Sunday we left Pauillac heading north to the end of the peninsula. The Gironde river remained a large muddy river all the way to the mouth. The vineyards ended and the land was used for pasture. The villages on the peninsula got smaller and smaller and further apart. We stopped in a convenience store/bar for lunch and it was clearly the only social outlet around. A goat owner/cheese maker was there with his herding dog, a local fisherman was telling stories about his boat, a young man described the accident which ruined one side of his car, other locals came and went, and we listened as we ate our bread, salami and cheese. At the end of the peninsula, we took a ferry across the river mouth to Royan. The ferry ride was rough since there was a large swell coming in the river mouth and the wind was howling in off the ocean. We stayed the night in Royan and the town was hopping with tourists. There is apparently some good surfing nearby as we saw a couple of familiar surfing stores in town, Quicksilver and O'Neill's. Wandering about looking for a place to eat dinner we came on an Indian restaurant. Well it was a no brainer! We hadn't had anything truly spicy in quit a while. It was wonderful and left our mouths tingling. Monday morning we left Royan with the goal of La Rochelle. However, we got lost just north of Royan and added an extra 10 kms getting back on track. We passed some delightful houses in the countryside along the way.
We decided to end the day in Rochefort after 65 kms. After a good night's rest, we headed out Tuesday morning to finish the ride to La Rochelle. We had a strong headwind the whole way, but the small towns on the way provided some relief.
La Rochelle has a lot of maritime history and was passed back and forth between England and France many times as English and French rulers changed. It was well known for it's fortifications and inaccessibility during low tide. We approached the towers protecting the old port just at low tide.
Tomorrow we will take a day off the bikes to explore the maritime museum and other attractions of La Rochelle.