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Published: September 10th 2019
Breakfast was downstairs and was laid out on the table with fresh fruit, cold rice pudding, breads, lots of home made jams, granola, ham , cheese and cake. The owner came across and made us coffee and sat and talked to us. He said the weather had been very variable. In May it was below freezing at one stage and in June above forty degrees. The cold rice pudding with the granola was surprisingly nice and we had plenty to eat. But no 'yoghurt to go'. ( If there are individual yoghurts we pick up a couple to have with nuts later. It can be surprisingly difficult to find individual yoghurts in supermarkets).
We didn't rush to move on as check out wasn't until eleven o'clock and again we had less mileage. It was quite grey and cloudy today but we were warm enough if we kept moving. We only travelled a few miles on our journey before we back to the Loire and we stayed close to it for the next twenty miles. Paul had found where there was a Supermarket on route so at Gennes we went slightly off route to the Super U Supermarket. When I came out Paul was talking to another touring cyclist who was left minding the bikes whilst his wife shopped. They had started at La Rochelle and were working their way up to Caen. They were surprised how cold it was getting as they headed north. I think it's much better to head towards the warmth. They had masses of luggage with them and Paul said they weren't camping.
We stopped in the tiny hamlet of Canualt further along the river for a picnic lunch. Despite being a very small place its church, Notre Dame, was massive and quite impressive. Apparently its the largest Romanesque church in France without a transept. We were even graced with the sun for a little while.
After Saumer we headed away from the river and towards Fountevraud L'Abbey, through forests and slightly uphill. Just before we arrived there we heard voices behind and it was Martine and Rob, the couple we had been speaking to last night and they said they had also booked for Loudun tonight. They carried on while we did a slight detour to have a quick look at the Abbey. Fountevraud L'Abbey is Europe's largest Monastic complex and is the resting place of 15 Plantagenets including Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry 11 and Richard the Lionheart. We couldn't see too much of it without paying to go in but I got a few photos. We carried on up the next incline and stopped at the picnic area for yoghurt and nuts and saw that across the road was a view point which gave a wonderful view of the Abbey. More photos.
From here to Loudon was twelve miles of Roman road which was very straight, except for one kink, to get round a steep bit. Approaching the top there was a strange smell in the air and we could see a factory behind the trees. This turned out to be a Mushroom Farm. This is a big mushroom growing area as they grow well in the limestone caves. We could see Loudun church spire from nine miles away. Those last few miles seemed to take forever. The soire didn't seem to get any closer. It was being on a treadmill, pedals turning but going nowhere. Eventually we entered Loudon and easily found the hotel which again looked much better inside than out. The receptionist spoke no English but we have enough French to get by. We had to put the bikes in the conference room.
Being Monday we searched on the internet to see which restaurants would be open as many close on Mondays. There were only about three open. After a walk round we found the Chinese restaurant and went in. The first people we saw were Martine and Rob and we had another talk to them after the meal. We both had chicken dishes with rice and the food was good and very cheap. As we left and walked home it was raining but we would rather it rained over night than during the day.
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