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  • Day29

    A New Bike and a Beaver in Blois

    September 18, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Ever since my unfortunate crash, way back in Sancerre, I had been having trouble mounting the bike. It is not easy to throw your hind leg over the seat when you have limited mobility in your knee. Each time I tried to mount the bike in the conventional way, not only was it ungainly, but I felt like I was in imminent danger of ending on the ground in another ugly tangled pile of bike and person.

    There is a very practical advantage to the low bar "unisex design" that is so popular in Europe. Not only can it be used by people of either sex, but it is much safer for anyone with a flexibility issue. I happen to qualify on both counts.

    Blois happens to be the location of the head office of Loire Valley Travel - the operator who supplied our bikes. They had already arranged for one of their bike mechanics to service all our bikes before we left the hotel. That gave me a thought.

    "Would it be possible to exchange my bike for a low bar bike ?", I asked.
    "My bike has a broken headlight because some idiot fell off it", I added.
    I was very pleased when the reply was in the affirmative.

    About 90 minutes later all the bikes had been checked, adjusted, lubricated and, best of all, I had been supplied with a replacement step through bike. I practised mounting and dismounting. It was sheer bliss. Gael had also swapped her bike for a similar step through and was also rejoicing loudly.

    It was while we were gathered by the Pont Charles de Gaulle (aka Big Bridge), that we made a wonderful observation. Down in the river there was a strange animal swimming and cavorting with the ducks. Was it a rat ? Was it a cat ? No, it was a beaver !!!! The women all squealed with delight. It was like watching Wind in the Willows. It really was a big beaver, and he even swam right over to our bank of the river to show off his swimming skills. It was magical way to start our day's ride.

    Although the weather was cooler than we had been used to, it still showed no sign of rain and the bike mechanic assured us that the freshening breeze was actually a tail wind. What a perfect start to a day's ride.

    I happily jumped on my new bike and off we went. Our destination for the day was Amboise, about 45 km downstream. Although 45 km does not sound like far, I well remembered that the previous times I had ridden this route we had been battered by the twin demons of hills and head winds. Although the hills were still there, it was amazing just how much easier life is when the wind is coming from behind you.

    The second part of the ride is across an elevated and exposed plateau and the tail wind really was a wonderful gift. Although the cycling conditions were amazing, a "domestic disagreement" between Maggie and me threatened to put an untimely end to our 45 year marriage. I guess the stresses of the last four weeks had to find an outlet sooner or later.

    Fortunately the atmosphere cleared later in the day and we were able to join the rest of the team for an absolutely divine dinner at "L'Alliance" restaurant. Everything about that place was incredible. It would have almost been worth the price of the trip, just to experience that food again. Many declared it was the best dinner they had ever had.

    Our home for the next two nights is the "Clos "D'Amboise", a magnificent 17th century mansion that has been converted to a 4 star hotel. It is a wonderful way to experience some of the style that the wealthy of that era enjoyed. I had one of my best night's sleeps since the trip began. Tomorrow is a free day to allow our team to explore this wonderful city where Leonardo da Vinci lived out his final years.
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  • Day26

    Enjoying our Day of Rest in Orleans

    September 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Even in a large cosmopolitan city like Orleans, Sundays are quite different from every other day of the week. We have become so accustomed to shops being open 7 days a week, that there is something refreshing about a country that still has enough self belief to put family life ahead of non stop commerce.

    Our rest day in Orleans happened to coincide with the traditional "day of rest" in France. As we walked the streets near our hotel, we found them almost deserted. Most of the shops were shut and shuttered. It even looked like the huge articulated trams that had been passing back and forth every few minutes on the previous day, had also stopped running. In fact we did not see a single tram all day.

    Fortunately the coin laundry was open and we made good use of its facilities to catch up on all our laundry backlog. This is always a very important survival skill when you are undertaking an extended bike ride. We returned to our hotel with our laundry bags full fo freshly laundered clothes and a feeling of relief that we would be able to cope for the next few days at least.

    We did not have any ambitious plans for the remainder of our time in this city. While some choose to frantically rush hither and fro, looking at every major historical site, we are not that type of tourist. I even avoid those well known "hop on, hop off" bus services, as I really hate being crammed together with a crowd of people, all wearing those dreadful headphones. I would much rather spend my time wandering the place to get my own feeling for the city.

