Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Three days of countryside

We left Lucon on Saturday and have had three days of riding on small country roads and bike trails through farmland and small forested areas.

Since La Rochelle we have been in an old part of France with almost every village having a medieval church. When we see the steeple we know the next village is close. The weather has been cool and overcast with some light drizzle at times. On Sunday we continued north from Montaigu toward the Loire river. Two villages we passed through were having their annual fetes. The fete is a village party held sometime around July 14 and we seen posters advertising all sorts of entertainment at the different fetes. In the first village we were a little lost when we got to the main square. A group of four young men tried to help us, but they were so drunk they couldn't read the map. That was at 11:30 am and the rest of the village seemed to heading toward the same state of inebriation. In the second village, the fete seemed much more sedate and appeared to be a big luncheon at the park. This old Citroen was parked near where we ate lunch.

We got to the Loire river and crossed over the bridge to Ancenis at the end of day.

The Loire is France's biggest river and is 1000 kms long. It is deemed to be Europe's wildest river, since it is not dammed. The current is very strong and there are large islands and sand banks in the middle of the river and large levees along the sides.

We rode 66 km along the river on the bike trail on Monday and at one point were riding on one of the islands in the middle of the river.

We saw a lot of bicycle tourists on the bike trail and learned that that the trail originates in Nevers near the headwaters of the Loire and ends at the Atlantic ocean near St. Nazaire. We rode the bike trail all the way into Angers, our goal for Monday. There were some nice summer homes close to the city.

Angers has a marvelous chateau that is built on a location that has been fortified since Neolithic times. We will visit that and other wonders of Angers tomorrow.

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