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    • Day16

      Chinon an der Vienne

      August 30, 2022 in France ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Wir überlegten kurz ob wir Tours besuchen, aber irgendwie hatten wir bei der Hitze keine Lust auf eine Stadt mit über 130.000 Einwohner. So entschieden wir uns in den kleinen Ort Chinon zu fahren, wo wir für zwei Tage auf einem einfachen kommunalen Campingplatz landeten.

      Die Highlights unseres Aufenthaltes waren ein Bummel durch das kleine Städtchen Chinon sowie eine über 50 km lange Radtour mit einer tollen Einkehr in Candes-Saint-Martin an der Mündung der Vienne in die Loire. Leider führen zurzeit beide Flüsse nur wenig Wasser und so blickt man auf viele Sandbänke. Auch ansonsten ist es erschreckend zu sehen wie viele Mais- und Sonnenblumenfelder hier in der Region total vertrocknet sind. Ich befürchte ein Großteil der Ernte wird hier der Hitze zum Opfer fallen 😥.
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      So schön, dann habt ihr bestimmt auch die Weine der Gegend probiert? Auf dem Schlossweingut Chateau Petit Thouars bei St.Germain-sur-Vienne hatten wir 2019 unseren ersten Workaway-Einsatz gemacht - und in Chinon das Weinfest (Degustation) erlebt. Sehr tolle Gegend (auch die - teilweise noch bewohnten - Höhlenwohnungen bei Montsoreau und Turquant). Und besonders beeindruckt waren wir von den unterirdischen Steinbrüchen "le mystère des faluns" in Doué-la-Fontaine. Saumur und Montreuil-Bellay lohnen ebenfalls einen Abstecher. Viel Vergnügen.

      Liz und Thomas on tour

      Deine Tipps kommen leider ein wenig zu spät 😥. Heute morgen haben wir die Gegend verlassen ohne die Höhlenwohnungen gesehen zu haben und sind nun am nordwestlichsten Zipfel der Normandie. Aber wir waren bestimmt nicht zum letzten Mal in dieser schönen Gegend. Weiter geht es (ganz langsam) an der bretonischen Küste Richtung Süden. Über Tipps freuen wir uns immer 👍. Habt ihr schon Pläne für den Herbst und Winter?


      Wir sind just heute zu unserer großen Tour aufgebrochen: Südwestfrankreich (mit Paddeln auf Tarn, Lot und Dordogne im Sept), Nordspanien im Okt, Portugal im Nov, Marokko zum Überwintern, ....openend. Leicht möglich, dass die Wege sich wieder kreuzen. Bezüglich Bretagne: In unserem Blog hats viele Einträge zu unserer Bretagne-Reise 2019.

      Liz und Thomas on tour

      Da haben wir ja ganz ähnliche Pläne. Nordspanien im Oktober und Portugal im November ist auch ganz grob unser Plan. Da werden sich unsere Wege sicherlich nochmals kreuzen 😁. Wir wünschen euch eine tolle Reise!

    • Day33

      The Rain Starts but we Stay Dry

      September 22, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      It had to happen at some stage. It is not possible to conduct an extended 5 week ride through France without encountering rain somewhere along the line. Or is it ???

      Not only was today the first day of the European autumn, but it also brought the first sounds of heavy rain that we had heard since we arrived in France over 4 weeks ago. I would have been even more concerned if the rain had been falling during the daytime. At 3 am we were all snug and dry in our giant beds in the Grand Monarque Hotel. The rain was of little consequence to us at that time, but it did suggest that maybe the weather patterns were finally about to change.

      By breakfast time the skies were still grey and the rain was still falling steadily. At times like this. those of little faith are inclined to run around like chickens and seek out every layer of clothes they can find. I chose to enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet instead.

      At 9.30 I assembled the team and looked at them with astonishment. They looked more like a line of umpa lumpas than elite Ghostriders. The Queensland contingent looked particularly noteworthy as they were draped in multiple layers of plastic, parkas, scarves, waterproof pants and shower caps. They could hardly move in that sort of ridiculous getup, let alone ride their bikes. Anyone would think that rainwater was toxic. Some of the others looked almost as silly (but not quite).

