What a glorious start to the day. Set off early and travelled along a canal side cycle path across the flat plains of Loire-Atlantique towards the sea. Herons, storks, rabbits and a stoat all fled at our approach. It was magical, but very bumpy.
We passed into Poitou-Charente, probably one of my favourite parts of France which has beautiful, pale stone houses and white gravel drives. Proper ‘French’ country style. Charentais melons are the thing here at this time of year and they are bloody lovely. You can tell a melon that’s been grown in the sun rather than a greenhouse: properly ripe and they smell like a melon when you buy them. Melon sniffing has been a long standing habit of mine. I remember once decreeing that I wanted to live in a place where I could have melon for breakfast every day. Now I know that is technically possible in Worthing, but it wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
At 383km we reached the sea for the first time since St Malo. Very exciting.
We cycled along possibly France’s nicest stretch of cycle path.
Chateillon-place is a really pleasant, sedate holiday town with a gorgeous beach and some excellent ice cream. We had lunch and I had a swim. You have been spared a photo of that.
The accommodation problem is a persistent one which I had anticipated but not known how to solve as I didn’t know how far we were capable of cycling each day (so couldn’t book anywhere in advance). We’re in an Ibis Budget in Rochefort tonight as all campsites we called were full. Sticking to our budget is going to impossible at this rate but we don’t have much choice.
Just before reaching the hotel, it started to chuck it down with rain and we biked really fast over a grassy piece of land to get to the dry. Keith somewhat enthusiastically cycled up a steep slope with a fully loaded bike and snapped his chain. Dinner in McDonalds because that was all there was (rain and only one bike).