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47 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    Three things and some extra miles.

    January 27 in France ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Finally we arrived at Jean-Philippe's house. Our first couchsurf host of this trip.
    It was quite a journey!
    As we started up the engine this morning at Sézanne, the horn would turn itself on. So we had to disconnect them...
    We had a 354 km trip ahead. Lieske is a real brave girl.
    But hills are not the sunny part.
    I need to accept that if she does not go faster, she just can't...
    We need to take our time. 6 hours., she needed for the scenic route.
    During the first 100km, a fuse blew, because I wanted to test the horn, who, as you might remember was disconnected. Result: no wipers on the motorway... first stop: new fuse.
    Also a bit diesel dripping on the first injector. But hey. I drip too. Sometimes.
    As final test of my nerves...after Nika's driving.. 😎
    I forgot the tankcap after the last pit stop.
    So. I had te go back. A 40 km wasted. And a nice hill to climb.
    But as mentioned we are safe, warm and now waiting for our host. I can smell the food on the stove.
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  • Day20

    Trains, Trains and more Trains

    September 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Although there is no doubt we had all thoroughly enjoyed our time in Aigues Mortes, after two days of relative inactivity, we were starting to get itchy feet (and I am not referring to the tinea commonly experienced by some other travellers). We actually were ready to resume our cycling. The only problem was that first we had to traverse about 600 km of France to reach Nevers where we were to begin our ride along the Loire River.

    When I was putting this trip together I thought that it would be a good idea to include a couple of day's break between the end of section one and the start of section two. This turned out to be a very wise move as we discovered that it is basically impossible to get out of Aigues Mortes at the week end.

    Although there is a train station at Aigues Mortes, the long grass growing up between the rails is clear evidence that the line is not exactly frequently traversed by trains. In fact we found that the 11:52 am train to Nimes is basically the only option and it only runs on weekdays.

    In order to make our way to Nevers we would have to somehow negotiate a complex sequence of train connections and a glitch in any one of the these connections could have potentially disastrous consequences.

    The long odyssey began with a walking peloton from our hotel to the station. We piled our mountain of luggage in a strategic position and waited for the train to arrive. When it did finally roll into the station, we were horrified to find that it was more like a bus than a train. It only had one carriage and that was already filled with passengers from the previous station.

    We had no choice other than to resort to brute force. Fifteen elderly Ghostriders jammed cases into every available space (mostly in the middle of the single aisle) and then tried to find a place to stand. I spent the next 30 minutes balanced on one leg and trying to avoid falling into the pram that was pressed against my other leg. To make matters worse, the airconditioning was almost non existent and the temperature was soon soaring. It was not a pleasant start to a long journey.

    When we arrived at Nimes we all were exceedingly glad to be free of the train. Since we had a 90 minute gap before the next train was due, we took the opportunity to get something to eat for lunch. The next train would be a first class ride to Dijon. At least we would look forward to reserved seats. The only problem was that, when we reached the platform we were told that the "train was retarded". That was not the news we wanted to hear, especially as we only had a 20 minute break at Dijon before we had to catch the final train to Nevers.

    Our train was indeed retarded and became more so as the trip progressed. Although the scenery was absolutely glorious, I was too stressed to really enjoy it. It was soon obvious that we would have no hope of catching our third connection and I had horrific visions of having to spend the entire night sleeping on the railway platform, surrounded by our luggage. At least the wifi on the train was excellent, easily the best we had experienced in our entire trip so far.

    Of course we arrived at Dijon, just in time to see the train we wanted to catch, disappear into the distance. This could have been catastrophic, but we did discover that there was a second train due to leave in about 40 minutes time. At least it looked like we would be able to reach our hotel, but probably too late for dinner.

    Although it had not gone exactly to plan, we were delighted to discover that the train to Nevers was almost empty. We spread out over an entire carriage and started to misbehave terribly. It had been a very long day in transit and the combination of stress and sugar was starting to make the group act like kids at a red cordial fuelled birthday party. The few remaining locals in the carriage soon departed for other quieter parts of the train.

    We finally rolled into Nevers at about 8 pm. The light was fading and the temperature was dropping as we rolled our cases up the deserted main street to the Best Western Hotel de Diane. I was relieved to find that the hotel reception was still waiting for us and they informed us that we had not missed our dinner after all.

