Caen - Salon la Tour (nr Limoges)

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July 17th 2009
Published: July 19th 2009
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Friday 17th July - Caen - Salon La Tour (south of Limoges)

Cabins were all taken on the ferry so I had booked a reclining chair in a lounge. All well and good I should imagine if you locate your chosen recliner at the start of the voyage. But having changed out of my soaking trousers, pigged myself on a surprisingly delicious lamb shank, written some drivel for yesterday's blog and looked at the map it was now 1 am. I duly lobbed up at the lounge expecting to crash in my booked seat before it became apparent that you couldn't see a damn thing in there. The lounge resembled a cinema but with absolutely no light and sadly no cinema dolly with her trolley and light to show you to her seat. (I must be old 'cos I remember the cinema as a kid before digital et al, and the girls at the front serving tubs of ice cream in the intermission whilst they changed film reels.) I tried just finding a random seat that was unoccupied, but ended up treading on some poor geezer's head on the floor. F*ck it - I decided just to crash on the floor of the ferry somewhere else. Actually slept fine but it was 2 am by then and the ferry geared up for docking at 5 am, so it wasn't the longest night's sleep. So if you book a seat either take a torch, or get there before they kill the lights. Even better - don't bother, take some eye cover thingies that they hand out on long haul flights, some ear plugs and crash where you fancy. It's a big ship with lots of places to sleep and without a cacophony of snoring old farts.

Off the boat I managed to get at least 2 miles before it started raining - so back went on the overalls. Arse! The beemer seems to come with its own personal rain cloud. I ended up heading 400 miles pretty well due south and the weather was unusually identical the whole journey - intermittent sun and torrential showers. Not exactly warm either - I wished I had the Tuareg. I did take the overalls off just briefly near Saumur (in the Loire) as it gave the impression of brightening up. I was rewarded within minutes with a torrential downpour, some associated expletives and a rapid re-donning of gear. Already I am fed up with winter gloves that you just cannot get on your hands when they have an atom of water on - and thirty pairs in the panniers doesn't help either. So I am just wearing the summer gloves. Why can't one of the manufacturers put a gore tex liner in that is attached in the fingers of the outer glove? Is it that hard?

There are (should be) two types of day on the bike: One where you don't go far but you see a lot and one where you get the miles in, but forgo detours for scenic fulfillment. It is always a mistake to mix them both as I did today. I figured I had all day so could happily dick around in the Loire for a few hours in the middle. Fine in theory but in practice it just makes it a really long day and when I lobbed up at Paul and Julia's at 6 pm I was wiped.

Having been around Tours previously I decided to detour round the western end of the Loire valley and noted that the road actually ran along its banks towards Saumur, where I fancied taking a look. Saumur was nice, but not amazingly so - you're just spoilt for choice in France. I spent maybe an hour there before heading to Fontevenarde d'Abbaye about 10km west of there. The rain showers caused mini flash floods down the hills and at one stage I cowered under some shop awning. I may as well go to the Sahara - it would probably rain anyway. They should send me on the bike to areas needing rain - forget rain dances, me 'n' the bike are real deal.

Paul and Julia's place is in the heart of rural France and is stunning, as you can see from the picture. Great to see them.

In the morning I am heading into Uzerche with then to check out a retro-Auto jumble and more importantly the town itself which sounds worth a visit.

I think next stop will be Carcassonne where I will camp.


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