Published: June 4th 2012June 4th 2012
07h30, and the dining room was filling up. By 08h30, the dining room was becoming empty. By 08h45, the heaven's had opened and the gutters were filling up.
I left the hotel and walked through the rain to buy some lunch. Having acquired suitable sustenance, I went off to hire a bike for the day.
As before, my plan was, until lunchtime, to follow the Canal du Nivernais down to Cravant, have lunch, then carry on before turning round and returning to Auxerre - a modest 29 miles.
And so, with the rain having stopped, I strapped my bag to the bike and cycled through the park and onto the main road, heading downhill alongside the Boulevard Vaubelle to the River Yonne.
Not wanting to take any chances, I used a couple of pedestrian crossings before joining the tow path at the Ecluse Auxerre. Following the canal to Vaux, I crossed the river by a narrow vehicular bridge, with traffic lights to control the direction, before locating a well-marked track taking me to Champs-sur-Yonne.
Continuing along this lane, I reached another bridge (cyclists were asked to walk across) which permitted me to regain the tow path.
Passing through to Vincelles, where a board described the flash locks
- the way the level on the Yonne was controlled to allow the logs to be transported down the river until the early 1800s - I found a little restaurant and stopped in the late morning for coffee.
Heading on, I made it to Cravant and cycled into the centre where I had my picnic lunch not far from the memorial stone for the Battle of Cravant.
After dining, I continued on the cycleway and crossed the Yonne using an old railway bridge. This marked the junction with the canal to Vermenton. Crossing, I headed on to Vermenton before turning round and returning.
The return journey was marred by strong winds and showers. At one point, a pile of straw bales blew over next to me. This was followed by the first downpour of the afternoon. Fortunately, all subsequent showers occurred near trees and thus the worst of the weather was avoided.
All in all, a good day, with quite descent weather for cycling.
There are more photos below