    We were even happier to find that the rooms were amazing - large, clean and comfortable. Best of all was the fact that the dinner was absolutely superb. As each dish was presented to us, we relished every mouthful. The benchmark for dining has now been set at an absurdly high level. It had been quite a day. Tomorrow we will be back on the bikes again.
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  • Day21

    On the Road Again

    September 10, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    After our three days of relative inactivity (actually disorganised mayhem), it was time to resume our cycling. After all, that was why we had come all this way to the far side of the planet.

    Before we could start riding we first had to get bikes. That is sort of a basic fact of the universe. But there was a problem, There often is. I received a phone call informing me that the man who was bringing the bikes from Blois was stuck in thick traffic and would be "retarded by at least an hour". We would have to adapt Plan B.

    We had read that there was an amazing market in Nevers that was really worth seeing. A little further research showed that it was apparently close to our hotel. I therefore suggested to our riders that they might like to have a look at the market first, and then get the bikes later. Before I had finished my sentence, the women were already out the door looking for the market and an opportunity to spend money.

    About 45 minutes later I thought I might as well have a look as well. The bikes still had not arrived and the hotel foyer was getting a little boring. I had not walked far when I found Carol and Sam walking back towards me. They were devastated. They had not been able to find the market. Obviously life can not get much wore than this. On further investigation, I found that they had actually walked right past the front door. I had to admit that it was a little underwhelming as it was only a food market and most of the stalls were still locked. There were none of those exciting stalls where women could buy Chinese knock offs at inflated prices. What a letdown.

    The big bike delivery van finally arrived about 10 am and the driver slowly and carefully unloaded all 16 bikes. He did not want help as he wanted to do it his way. About 30 minutes later the bikes were unloaded and then began the familiar process of each rider finding their allocated bike and assessing its suitability. I had been in this position many times before and always find it stressful.

    "My bike's too big", "My bike's too small", "Mine is the wrong colour for my shirt", "I won't ride a ladies bike", "I didn't know we had to ride bikes", "My handlebars are too pointy", "My seat's all funny", "My bottom is hurting already", "How do you change gears ?", "What are gears for anyway ?", "I don't want a pannier", "I want more panniers", "I want lunch".

    It went on and on. It's not easy trying to set up 16 elderly citizens with walking frames, let alone with bicycles. After every single bike was adjusted, poked, asssessed and decorated with ribbons, we were finally ready to go.

    Our peloton slowly wobbled down the main street, watched by numerous bemused locals. We somehow made it to the old city without too much incident, but then stumbled into a complicated sequence of staircases. We had to manhandle all the bikes down the stairs, at times coming close to destroying a couple of the ebikes. It was not an an auspicious start to the ride.

    We finally left the city by crossing the bridge over the Loire. We were on our way at last. Actually we were on the wrong way. I had made a small error of navigation and was leading the group in the opposite direction. I quickly realised my error, the group U turned and we found the correct route.

    What followed next was a beautiful bike path, right alongside a shady canal. This was just the type of riding that we all adored. It was what we needed to settle our nerves after the stress of the morning. You can imagine my joy when I spied a lovely cafe, right on the bank of the canal.

    "This looks like a suitable coffee stop", I yelled.
    "But we have only been riding for 10 minutes", someone commented.
    "We have no idea when the next opportunity will be", I countered.

    Since no one could fault my logic, we all parked the bikes. Actually we spread them all over the precinct in a random array of unlocked vehicles. Arie was no longer here to dictate that all be parked in a precise line with locks and chains galore. We just needed coffee.

    It was now after 12 noon and I think that everyone was happy to sit and enjoy the surroundings. We also took a new group photo to immortalise the occasion. Our adventure on the Loire was now officially underway.

    We never did find another place to buy our baguette lunch. Well actually we did, but they had none left. We rode the remaining 45km on empty stomachs. Fortunately the scenery was absolutely superb - a never ending sequence of canals, locks, tiny flowered villages and quiet bike paths.

    The highlight was the Pont de Canal, an amazing sight which allows the Canal of the Loire to cross the Allier River. It would even have been more amazing to see a barge crossing the Pont, but the canal was deserted. The huge lock at the end had gates which must have been 10 metres high and they were decorated with colourful flowers. From the side, the structure almost looked like the huge Roman Pont du Gard, that we had ridden past in Provence. In nature it would be highly unusual to see two rivers crossing each other !

