We made it! Cycled 774 miles. Hendaye to Roscoff.
Having been cycle tourists for the last three weeks we’re reverting to type and becoming pissed Brit tourists ?
Decided we just want to carry on cycle touring Europe. I’m just wondering how long it would be before work noticed I wasn’t there and stopped paying me ?
Distance today: 31.1
Total distance: 754.3
Disasters: 1 – Sarah’s mudguard fell off…
Today started with a hearty breakfast served by our friendly hotel owner. The hotel was slated on tripadvisor but we liked it – for no other reasons than he was friendly and the shower was great.
We rejoined our route which now changed from canal to a “green route” which means mud and gravel paths. Again the scenery was beautiful but we made slow progress because the paths were soft and very slippy in places.
All was good until the rains came at about 2pm. At this point we were only 4 miles from Morlaix so a decision was made to stop here for the night to see the bad weather out. This made it a short day but we’re in no rush as the ferry isn’t till Friday.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Morlaix & it’s large viaduct while our tent is drying in the hotel bathroom. With only 15 miles to go tomorrow really should be our last day cycling
Distance today: 55.4
Total distance: 723.2
Perfect start to the day – warm clean dry hotel room. Only problem is the room stinks – probably because everything we own now stinks. Sarah isn’t happy about this and stars having some deva like behaviour demanding some new clothes & wanting to burn the old ones. Luckily no shops were on route ?
Easy miles in the morning dispite some stiff legs. The route continued on the Nantes-Brest canal which again was beautiful. Lunch was a fromage baguette by La Blavet, a large resovoir.
We continued down the canal till a “route ferme” sign. The “deviation” went up a serious hill so Sarah decided to ignore the signs. Beautiful route & no problems until the route was blocked by a guy with a mini-digger digging the route up ! Sarah used her feminine charm and persuaded him to move the digger and let us past.
About the 40 mile mark we’d run out of water and were getting seriously thirsty. There aren’t many cafes on route so we were happy to spot one of the lock keepers cottages was a cafe – problem was it wasn’t a cafe just some Brits drinking in the garden of their house. Anyway to cut a long story short they gave us water and several glasses of wine ? lovely people and they were southerners !
Wine fueled we easily made it to Carhaix & another hotel – campsite closed. Only one days cycling left to the finish
Distance today 69.9
Total distance 667.8
Miserable nights sleep due to heavy rain. We both woke early to find our super new tent had leaked. The rain made packing up difficult and delayed departure till 10am as everything was either wet or covered in mud or both.
It was slow going to begin with as the gravel paths were water logged. This ment everything got covered in a spray of muddy gravel. By lunch the rain had cleared and we began to appreciate all the beautiful scenery and the lock keepers houses that were immaculate and decorated with flowers.
We met two brits who told us about a good hotel at the 60 mile mark in Rohan. We detoured to the hotel but to our disgust it was permanently closed – ahhhh. To cut a very long story short this meant an extra 10 miles on to a hotel in Pontivy. 70 miles on gravel track after no sleep was a big day out for both of us – we will sleep well tonight…
Distance today 59.1
Total distance 597.9
Disasters zero ? (sorry Will)
Hotel starts are always easy as you don’t have to pack your tent and someone makes you breakfast. We were on the road by 9:45 having cleaned and oiled chains.
Navigating out of cities can sometimes be a nightmare but this was a lovely quick route. After 25 miles we joined the towpath of the Nantes – Brest canal. This was beautiful and ran for 35 miles to our camp site. The site is small but has benches which is always a bonus.
We didn’t find any shops on route so had to eat our emergency dried food packs + cheese and crisp sandwiches. Then showered & in bed by 8pm. We’ve decided that everything we own now stinks – even the new tent has a mouldy aroma. If all goes to plan we’ll complete the 760 miles in three days
Distance today zero
Total distance 538.8
Disasters zero ?
Today was a day off cycling – think we needed a day off !
We got up late & had a wander (without bikes) round Nantes. The highlight of our walk was the Machines de l’ile.
Les Machines de l’ile is an artistic and cultural project based in the old covered buildings of the former shipyards in Nantes that were at one time used for ship construction.
The Machines are created by two artists, François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice and aims to promote the city’s image and tries to “build an identity as a creative metropolis of dream and of fantasy”.
Anyway it was really interesting & we had a grand day out ? Back to cycling tomorrow.
Distance today 60 miles
Total distance 538.8
Disasters zero ?
We’ll we’ve cracked 500 miles today. The daily milage aren’t huge but I think we’ve done ok as we’re on heavy bikes with 20+ kg of stuff + food & water. We’re both feeling a little sore so tomorrow is a rest day in Nantes. We need some rest I think as it’s just gone 9pm & we’re in bed already !