      I tried to tell them that the rain had already passed over and that the skies were getting clearer. They didn't believe me. All I could do was warn them not to have an accident when all their unnecessary clothing got caught on the seat and/or chain.

      Fortunately the first stop of the day was only a short distance from Azay le Rideau and we managed to complete it without getting wet at all. Unfortunately Gerry did not manage to safely dismount from his bike without getting one of his seven layers of clothing wrapped around his seat post. The next 10 minutes were spent bandaging Gerry's nasty leg wounds and trying to staunch the flow of blood. (I should clarify that it was the wounds that were nasty, not Gerry's legs).

      We finally managed to park the bikes and enter the amazing Maurice Defrenne Museum. This incredible collection was assembled over a period of 60 years by the incredible butcher turned collector. I had visited the place twice previously and been staggered by the range and uniqueness of the items that he had found. It is the sort of place that you could spend hours just wandering. It even includes a fully restored guillotine ! The massive building itself is also worthy of mention, as it was a mill that Maurice Defrenne had relocated and reassembled to house his collection.

      While we were inside the rain started falling again. The timing was perfect. By the time we were ready to leave, the rain had stopped again. In fact it never appeared again for the remainder of the day. It could not possibly have been planned any better. It was actually a welcome relief to be able to ride in cool and overcast conditions.

      Our destination for the day was the medieval city of Chinon. After successfully getting the whole team safely down a parlous descent, we turned into a narrow, cobblestoned street to take us to the old part of the town. I could not believe my ears when I heard music wafting towards us. Even more remarkable was the fact that the song that was being played was one of my favourites - "I am a man of constant sorrow". Contrary to popular belief, that song is not the lament of a long distance cyclist with an uncomfortable seat, but it is the main track from the movie "Oh Brother Where Art Thou ?" Great blue grass music runs through the entire movie, but it was a surprise to hear it being played here.

      It turned out that we had arrived in Chinon just as they were enjoying a special weekend of free outdoor music. All over the town performers were playing in the streets and the atmosphere was amazing. We were even more thrilled to find that our hotel was right in the middle of the old town and that we would be able to enjoy the music, just by opening our windows.

      What was not so popular was the fact that the rooms in the historic building were tiny, the staircases were narrow and (or course) there was no lift. Gordon and Sue had been strategically located on the top floor. For some reason Gordon was NOT happy. It was quite a contrast to the spacious rooms we had all loved the previous night, but such is the serendipity of travel.

      After checking into our rooms we wandered the city, admiring the ancient buildings and listening to the performers. One guy in particular held the audience spellbound as he simultaneously played the guitar, drums, cymbals and mouth organ. It was a performance worthy of the cheers and applause he received. In fact it was a highlight of the trip so far.

      Another highlight was our evening meal at the Les Annees 30, surely one of the best restaurants in the city. Their food and service was exceptional and the building was magical. It had been a superb day (and none of us got the slightest bit wet).
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      The World on Two Wheels

      This was actually a travelling dentist's van. His family lived in the front part of the covered section, while he practised his dentistry in the back.

    • Day37


      November 12, 2022 in France ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Unser Energielevel betreffend Bordbatterie ist in den letzten Tagen stetig gesunken, es war zeitweise trübes Wetter und den letzten Ruhetag haben wir unter Bäumen verbracht. In der Früh zeigt die Anzeige 32% und wir entscheiden uns heute weiter Richtung La Rochelle zu fahren, die Batterie wird dann wieder voll beladen. Mittags legen wir einen Zwischenstopp in Cinon ein und besichtigen unserer letzte Burg entlang der Loire- diese liegt an einem Fluss la Viene das heißt Wien. Um 14 Uhr fahren wir weiter Richtung La Rochelle begleitet von der Sonne......Read more

    • Day24

      Boussiere to Chinon. 55 km

      September 28, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Lesson for today...just because it says 'Euro Velo' doesn't mean it's the best way forward.