    By the late afternoon a steady head wind had developed. It was nowhere near as strong as the Mistral we had endured in Provence, but on empty stomachs it was a challenge. Our first view of Charite Sur Loire was a memorable one, cameras were produced and pictures were taken.

    The final kilometre to our hotel involved a long walking peloton through the ancient town. Our hotel was the quaint "Thousand and One Books" hotel. Every inch of the place had been decorated in a literary theme. The staircases were about 30 cm wide and there was no lift. It was going to be the pitstop for the first day of our Loire Ride.

    Our evening meal was at the restaurant attached to the hotel, so we did not have to walk far. Once again the food was glorious. It had been the first time most of us had eaten since breakfast in Nevers.
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  • Day561

    Cosne Cours sur Loire

    January 8, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    A day's rest had left us keen to get some kilometres under our belts, so it wasn't long before we were rolling down the motorway towards Paris. Despite keeping to the periphery, the sprawling metropolis grew up quickly around us. Grey industrial and high rise buildings dominated the landscape as Will chopped and changed between roads that extended to 6 lanes and branched off to tunnels and flyovers. We were very grateful for the sat nav's directions and found ourselves on the outskirts sooner than expected. Here there was a mixture of modern curved glass buildings and old stone covered in graffiti. At a crossroads we saw a woman in a blue headscarf holding up a brown cardboard sign, her five year old child clutching a similar placard and begging alongside her, while a younger sibling slept in a pushchair.

    Once out of the city we stopped for lunch and filled up with free water at a motorhome facilities point in the motorway services (thank you France, it is so nice to feel welcome!). It had started off overcast and murky but as the day wore on the sun began to burn through the haze and not only revealed a pale blue sky but bumped the temperature up to double figures.

    The planned stopover wasn't easily accessible due to low railway bridges but Will had had the foresight to program in another. Our route took us alongside the Loire river and as we progressed south the flooding became worse. We passed a town where a football pitch and road were under water and the level was creeping dangerously close to houses. It was a long day's drive so the large riverside car park at Cosne Cours sur Loire, with spots reserved exclusively for 'camping-cars' was a welcome sight, although those said spots were worryingly close to the edge of the flooded river. We chose to park further back on slightly higher ground, thinking that Cosne Cours 'sur Loire' could well become 'sous Loire' overnight!

    From our window we could see a traditional river boat and a long, low road bridge spanning the fast flowing channel. As dusk fell the clouds were backlit with a rosy tint and lights marked the line of the bridge. It made for a beautiful view.
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  • Day79

    73. Etappe: Nevers

    September 19, 2018 in France ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Dank der kleinen Etappe, war ich heute schon mittags am Zielort Nevers. Eine gute Entscheidung, denn das Thermometer kletterte wieder auf über 30 Grad.
    Nach einem tollen Abendbrot gestern Abend, einer ruhigen Nacht und dem gemeinsamen Frühstück hieß es heute Morgen Abschied nehmen von Ellis & Hans, mit denen ich in den letzten Tag allerhand Weg, so manche gemütliche Herberge und das ein oder andere Bier geteielt habe - schön wars! Aber die beiden hatten heute ihre letzte Jakobsweg-Etappe für dieses Jahr und fahren morgen früh mit dem Flixbus wieder in die niederländische Heimat. Aber wie es der Zufall will, trafen wir uns noch 2x in der Stadt wieder 🎉 Nach dem wirklich allerletzten gemeinsamen Erfrischungsgetränk heute Nachmittag ging es für mich zurück in die private Pilgerherberge, die ich heute wieder ganz für mich alleine habe.
    Die freie Zeit in Nevers habe ich gut genutzt und meine durchgelatschten Wanderschuhe durch exakt das selbe Modell ersetzt. Daniel darf dann in den nächsten Tagen eine kleine Stinkbombe bei der Post abholen 🙊. Denn das alte Paar konnte ich einfach nicht wegschmeißen, aber 1,5 kg schleppt kein Pilger zusätzlich mit sich rum. 😉
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  • Day75