The route changes from Nantes as it moves inland. The next time we’ll see the sea is at Roscoff. Hopefully more quiet roads and less sandy tracks. Just hope the weather holds. Need sleep – night night xx
Today’s milage 51
Total milage 478.8
The day started early with a to the shops to get breakfast but more importantly a 2 euro coin for the dryer as all our clothes were still wet.
Coffee and croissants in the cold morning air as the clothes dried then on the road by 9:30. The route was a mix of tarmac and gravel/sand paths that followed the coast except for some detours around salt marshes. The weather held until 2 miles out of Pornic when it started to rain. The dark clouds stretched to the horizon so a decision was made to get a hotel. Trivago was consulted and we found a place the Brit Hotel Les Alizes. The nice guy on reception told us of a decent restaurant & a nice night was had.
Today’s mileage 60
Total mileage 427.8
Woke to a sea mist this morning after a very cold night. The Aldi sleeping bag just isn’t up to single digit temperatures !
Several cups of coffee saw us on our way by 10am. Tarmac paths took us quickly to the large city of les Sables D’Olonne which was beautiful. From Sables we followed the coast on gravel/sand/mud paths which passed some beautiful houses. This section of the route is more populated than the southern section but there is still loads of space compared to the UK.
Found another lovely camp site on the coast. The site has washing machines * dryers so we decided to do all our washing before going out for food. After getting the correct coins from other campers we set the dryer going and went off for food. The nearest restaurant was part of a bowling alley – we were tired and hungry so went for it. It turned out to be a fantastic really up-market restaurant. The food was wonderful but the very camp waiter really didn’t like us. Maybe it was because we were really scruffy and were wearing clothes wed slept in the night before. Anyway great food but zero tip ?
On returning to the camp site we went to retrieve our dry washing. In hindsight the cool “delicates” cycle wasn’t the one to go for – all our clothes for tomorrow are still wet !
Today’s milage 48
Total milage 367.8
Woke up to brilliant sunshine and had a lazy start as we were both a little stiff after yesterday’s 70 miler. The Disasters of the day was Sarah not getting the best nights sleep because her new inflatable camping pillow had sprung a leak. Investigations in the shower showed it was beyond repair so a detour to decathlon in La Rochelle was planned.
La Rochelle was a beautiful city well worth a return visit. The cycle route through the city was not easy to follow – impossible without a gps.
After La Rochelle it was open farm land and canals. The cycle tracks were no longer smooth tarmac but gravel and mud. This made for the slow progress today. We arrived at a camp site after closing but we’re welcomed in – really nice people. The Municipal de La Biae is well worth a visit. They even have a special area for cyclists with benches
Today’s mileage 71.1
Total mileage 319.8
Desasters zero ?
Today was a game of two halves. Royan to Rochefort was beautiful with everything from rugged coast to salt marches. Again all on lovely smooth tarmac cycleways. Towards Rochefort this changed to mud track then industrial landscape – this was no fun, especially as sections were on road with big lorries. We returned to cycle path after Rochefort but this range beside a motorway so was far from idyllic. Finally found a nice camp site just short of La Rochelle. Over 70 miles for the day not bad !
Today’s mileage 0 – rest day.
Total mileage 248.7
Today’s disasters 1
The forecast was pretty miserable for today so we decided Royan would be good for a rest day.
Just did tourist stuff today so really not much to say. Royan is a lovely seaside town and we had a good wander round.
The only disaster today was opening the door of a new style auto cleaning public toilet to see a French man having a shite. This was a deeply disturbing site that I cannot unsee…
Today’s milage 53.7
Total milage 248.7
Today’s disasters 2
Today started with the sound of rain again and it was cold – around 12°.
The first disaster of the day was leaving one of my cycling shoes out in the rain all night – again.
We quickly packed in a lul in the rain and put bikes and gear in the covered table tennis area while we had a croissant for breakfast. We set off north in light showers for the ferry at la Pointe de Grave.
We then did 30+ miles in forest wilderness with only a single tomato for sustenance – no shops anywhere. When we finally reached Montailvet we were starving and dived into the first cafe – a small surf bar called Williwood. We had a quality burger, frites and beer before continuing to the ferry. This is when the second disaster occurred – while putting my jacket on I felt a sharp pain in my finger – to cut a long story short I’d been stung by a wasp that was trapped in the lining of my jacket. I’ve never been stung by a wasp & it’s actually really painful with my finger swelling considerably.
With the sun on our backs and fueled by quality sports food sped off to make the 5pm ferry overtaking several eBike on route ?.
It was refreshing to see the French don’t go for health & safety crap an allowed all the bikes to ride onto the ferry. Strangely young and old all managed it without fatality! As Sunday is heavy rain we are hoteling tonight and may well have a rest day tomorrow.
Thanks for all your messages of concern following the wasp attack. Due to the high number of messages I can’t reply to all in person ?
It was touch & go for a while yesterday but I survived the night. The swellings down a little but it still feels like its been hit it with a hammer !
On a serious note it’s amazing how such a tiny amount of venom through a puncture too small to be seen can have such an affect the human body..
