolate habits at the fun facts.
Day 11: Gray – Lamarche. 45,5 km.
Birthday time! See below.
Day 12: Lamarche – Beaune. 65, 1 km.
A little hangover in the morning. Waking up like a queen, yet feeling the wine in my body and needing to rehab from all the lovely attention of the day before. Also, as a small birthday present it seemed like my body decided my Achilles was not to worry about any more. Happy me! Nevertheless, there needs to be something else to make the trip slightly uncomfortable right? My bum didn’t like the shaking of yesterday evening I guess. Joke. Didn’t dance (ok only a little one – being happy in my room) but did cycle with my waterproof trousers on yesterday. This XXXXXL version of HEMA appears to be not so suitable for this trip. Nevertheless, I made it to Beaune and I plan to have at least half a day of rest tomorrow.
Day 13: Beaune – Givry. 39,5 km.
Went sightseeing in the morning, wanting to see the famous Hospices de Beaune. Walking my way up to the location of the Hospice, I got to see what the Hospices was all about already. Tourist shops -including my old time favorite: groups of American tourists – all over the place with posters of the architecture of the Hospices. From the outside you don’t see any of this beauty, but after discovering the entry fee I decided the skip the museum. Went for another round in the tourist shop and enjoyed using my legs in a different way than cycling.
Hopped on my bike in the afternoon to get to my next stay arranged via Warmshowers.org. I didn’t really feel like cycling (neither like reading or hanging around) so I did a photoshoot (see below for the results) starring me, myself and I and took it easy. Loved the landscape, full of wineries and nice little villages. Bum was also recovered by that time btw.
In Givry I’ve been welcomed by a French couple who cycled for six months on a tandem bike to discover South America. Listened to such a cool stories about their trip, while hearing about their nice and impressive plans for the future as well. I can only wish that their life is a 10-years-fast-forward of mine. Also, their wine cellar was pretty impressive (and very French). I’ve been treated on some very delicious wine from Givry itself (2012). Tasty tasty! In combination with homemade quiche and French cheese, I landed in a heaven of food.
14: Givry – Sainte-Cécile. 61,3 km.
Time for cake! I’m half way. Yes! Around tea time I arrived in Cluny, famous for what was once the biggest cathedral in Europe. Overwinningen, regardless of size, should be celebrated. Ordered a nice cup of tea and a raspberry crumble. If I had Instagram I would add these hashtags: #nomnomnom #hipsterlife #halfway #teatime. Cycled to Sainte-Cécile afterwards (where I was welcomed by a host via Couchsurfing who build his own house – cool!). From now on it is over – for at least a week – with the rolling on the river part.
15: Sainte-Cécile – Roanne. 93,2 km.
Such a happy day. After a couple of days where my body felt a bit tired, I was full of energy today. The sun was shinning, I’ve crossed beautiful places such as Charlieu and I ended up staying at another cool place via Warmshowers. A cycling family of which amongst others the dad cycled all the way to India in ’83 – ’84 and one of the four daughters did a solo cycle trip from Roanne to Iceland. On the bike of her grandmother. It runs in the family right? I was spoiled with delicious food, nice wine and a private room with old-fashioned bloementjesbehang and a chandelier.
- I can add a squirrel mastering the forest like Tarzan to my list of spotted animals. Made my day.
- Not only the landscape changes, also the type of cows starring at me do so. The area around Cluny is famous for its white Charolais cows. And there are so many calfs running around. I like it.
- After Bayon I was desperate to drop some of the weight I was carrying. The only thing I could possibly think of was 1) emptying half of my 75 ml bottles of dishwashing detergent and olive oil, 2) some blank pages out of my diary and 3) one pair of socks, as I got a new pair when buying the cycling shoes. Oh and 4) eat a lot of stuff and keep my food bags nearly empty and shop light weight vegetables only. Followed up on all of them.
- I’m carrying around a helmet (thanks Meike) but didn’t wear it one single time yet. Do use it as a small basket when going to take a shower.
- So far the award for most exciting greetings go out to a group of cyclist overtaking me going twice as fast.
- Like mentioned in my last blog, I decided to cut back costs on food as well. First rule: no more chocolate. Since it didn’t seem to be part of the ‘truly necessary’ goods to survive. First adjustment to the rule: only 1 bar of chocolate every week. Second adjustment to the rule: perhaps 2 bars of chocolate every week. Third adjustment to the rule: forget about this stupid rule. I was crossing a region with signs such as Cote D’or every 100 meters. Followed by passing some towns starting with Tarts. Needless to say my mind couldn’t resist and I was sticking to the third adjustment of the rule. I ran into the first shop I could find. For those (read: me) wondering if my empanada-hips didn’t turn into chocolate-hips already: I only buy dark chocolate and do make sure I bike at least 40 km a day before giving myself a treat. Or two. Or three.
How did you spend your birthday?
Waking up around 5 in the morning, with the relaxing sound of rain on my tent. I gniffelde like a 10-year-old who knows it is her birthday today. Went back to sleep and took it easy in the morning. I spent the first few hours of the day on the phone. Catching up with all the social talks and giving myself no reason anymore to talk to myself. I was being spoiled with all the attention and the nice digital gifts. Thank you all! Really. Bedankt voor al het liefs vandaag.
I also treated myself on a warm shower and decided to get into the ‘let’s take care of yourself in a city like way.’ mood. To blow-dry my hair (5-star campsite if you ask me) was the ultimate highlight. That there wasn’t anybody to show it off too, was irrelevant. And that it was raining cats and dogs didn’t matter either.
At one point I took another look at my phone. WAIT WHAT!!! I repeat WAIT WHAT!!! Pien and Leo gave me a present. And niet zomaar een cadeau! I was offered to spend the night in a hotel. With a swimming pool. My own bathroom. And being allowed to enjoy delicious dinner as well. In Lamarche, about 30 KM further south and exactly along my way. I was as happy as a child, unwrapping gifts for Christmas. Oh no, actually I was even happier. It was raining, the night was suppose to get cold and Gray was nice but not that nice. So after phoning both Leo and Pien to 1) check if it was really true and 2) thank them to the moon and back, I collected my stuff and hopped on my bike. I’ve never cycled this fast on the trip so far. Something with het paard ruikt de stal?
Keeping my eyes on the prize I gave little attention to a small sign mentioning a road block. “Will the French just be like the South Americans?” Perhaps the road signs can just sit there for years and it won’t be valid anymore? I continued cycling and saw some tractors far in front. I started to recall what the sign actually said and if it was perhaps applicable to me. I still happily pushed the pedals. Only 800 meters left to the hotel. I only need to cross a bridge. Another road block sign. Ai. There is always a way right? Noooo the middle part of the bridge was missing. No way. Other than to go back to the previous town, cross the bridge over there and cycle the same way only on the other side of the river. +15 km. Me not so happy. But of course, the swimming pool, my own private bathroom – turned into drying room (hehe you got to love Google Translate) -, a bed and a pillow (oh YES) and dinner incl. fresh fish and white wine made it all worth a thousand times.
I guess I will remember this birthday forever. Even when I’m eighty, ninety or hundred years old.