    69. Etappe: Le Chemin

    September 15, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Die erste Nacht im "großen" Schlafsaal gut überstanden, ging es heut morgen nicht allzu spät los. Mein Weg führte mich durch malerische Landschaften und so ging die Zeit schnell rum und ich erreichte am frühen Nachmittag mein Ziel Le Chemin, ein ganz kleines Dorf - jedoch mit einer tollen niederländisch geführten Pilgerherberge. Und deshalb ist es auch ganz klar, wer bereits im schattigen Garten sitzt und mir fröhlich zuwinkt - Ellis und Hans! 🎉
    Etwas später kommt noch eine französische Pilgerin an, die ich auch schon von gestern kenne. Es verspricht also ein netter Abend zu werden. 😊
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  • Day80

    74. Etappe: Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier

    September 20, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Heute war mal wieder eine längere Etappe dran, knapp 31 km! Also eine gute Gelegenheit für meine neuen Schuhe sich zu bewähren und es ging deutlich schneller voran als mit den ollen Botten! Nur leider ging es nicht ganz so idyllisch über reichlich Asphalt, über und entlang von Autobahnen. Der heutige Tag war ganz dem PS gewidmet, bin sogar durch Magny-Cours gekommen. Die Rennstrecke habe ich zwar nur von weitem gesehen, aber der Sound hat mich ein paar Kilometer begleitet. Irgendwie ist mir Vogelgezwitscher deutlich lieber. 😉 Der Schatten war rar - kurz: Ich bin ganz schön durch! Umso besser, dass es in meiner heutigen privaten Pilgerherberge auch gleich Abendbrot und Frühstück gibt und ich nichts mehr einkaufen oder kochen muss 🎉
    Ich frage mich nur, wo sind bloß die ganzen Pilger aus Vezelay hin? 😳 Also Ellis und Hans sind hoffentlich erfolgreich in Paris umgestiegen und nehmen direkt Kurs auf die Heimat. Aber die anderen? Es gibt wohl zu viele Wegalternativen, denn im Moment ist die Strecke wieder so leer wie zum Beginn meiner Reise durch Frankreich.
    Ich freue mich auf morgen und hoffe der Tag hält etwas mehr Schatten bereit, sonst baue ich meinen Streifenhörnchen-Look vermutlich weiter aus 🙈
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  • Day78

    72. Etappe: Guerigny

    September 18, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Die Nacht auf dem Campingplatz gut überstanden, ging es heute nicht allzu früh los. Knapp 20 km waren es heute, bei 30 Grad wieder eine kurze Etappe und es ging zum Glück meist schattig durch Wald und über kleine Dörfer. Heute übernachte ich mit den beiden in einer kleinen Pilgerherberge für 4 Personen. Ein Bett ist also noch frei, aber vielleicht kommt ja später noch ein Pilger an.
    Morgen geht es mal wieder in eine größere Stadt - Nevers und zum Glück ist es auch nur eine kleine Etappe. Ich muss dort schleunigst ein Outdoor-Geschäft aufsuchen - nach über 1.600 km habe ich es geschafft und meine Wanderschuhe haben das Ende Ihrer Lebenszeit erreicht. 😅
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  • Day77

    71. Etappe: Premery

    September 17, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Eine kleine Etappe brachte mich schnell ans Ziel, begleitet wurde ich von Ellis und Hans.
    Da es in Premery leider keine Pilgerherberge gibt, wird heute gecampt! Für unschlagbare 2,60 Euro steht für Pilger ein kleiner Caravan mit Strom bereit, der heute unser Schlafgemach sein wird. Und da wir uns heute Mittag eine Plat du jour gegönnt haben, wird es abends ein gemütliches Abendessen mit Wein, Baguette, Käse und Melone. 😋Read more

  • Day76

    70. Etappe: Saint Reverin

    September 16, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Heute ist Kuh- und Schaftag 🐮🐏! Es ging an unzähligen Weiden vorbei, die so manch grasenden Viehbeiner beherbergten, so dass ich diese einfach festhalten musste. Schön wars, aber auch warm! Gut, dass ich früh gestartet bin. Ellis und Hans, die ausnahmsweise später los sind, hatten mich aber schnell eingeholt und die letzten Kilometer bewältigten wir gemeinsam. In der Herberge begrüßten uns auch zwei bekannte Gesichter, die beiden Radpilger aus Belgien, die sich gestern einen Ruhetag gegönnt hatten.
    Die vier haben die beiden Doppelzimmer bezogen, so dass ich heute meinen 6-Betten-Schlafsaal ganz für mich allein habe - es sei denn, es checkt noch ein Last-Minute-Pilger ein 😉
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Département de la Nièvre, Departement de la Nievre, Nièvre, Nievre

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