Thursday 24.05.2012 Palinge – Sateney (Near Chalon sur Saone) 64.2kms
Hoorah, hoorah, the sun is shining . That teeny bit of blue must have developed overnight. I donned shorts this morning in spite of Alan’s derisive remarks about lasting not long before pulling on my longs. (It is still quite overcast.) Fresh bread delivered to the site was a welcome addition to chocolate muesli (Can’t think what the locals see in chocolate muesli – seems a bit like a contradiction to me). Croissants as well. A breakfast fit for a king.
Everything is still pretty damp but we were up and off in good time and looking forward to viewing France’ industrial past. It was interesting, if a little depressing, to see what must have been a very prosperous region along the canal, fallen into decline. Huge buildings, which were now just skeletons of their former glory. It is impossible not to admire the abilities of the architects and builders of both the canal and the industry. It was an area reminiscent of the Welsh valleys after the closure of the mines and related industries. Nonetheless we passed a cheery bunch of cyclists in a peloton who felt us worthy of recognition and waved enthusiastically. Well I think it was enthusiasm. Cycling fast racing bikes and pedalling bikes with Sherman and Herman attached, bear little resemblance to one another except the pedalling. One goes like sh.t off a shovel and the other lumbers along. As the lumberers, we are often ignored by our racing cousins, but not in this instance and much appreciated it was too.
Without paying much attention, we had gained quite a lot of height along this stretch of the canal. It’s a sort of flat and lurch-up a short steep bit type of ride. Having noted the paucity of stopping spots, we did eventually find one (I was still in my shorts and the sunshine was unbroken!) and took on much needed sustenance. To our surprise and great pleasure, we now noted that the locks were downhill and that the countryside had metamorphosed. The topography (hope that’s the right word) had become much more undulating and even the cows had changed colour from white to brown. There was a general sense of prosperity. As you might expect, the campsite we chose and finally located, was all that might be expected, set next to the vineyards at the foot of some hills. Apart from the dose of anti-fungal spray from the vineyard tractor and no loo paper, it was all very picturesque, and thus visited by shed loads of Brits and Dutch! We only saw one French car with caravan! Still a beautiful end to the day, sitting in the sunshine with wine in mugs tonight.