Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Day Five - Cholet - Central-Western France

After that rather eventful first day I decided to take it easy these first few weeks, to get a bit of cycling fitness up and, well, just because I can really. I've been aiming to do about 30-40 miles a day, slowly working my way down France. My overnight stops so far, map fans, have been: Combourg - Chateaugiron - Chateaubriant - Beaupreau. A typical day will look something like this:

9am (ish) - Wake up, remind myself where I am/what I'm doing. Read/watch French TV. Get up/ wash/ eat light breakfast/ stuff everything back into the pannier(s)/ look at map and decide which (medium sized) town to head for.
11am - Depart, start cycling. Stop occasionally for snacks/views/ photos.
2.30-3pm - Arrive at destination, look for Tourist Information. Ask them where the cheapest place to stay in town is. Discover there's no such thing as a 'cheap place to stay'.
4pm - Shower, dress in my 'off the bike wear', walk into town, take photos, scope out restaurants, look at the 'sights' (normally a castle of some description), find a nice looking bar, order a beer, sit down to write in my journal.
6pm - go back to Hotel (if it's nice - if not, stay in bar) for a lie down/read.
8pm - out for dinner. Although last night, I sneakily cooked in my room - much cheaper. Post-dinner stroll around town.
10pm - in bed!

So I'm sleeping quite a lot, riding a little, reading a lot, eating a bit, drinking a bit and just generally sort of chilling out. This lifestyle can't last though - if I keep staying in Hotels all through March I'll be skint by Spain and on the boat back from Bilbao when I get there. And, actually, I'd prefer a bit of camping, to be honest. For one, I'd actually start to use all this gear I'm lugging about. The cost is obviously also a factor, as are other small things. My bike, for example, spends it's time locked in garages. If I were camping I'd be able to potter about a bit - tighten and oil things, check spacings - during my post-dinner relaxation time. Just generally give it a bit of love. I'd also prefer, you may be surprised to learn, to be able to cook my own food. Finding a decent meal mid-afternoon is not an easy task, and a frustrating one when starving after a few hours on the bike.

Anyway - I'll stop moaning now. I have a decision to make - continue on the coast to my intended first stop - the Ile De Rè - and hope for cheaper accommodation, or retreat to my contact inland and see out March in some free accommodation.


  • At 9:20 pm, Anonymous Jev said…

    Right on! Well under way, looks like you're settling nice into an adventure of a life time... cheers and support from us here in the U.S. - keep on cycling, south is the way forward... hard shoulder camp sites rule! No need for alarm clocks!

  • At 10:53 pm, Blogger P. Dub said…

    Finding a decent meal mid-afternoon is not an easy task

    Not least because France shuts, innit. Just make like a knackered farm worker and some bar owner will take you through to the back and serve you up a nice cassoulet. Oh, sorry. You said decent.


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