Sunday 13.05.2012. St. Nazaire – Thouare sur Loire 65kms
The start was not quite as quick as we had intended. After checking, re-checking and re-re-checking, the clock was on its way to ten o’clock. Finally, with trailers attached, a farewell to Deborah, Brendan and Virginie, our hostess we clipped in and slowly drew away from the hostel. Except for this black Mondeo which kept overtaking us and photographing our efforts, all seemed fine. The Mondeo eventually gave up and went off with its occupants to holiday for another day! Look forward to seeing the pics when we get home.
We whistled along into my favourite wind and were overwhelmed at the plethora of signs and the well maintained route. (Further less favourable comments will follow.) Within not many minutes of our start, Alan’s shout of ‘dog’ put us on red alert. And then the most extraordinary thing happened – the dog put its tail between its legs and ran for its life in the opposite direction. A first! We have never managed to scare a dog before but look forward to doing it again – if only we knew what it was we did! Now as well as dogs, we are used to tractors but not when they leap out of a junction with those humungus prongs preceding the vehicle. Just missed! Try harder next time!
After a free ferry crossing, we began to approach Nantes. Our plan to clear the city on a Sunday and thus avoid most of the traffic was going really well even if the scenery was industrial sites and exceedingly smelly Gaz factory. What we hadn’t counted on was that much of the local population and no doubt many visitors also, had decided to take the air round the centre of town. At this point, with pedestrians, cars, bikes, scooters and pushchairs all vying for position, all the signs disappeared! (Comme d’habitude). We hadn’t expected the arrival of Mr. Master Navigator quite so soon but he swung into action even guiding us along the Boulevard de Cardiff which made us feel right at home, and Nantes finally petered out and we found ourselves once more beside the Loire and heading in the right direction.
The riverside after Nantes was delightful, boasting a host of spring flowers and absurdly a house half submerged in the river. Yes, I do have photographic proof. And then with almost perfect timing, a campsite of exceptional quality appeared and for the princely sum of 12 Euros, we pitched our tent, (after a free glass of kir), cobbled together a meal and thought ourselves most fortunate.