      We took our time again this morning, enjoyed the fresh (always) croissants and bread, fresh preserves, fruit, coffee and juice. (heard Monsieur drive in from the boulangerie before we were up).

      One km down the road to Gennes and we follow the 'velo reparation' sign. Daryl's make-do gears have been complaining. A great bike shop with a guy who knew the ropes did the trick. Out he comes with a new shifter installed...firing on all cylinders again🤸🤸! So even tho it's already noon and we've gone 1 km.... we stop for coffee ☕.

      Okay now, let's get rolling. But first we must stop to get bread and wine for lunch. And Daryl needs new sunglasses - having sat on one pair and breaking another up on his head. Significant avoidance behaviour today.

      Okay now, let's get rolling...really! But speed isn't happening on the rolling (aka hilly) countryside. The bike route takes us off the river...just a bit, but... Lovely views for sure but we study the map hard over lunch in a park just outside Saumur, beside La Loire channel.

      Finally get some clics under our belt. Saumur is a totally cute medieval town. We have to keep going however since we have a place booked in Chinon 30+ km away yet (playing it safe after yesterday 😄). Taking the road less traveled keeps us right beside the Loire and thru some great parks, forests, and outskirts of towns...real living. Past troglodyte caves and wineries. One particularly bumpy route to avoid a hill into town... not sure we saved any time but very scenic.

      We'll hang our hat in Chinon for 2 nights. Back to the best western, Hotel de France. Castle just above us, room right on the square...the better to find a rejuvenating biere after our 55 km 😋.
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    • Day25

      A Day Off...

      September 29, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C it's all relative. But cycling can be hard work you know 🤑.

      First, we had to wash our socks. A wonderful lady showed us the drill at the laverie. The money goes in here...soap pops out on the opposite wall over there. Who knew??

      Next, a walk instead of a bike ride. Did the town of Chinon up right. Cool medieval buildings, worn cobble roads, Vienne River walkway. Noticeable number of empty shops but Wilfrid is waiting to cut your hair 💇‍♂️.

      Then up to the castle fortress 🏰. The real deal here. Huge thick rock walls, catapults and crossbows, moats, towers, narrow firing windows. Joan of Arc presented to King Charles VII here.

      Back in the town a sidewalk biere is in order since the wine tasting places we looked for are closed. Leffe est tres bon. Buy lunch at the epicerie to have at our rooftop terrace (all to ourselves) with rose wine of the region.

      Now a nap is in order 😴 Been a tough day and you don't know when we'll get the chance again....

      Dinner reservation at Restaurant Cote Jardin. - a Rick Steves recommend. It was choc-a-bloc last night and almost empty tonite. Go figure. Fantastic meal in a cool old building.

      Finish with a nightcap in the sitting area outside our room. Up and at 'em tomorrow...back in the saddle first thing 🙃.

      PS. Haven't talked about the weather today. That's because it's gorgeous and not an issue 😄. 26 degrees and sunny.
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    • Day5

      Tours à Chinon. 75km

      April 19, 2021 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

      Je décolle de chez Cyp vers 10h30 et fais voile vers Chinon. Il fait beau, longer la Loire est un plaisir. J'arrive à Chinon en fin d'après-midi directement au niveau des remparts du Château, la ville est en contrebas.
      J'arrive chez ma couchsurfeuse Alienor.
      Je me joins à eux pour l'apéro, ensuite repas araignées de mer et soirée avec les voisins.
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    • Day6

      Chinon. Chez Aliénor. Partie 1

      April 20, 2021 in France ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Il fait bon vivre ici dans cette maison de campagne que Aliénor et son frère viennent d'hériter. Il y règne comme une ambiance d'auberge espagnole avec tous les voisins.
      Elle me propose de rester, ce qui n'est pas pour me déplaire.
      Pêche, apéro, troglodyte, potager, soirées, rando dolmen, couscous, et retapage du jardin.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Bessé, Besse

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