    The most obvious thing we found was that the entire city was in the process of getting ready for a Festival of the Loire, due to start in three day's time. Along the river a long line of marquis were being erected. Banners were hung along all the main streets and the spectacular floral displays looked to be in full bloom. It was a bit of a shame that we would not be here for the festivities, but we have a schedule to keep downriver.

    Although I had been here twice previously, on those occasions we did not have any spare time at all. Today we were able to walk the central part of the town and make our own discoveries. Unfortunately the hot sun also meant that it soon became uncomfortably hot for exploring and so we returned to the relative comfort of our hotel room. It was there we discovered that somehow a mistake had been made in the room reservations. Although we all staying here for two nights, a change in the hotel management had somehow changed the booking to one night only. This could have been a disaster, but fortunately they had enough spare capacity to make sure that no one had to spend the second night in the bike garage.

    Tomorrow we resume our cycling along the Loire as we ride to the nearby city of Beaugency.
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  • Day9

    Camping!

    July 16, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Aangekomen in Chartres👌🏼 En het leek mij wel leuk om te laten zien hoe ik de tent opzet. Nog geen 10min en hij staat al. Even omkleden en dan ga ik maar eens opzoek naar de kathedraal. Als het goed is, is het nog geen 3km wandelen. Let's go! 😝Read more

    Corry janmaat

    Hoppa, je wordt er handig in hè, elke dag opzetten en afbreken. Lekker genieten nu van je wandeling en een fijne avond voor straks😘

    7/16/20Reply
    Kees 't Hart

    Razend snel.

    7/16/20Reply
    Karin Boonen

    hoppa

    7/16/20Reply
    Karin Boonen

    Jij kan dat:-D

    7/16/20Reply
     
  • Day9

    Bon Appétit!

    July 16, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Bon Appétit! Kaartjes schrijven en uiteten op een terras vlakbij de prachtige kathedraal. Aan de ene kant heel apart om hier alleen te zitten. Aan de andere kant heb ik het gevoel dat ik de hele wereld aan kan haha! Eet smakelijk🤗Read more

    Corinne Ovinge-Best

    Grote meid als je dit allemaal op kan!!😉

    7/16/20Reply
    Miranda Broersma

    Zoooo dat ziet er lekker uit!!! Eet smakelijk 😘😘

    7/16/20Reply
    Ariëtte Van den Bos

    Lekker !! 🍟🍔🥤geniet ervan. 😘😘

    7/16/20Reply
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  • Day9

    En we zijn weer op de camping!

    July 16, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Na bijna 5 uur rondgedwaald te hebben in het grote mooie Chartres, heb ik de camping weer teruggevonden. Wat een fantastische onvergetelijke dag! Ik duik vast m'n tentje in. Morgen weer een nieuwe dag👌🏼Read more

    Corinne Ovinge-Best

    Slaaplekker, meis!😘

    7/16/20Reply
    Johanna de Ruiter

    Lekker slapen😘

    7/16/20Reply
    Karin Boonen

    Je bent een topper!

    7/16/20Reply
    Karin Boonen

    Goedemorgen alvast.

    7/16/20Reply
     
  • Day10

    Camping bestaat niet...

    July 17, 2020 in France ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Kom je na een goede 75km aan, is het wel erg stil... En wat blijkt: de camping is al ruim een jaar gesloten, vertelde de buurman mij. Dan maar 4km terugrijden en op deze über über grote camping staan. We blijven lachen, maar als je goed kijkt is er ook wat frustratie af te lezen op m'n hoofd😂Read more

    Corry janmaat

    Ach wat een pech. 😮

    7/17/20Reply

    Je moet toch ergens je tentje opzetten en even lekker douchen. 😉 [Magda]

    7/17/20Reply
    Miranda Broersma

    Maar we hebben wel weer een zwembad👙

    7/17/20Reply
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  • Day11

    Slapen op een gesloten camping

    July 18, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    "Slapen op een gesloten camping...". Het zou zo de titel kunnen zijn van een YouTube-ster die elfjarige kijkertjes probeert te trekken. Dit hele avontuur gaat erom dat ik uit m'n comfortzone stap, toch? Nou, dat gaat met deze overnachting zeker lukken!Read more

    Anne Broersma

    Je bent ongelofelijk stoer..💪♥️👍

    7/18/20Reply
    Henny Tweel

    Stoer hoor. Je bent een echte doorzetter.

