Above is today’s slightly poor mileage record, but it’s worth it. Read on.
Check out the pictures (click the link below the map to find the images) of a particularly fine meal and unexpectedly cute pussy!
And now the explanation!
Short day, long story. The day started off like all others – difficulty getting out of bed and getting going, but by 10:40 we were on the move. The weather cloudy but brightening quickly to give a pleasing warmth and the glorious feeling of sun on the skin.
The cycling in this part of France is by far the best yet. The cycle paths are perfect, and the added contrast of hills not far from the banks of the river/canal add renewed interest to the scenery.
After a couple of hours and 20 miles of progress, we pulled off into a small town for a much needed (deserved) beer. Once sitting at the pleasant terrace table with beers in hand, looking at the river, Jones received a text from one of his old Peasmore mates asking if we had been able to contact ‘the big man’, Pascal. This is one of Jones’ old friends and cycling buddies, who lives in Chalon-surJones-Soane, not much further now along our route. He had been trying to contact him for several days, and as we wanted to take a side route to enjoy the best of the Burgundy wines, we knew we would detour around Chalon and stand the chance of missing him, even if we could contact him.
So the text comes in, which prompts Jones to make one last attempt to get hold of Pascal. This time, the call goes through and they start chatting. When the subject of where we could meet comes up, in turns out Pascal’s office is actually in the town we are sitting in, and he eats in the restaurant we are sat outside of on most days. Today he has decided to stay in the office while it is quiet. But now he knows that we are 2 minutes away, he comes straight over to meet us. Talk about bizarre coincidences.
So after catching up, introductions and the like (and being introduced to the English waitress, Kate), we talk of eating out in Nuit-St-Georges tonight, our intended destination. Except the beer count is going up, and Pascal then invites us to stay, and Jones and I throw the post-Basel route plan out of the window. Obviously the right thing to do. We are also joined by Pascal’s daughter Celine, who is here on holiday but working for the company that Pascal owns for the week.
So they need to go back to the office to tidy up for the day, and we agree to meet at Pascal’s house at the end of the day. That leaves an hour or two to kill, so Jones and I peddle along the canal at a snails pace, go slightly further than necessary and back track. But who cares, the sun is shining, we take in more of the delightful scenery and think that maybe we’ve been peddling too fast for too short a period. Maybe a slower pace for longer is a better way?
On arriving at the house, we arrive before Pascal and Celine, so enjoy the sunshine sitting on the terrace, whilst Jones reveals his scouser roots by breaking and entering in order to verify it is in fact Pascal’s house. Not that breaking was necessary, as security doesn’t appear to be one of Pascal’s strong points. A few minutes later everyone has arrived and after a quick trip to the local shop we are enjoying a beer and charcuterie on the terrace. Then we wash up and change for a jolly jaunt on the cycles (strange how they feel without baggage) to the nearby restaurant for a particularly spectacular Burgundian meal. Now this was kind of what I had in mind if we had made Nuit-St-Georges – blow out meal and fine Burgundy wines – but made all the more special by the company of good friends. Thank you Pascal and Celine for a memorable evening.
Miles Covered Today: 35, some of them in the wrong direction
Milestones Achieved: 800 miles, and a special meal
Executive Summary: You can plan all you like, sometimes the happy accidents and coincidences are what make for special memories