Eurovelo 6 РDay 16 РVerdun-sur-le-Doubs to Besan̤on

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Ok, so it turns out that yesterday was not exactly the most unpleasant day. At least the sun was shining. After yesterday’s ‘maladie’ I felt much better this morning. Jones had spent the night taking issue with the decoration of the bathroom, but things appeared to have calmed down by the time we’d both had breakfast. We had obviously suffered from the same germ but in completely different ways (well in fact in the same way but at different ends). Sorry if this is too graphic for you, but in the interests of full disclosure.

We were happy to be on the road again, and with a slightly grey sky, kind of thankful it wasn’t going to be too much of a scorcher. We were still following the Soane, and then this turned into the Rhone-Rhine canal taking us ever closer to the Swiss border. Excellent cycling, flat all the way, lovely scenery, not a car in sight. All was well when we stopped for a lunchtime break, a quick beer by the river (just to test out the intestinal integrity before giving it anything more nutritious to deal with). And then it started. Drips at first, building to a steady drizzle. Time to move on, we are hard enough for this! On with the jumpers and the rain coats, I even switched to the seal-skin socks. We were set. Well, set for a few minutes of light rain. It didn’t take long before all the so called waterproofs failed to live up to their names and we were soaked. This went on for a good 2 hours or more. We finally slopped our way into Dole at about 3:30 and took respite in a cafe for a coffee. Then it stopped raining.

Whilst we dried out, I dashed off in search of Le Taverne au Saumon, which according to the restaurant listings still existed. This was one of the most memorable meals that Mel and I ever had, for all the wrong reasons. Witless staff and a general air of Fawlty Towers best sums it up, we were certain it would have gone out of business. But here it was, still apparently trading, looking exactly the same as it had done what must have been 7-8 years ago. I must apologise to Dole as well, for the obvious jokes about unemployment, you have many redeeming features, and the birth place of Louis Pasteur, so can’t be all bad.

Off we went again, this time under grey but indifferent skies. The afternoon faired better, staying mostly dry with only the odd shower. Going by the wetness of the roads, it appeared we were lucky, with the rain passing before us as the roads were certainly wetter than we were. We stopped to chat at one point to another touring couple heading in the other direction. Warwick and Claudia, he originally from the UK, and she from California (he too now) were trying to look dapper despite the rain. No apparent expense spared on the cycling kit and outfits, all flown over from the USA for the trip, Basel to Chalon-sur-Soane. Claudia was riding an electric bike, and Warwick was being a gentleman and carrying a spare battery! Alright for some. They were then swapping land for river in Chalon for a cruise down to the med. I’ll be lucky if I get to share a train with Jones as my reward!

More changes of scenery as we passed Dole, rocky outcrops appearing along the side of the route, and at one point a 100 meter long old railway tunnel to peddle through. Not that I could see where I was going. If there had been a hole in the ground I would have disappeared straight down it! As we approached Besançon, more hills popping up along the route until we are winding through an obvious river valley, wooded hillsides rising steeply either side with only the odd house or stoney outcrop to break the blanket of green.

Despite the rain, the scenery has been stunning today, and such a shame that we didn’t get to see it at it’s best. I lost count of how many miles we covered on perfect cycle paths along side the water, far more than the 32 miles we raved about the other day. Must come back again!

Mel and I had stopped in Besançon in March on the way to skiing in the alps, and I immediately started to recognise places we’d seen. It’s a lovely old town, although the large university population seems to take it’s toll, but to be honest I don’t think it’s the students causing trouble. There always seems to be a lot of losers and drops outs on the streets, and tonight was no exception.

We had some difficulty finding a hotel, as it quickly became apparent that there was a big event in town and most places were booked. We eventually chanced on a 3-star that had one room left and the higher than normal rate was a bit gauling but necessary given the hour and our dampness. What made it worse was on getting to the room there was only one double bed, despite a request for a twin. The staff were unhelpful, take it or leave it, although it may have been something to do with Jones’ gruffness that they chose that stance. Luckily, the double turned out to be made from two singles, and a quick rearrangement of the linen meant we had separate beds. Washed, dressed, simple but pleasing meal, and now time for bed. Will we crack the 1000 tomorrow?

Miles Coved Today: 83

Milestones Achieved: 900 miles

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