    7/18/20Reply
    Miranda Broersma

    Ik vind je super stoer!!

    7/18/20Reply
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  • Day12

    Campinggg

    July 19, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Zo, vannacht kan ik rustig slapen en hoef ik niet bang te zijn voor een boze Fransman in m'n tent ;) Wat een verschil met gisteren! Dit is weer een énorm grote camping met zwembad en van alles. Maar het ergste: heeeeeel veeeeel Nederlanders. Dat houdt in dat er gratis animatie bij zit. Het stel achter mijn plekje had net namelijk al knallende ruzie🙈 Ik ga wassen, eten en misschien wat zwemmen. Fijne avond!Read more

    Gerrit v.d.Bos

    Ik geniet nog van je Femke .elke dag weer nieuwe ervaringen groetjes opa

    7/19/20Reply
    Corinne Ovinge-Best

    Goed gedaan, Femke! Geniet ervan!

    7/19/20Reply

    Boze fransman😳 hoe kan dat dan? Wel leuk al die verschillende campings. Gewoon lekker zwemmen en slaap lekker voor zo meteen! [Erica]

    7/19/20Reply
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  • Day13

    Goedemorgen

    July 20, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Goedemorgen! Mmmm serieus best lekker geslapen met livemuziek, gillende kids en ruziënde ouders op de achtergrond😂👌🏼 Vandaag een uurtje eerder, om te testen of het bevalt. Het was gister zó warm dat het bijna niet meer verantwoord was. Dus misschien is dit de oplossing! Al dacht ik er toen net de wekker ging (om 6u) toch wel iets minder positief over😴Read more

    Anne Broersma

    Vroege vogel. Lekker dat je goed hebt geslapen. Slim om een uurtje eerder te gaan fietsen.😁 Veel plezier vandaag stoere meid. 👍💪😁

    7/20/20Reply
    Ariëtte Van den Bos

    Goede morgen. Helemaal met je vader eens. ! 😄👍. Wie had het ooit gedacht . 🤭🤣🤣🤣. Succes weer vandaag. 💪💪😘😘

    7/20/20Reply

    Goedemorgen, groot gelijk. Succes vandaag! [Erica]

    7/20/20Reply
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  • Day6

    Amboise Château Royal

    June 19 in France ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    Der Übernachtungsplatz war super.
    Zuerst wollten wir zur Pagode de Chanteloup. Erst haben wir den Eingang nicht gefunden, dann uns über die idiotische Parkplatzsituation geärgert (naja nicht wirklich, nur ein bißchen) und dann sollte es bei bedeckten Himmel auch noch 10 € Eintritt kosten. Da wollte Tina dann doch lieber zum Château Amboise.
    Amboise ist ein niedlicher kleiner Ort mit kleinen engen Gassen und vielen Bars und Restaurants.
    Dirk hat Tina in der Nähe des Château abgesetzt und sich ein schönes Plätzchen an der Loire gesucht, bis Madame wieder abgeholt werden wollte.
    Nach der Schlossbesichtigung und Stärkung mit einem leckeren Salat OHNE Baguette ging es dann ein gutes Stück Richtung Atlantik.
    Die Straße D 952 geht lange Strecken auf einem Damm oder Deich wunderschön an der Loire entlang.
    Als die Straße dann plötzlich gesperrt war, hat Dirk direkt ein Chance für einen Stellplatz mit Aussicht über die Loire gewittert und ist einfach "rechtswidrig" um die Absperrung gefahren. Und tatsächlich gab es ein sehr kleine Parkbucht direkt zur Loire. Dort konnte man nur gut stehen, weil die Straße gesperrt war...einfach nur gut 👍.
    Als Sahnehäubchen hat Deutschland auch noch Portugal mit 4:2 besiegt ⚽
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    Heike Gab

    Wunderbare Schlösser-Tour 🥰 danke fürs „Mitnehmen“

    6/20/21Reply
    Sabina Eschemann

    Wirklich tolle Bilder

    6/20/21Reply
    Barbara Bethke

    Das Grab von Da Vinci habt Ihr links liegen gelassen? Tolle Gegend.

    6/21/21Reply
    Heike Gab

    Ich glaube, der dirk fand es wohl nicht so erwähnenswert - bei martina hab ich es im Whattsapp-Status gesehen 😅😅😅

    6/21/21Reply
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Centre-Val-de-Loire, Centre, Centro, Regione Centrale, 상트르