Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tour de Loire Valley - Monday

It was a much more pleasant night for sleeping, no need for the fan.  
We started the day with breakfast on the move. The barge headed off at 8am.  We had 2 locks to go through before we started our day of riding at about 10.30. It is such a simple, but effective system of boat movement through the canals.  

It took only 5 minutes to empty and we were off into the lower part of the canal.
Before the 3rd  lock, the bikes were unloaded, and the barge lowered to head off to pass through another 10 locks for the day.
Onto the bikes, ouch, the bum was a little sore. Today's journey was to be 45km.
Easy riding early to a village called La Charite(?). A morning tea stop here. Another Cathederal,1200s.  Some parts of this one were destroyed in a fire, so housing has been built around it (a long time ago)
A visit to the Boulangier for morning tea 
Getting better at selfies
We ride along and cross the Loire River many times, but the barge goes along the canal nearby.
It has been much drier in this area this year so much less water flowing in the Loire.
Many of the towns are fairly quiet. It is the summer vacation for schools.  Also many towns have suffered from centralisation, not much employment for young people.

Our lunch stop was at Pouilly, which is the home of Sauvignon grapes. All sauvignon vines come from here, even those in NZ and Australia.  We visited a winery for tasting of their Fume. It was a very good presentation of wine growing and wine making.  We went into the Aroma cellar where we were able to smell the different bouquets of wine. Very interesting

Tree trimming, French style.

Bike ride back to the barge about 4. A welcome sight once again. 5 minutes down the road to another winery, Sancerre for more tasting.  They provided some goats cheese, which was amazing. 1 was 1 day old, one 3 days old and the other 3 weeks old. All very different but great.

Our guide, Jan, is Swedish.  He has guided this tour 28 times. Age 50. 
Stefan and Florence (and their son Gabrielle 10 yrs who is having this year out of school)
live on the barge for the summer season.  In the winter, they are on their own boat. They don't feel comfortable living on land.
Tomorrow, plenty more kms to cover, only one big gradual climb to start with which will take us about 40 mins to get to the top!  To use your expression Janet, a munter of a grunter.  Today, we had a fairly steep climb which tested the legs. But we made it!  
We have just had an evening walk around town, no photos as it was a bit dim. We don't eat until 7.30 each night.  A bit different to the last one in Amsterdam where dinner was 6pm every night.
Pam and Wendy, the towels on this barge are pretty good.

All good fun. Bye for now

1 comment:

  1. Yep that's right a munter of a grunter when the hill is hard, but it beomes a munter of a sootie grunter when you start thinking thoughts like the road road engineer is an idiot for making the hill so steep!