Looks like getting up late is becoming a feature of this trip. Today, it was about 9:30 before we were washed and dressed. The day started grey and drizzly, so we decided it would be a good idea to visit the Chateau in Saumur before we left. The hotel were awkward about extending the checkout time (in fact they were awkward from start to finish) so it was a slightly express visit. I’d been encouraged by the online description of the place having received large amounts of renovation finance over the recent years, so expected it to look good, but it turned out a large part of the ramparts had collapsed, and the whole thing nearly fell down, so the money was for shoring it up. The work was very much still in progress, so there was very little of the chateau to see, just a couple of ground floor rooms with no furniture. I’m sure the place will look amazing again in the future but for the moment it is only good to see it from the outside.
We had to skip breakfast to see the chateau, so once we were on the road, we had to make a supermarket the first port of call. Once stocked up, we sat outside and devoured breakfast (by this time it was about 12pm), then set off on our way. Today it was all vineyards. The route wound through little roads amongst the vines, mixed with fields of wheat and sunflowers. The wheat fields were scattered with poppies which was incredibly picturesque.
We also passed hundreds of Troglodyte caves, mostly incorporated now into people’s gardens, but stopped in one that was used as a stone sculptors studio (not clear if he was just hacking bits out of the back of the studio or getting it from elsewhere). On leaving, we turned the corner and there was a bigger complex of caves with a bar built into one of them. The owner turned out to be English so we had a nice chat with him over coffee, and then set off again.
Once again we passed wine tastings so felt obliged to stop for a sample. One was a tiny little farm with a lovely old chap who didn’t speak English at all, so we fumbled our way and tasted his only product from 2008, which was very agreeable. Being on the bikes means it is impossible to buy something, but in this case he was also selling Jus de Rasin, so we brought a bottle and immediately decanted it into our water bottles for the remainder of the journey, and it was very good indeed.
The late afternoon was great, the weather had improved and the sun was shining, golden corn, bright red poppies, idyllic countryside, what more could you ask for. I stripped to the waist, rolled up the cycling shorts, and revelled in the sheer decadence of it!
We decided that we would not make Tours by the evening, so stopped at the supermarket and stocked up for an evening picnic, either to be had on the banks of the river, or at a Chambre d’hÃ´te which we hoped to find for the evening. We found a great spot in Behremont but thought we might cycle slightly further to Langeais, and so did, this time racing each other over the final 6km. I won!
We found a small hotel, the Chambre d’hÃ´te in the town appeared to not be open, or at least no one answering the door or the telephone numbers given. A basic hotel, much so compared with the last few nights but just as functional. We skipped the shower, quickly changed, and dashed out into the evening sunshine with the provisions. The best spot in town was the steps of the patisserie right opposite the chateau, bathed in evening sun. We set up camp and much to the bemusement of the locals tucked into our meal of salad, cold meats and cheese, washed down with red wine. One of the simplest and best meals we’ve enjoyed so far!
Tomorrow we’ll tackle Tours, stop by Patrick and Judiths house and meet their neighbours, and then travel onwards towards Orleans.
Miles covered today: 45
Total miles covered: 415
Executive Summary: Film sets are sometimes real, and the simple things in life can be some of the best.