It feels like a big day, so I thought I’d share it.
It began in a mezzanine bed space in the artists’ workshop of Couchsurf host extraordinaire Ilaria. Sleeping amongst her sculptures was inspiring. Some of her stuff exaggerates the female form in quite provocative ways. I feel it has something to say, and I was sad to see some pieces unsold, broken and gathering dust in there.
This second night was entirely unplanned, but the impromptu day off in La Rochelle was enjoyable and useful. There are some amazing buildings to see. The harbour is especially beautiful, but I also needed to pedal up to Decathlon for some bits and bobs. If Go Outdoors back home took nandrolone and EPO for a year, it would struggle to match this place for scale..
After a very comfortable night playing cards with the kids and talking cricket with the exiled Ian, I set off south, hoping to reach the Royan ferry shortly after lunch. But it wasn’t to be, and as usual navigation was the issue. I’ve also discovered that cycle paths seem to be the same the world over, and Velodyssee route 1 south of La Rochelle matches the worst of Sustrans anywhere for directness and surfacing. Anyway, I’m not on a Velodyssee, I’m on a mission- so give me Tarmac!(take note one well connected European reader of this blog!) So despite the sunshine and the following wind, I found my mood getting lower, and had to resort to a bit of Rule 5. Certainly finding that my petite amie back home has been posing for French road signs cheered me up no end. But trying to work out if this bridge at Rochefort was worth a categorised climb was not on the top of my list. Nor was finding myself in Middlesborough!
Eventually the ferry for the short hop across the Gironde steamed (dieseled?) into view, and the relaxed crossing calmed my nerves. Finding myself surrounded by forest and knowing I could slip invisibly between the trees for an undisturbed night added to my chilled outlook. Finally content, with fresh, plump mussels bubbling on the stove, eaten to a full moon, and to rest in a perfectly pitched tent.
A woman in the post office told me that Medoc wine is the best in France, so if you find me even more relaxed tomorrow, you’ll know why. Goodnight.