Miles today 50.3
Total miles 195
We both woke early (5:30) & decided to get going before the rain arrived. So in the dark we got packed up & took all our stuff to the shower blocks covered area to avoid the rain. Sarah opened the door of the child change area to find some random bloke asleep on the changing mat. He said hello and proceeded to smoke strange fags for an hour ! We let him get on with his strange morning habit and went for some breakfast.
We were on the road for 9 after remembering reception had my driving licence so we couldn’t leave till they opened- doh….
Another day of wonderful French countryside on traffic free cycle paths. The journey was broken in two halves by a half hour ferry ride from Arcachon to Cap Ferret. We nearly missed the 11am ferry but the lovely French people held the ferry for us and helped load our bikes !
Found another great camp site and had a fine meal of lentils with duck all washed down with cider. The missing green lighter has now been found – Sarah must have put it in my bag !
The rains come again so we’re now sitting in the laundry room charging phones and keeping dry
Ferry over the river…
Duck in lentils….
Largest Dunes in Europe…
Miles today 47
Total milage 144.7
Today we were woken early by rain & high winds. This did not encourage an early start, nor did the lack of hot coffee for Sarah ! This was because the new stove had been left out in the rain and would now only produce flames from the wrong holes! Sarah not happy.
The clouds cleared about 11:30 so we packed and were on the road by 12. Again we were treated to miles of traffic free road through beautiful forests. We stopped for another lunch of French cheese by a beautiful river. More hills today but we made good time covering 47 miles by 6pm.
Again a lovely camp site that is virtually empty. We threw the tent up and got the stove out for a cuppa. But guess which girl had left the lighter at the last campsite? Doh… So we then got back on the bikes & headed for the shops. So with new lighter and a now dry stove we had tea & a fine tinned paella (Dave & Lynn’s suggestion) Rain again tomorrow so must remember not to leave my cycling shoes outside again…
Milage today 56.7 miles
Total mileage 97.7
We woke to bright sunshine packed the tent and were on the road by 8:45. Today was a day of cycling through beautiful forests on traffic free cycle paths.
We had a 6 mile detour to get a new stove. It’s not ideal but was all we could find in a French supermarket.
Back on the route we had more woodland before the forest cleared at the beach and we came to a 5* campsite. We had a nice swim before our first hot meal of the holiday !
Beautiful traffic free cycle ways….
Hot food 🙂
Miles today 35.9
Total miles 41.5
So after our early morning dash from the caravan site we shouldn’t have camped in things got better after breakfast. The sun came out and we started to get some miles in. The French do cycle lanes well – not just a little bit of white paint down the side of a road but proper segregated cycle lanes. Cycling felt safe ? I won’t bore you with descriptions of the places we cycled through but just say they were pretty.
My only worry is that my dynamo hub isn’t working so I’m going to have to rely on plugging in at camp sites. I shall tinker with the wiring later – the amount of rain last night won’t have hepled it.
About 4pm we found a nice camp site near Ondres. The sun was shining so we got wet tent up & started to wash and dry stuff. Chores done we sat down to cook – pasta bolognaise. But we didn’t cook anything because some twat had forgotten part of the stove. Needless to say Sarah wasn’t impressed with cold pasta bolognaise from a can. I think I won her round with the pudding of mini Swiss rolls though ? The Internet services a wonderful thing & I’ve found a Decathlon on route so a new stove will be purchased tomorrow – or I’m a dead man walking…
Rough sea from last nights storm…
Harbour – can’t remember where…
A long day on trains and a missed connection saw us arrive at Hendaye about 11pm in the pouring rain.
We tried to find a hotel while having a quality meal from the train station vending machine. While in mid Trivago we were moved on by the police – they probably wanted to close the station. Their helpful hotel suggestions came to nothing so we struck out to find a camp site. After 5-6 miles of cycling we were losing patience so found a caravan park & pitched in a spare space …all by torch light in the rain.
After a poor nights sleep we got up early and started our journey.
Stopped at the first village for breakfast at a cafe.
A day on the trains…
A wet Sarah…
Breakfast after a cold wet night…
On boarding we noticed the pool was empty and covered. This was a clue to a expected rough crossing. It was and I spent most of the twenty hours crossing in my bunk with my eyes closed.
I have to say its been a very civilized way of getting to Europe when compared to the hassle of flying.
Next stage is trains to the border – this will test my limited Spanish ?
After a quick visit to Sarah’s 101 year old aunt we drove to Plymouth. The roads were busy & frequent heavy showers slowed progress – a long drive.
At Plymouth I phoned the storage company who were looking after the car & was told we’d be met by Olys sister & the car would be stored at a satellite depot. This turned out to be a luxury gated mansion on the cliff tops ! The photo shows the view over Plymouth sound the car has for three weeks !
The off to find our AirB&B for the night after a quick pint in Spoons