Suce sur Erde – Cousept 65kms ascent (no idea but a bit more than before!)
|Before the action|
This has been, by far, the most interesting day of the journey so far. However, not all points of interest have been entirely favourable. I shall begin with the favourable.
We had found an interesting chamber d’hotes for the night of the 29th, courtesy of yet another open tourist office. The house was named Cube which will give an idea of its appearance. Very modern, clean and efficient with an agreeable host and an equally agreeable dog called Dom. So, we bade farewell and discovered a whole host of friendly people on boats on the canal and small marinas which Al has renamed ‘Bateau Parks’.
Things were still interesting as we left the canal and headed for Nantes. A well marked and well surfaced cycle track led us by the nose and lulled us into a sense of security which surprisingly didn’t last. In a flash we were dicing with death, roundabouts, crossroads, other cycle routes, trams and traffic lights! Nonetheless, we confidently followed the signs for ‘centre ville ’and probably found the centre although it was difficult to identify as there was no sign actually telling us we had reached our goal. In the event, it didn’t matter much as the less favourable interesting incident occurred at around this time.
You have to imagine, dear reader, a thoroughfare which consists of a pedestrian way, a cycle, track, a tramway and a road all going in the same direction and then a cyclist named Alan falling from his bike, hitting the upraised tramway (made of granite) and all in the twinkling of an eye. As interesting things go this was one we could happily have done without. He hit the deck like a ton of bricks and was instantly surrounded by people trying to help which was very encouraging but not entirely helpful. The most helpful, was the suggestion that it might be sensible to move away from the tramline before a tram came along and compounded any damage! That he was very sore was soon obvious but in true Wilkinson style, having examined body and soul, it was clear that even if hospital was an option, he was going to avoid it if at all possible. (Ironically we passed casualty just five minutes further along the route!) A period of time passed when we drank tea, returned Al’s handlebars to their rightful position, checked brakes and wheels and then speculated on our options. We took option one: to carry on.
We missed an important bridge crossing, but with the helpful intervention of a nice man we were able to take a ferry instead. Much more interesting (good interesting) and free.
Confident that we were now on the correct bank of the Loire, and Alan could still breathe, we found a tree and sat down to lunch and see what other points of interest arose. They were not long in coming. Our preferred option for an overnight (a B and B we had used on our West East trip) was full but the host suggested an alternative which after some confusion and misunderstandings we reserved. What we had reserved was not clear (a kind of tent in the garden – a chalet perhaps?). Finding accommodation was imperative as we were still speculating on how serious Alan’s injuries were.
Bouyed up (a bit) by the thought of a bed and comfort, we headed west into the first nostril wind of this journey! Not any old wind, a full on force 6. Demoralised, anxious and tired we arrived at our overnighter to be met by the owner saying they were full and had no record of my booking! That was one of those heart in your boots moments. However, anxiety over Alan’s health overcame any natural politeness. I didn’t care if they had a record or not, it was 18.00 and we needed to rest. Eventually, we were shown to our interesting (very not good interesting) shed in the garden! True, it had two beds/bunks a table and a stool. Lighting was in the form of a battery driven light and the toilets and bathroom were the other side of the field! We have endured much worse (not much worse - ed) so we set to, pulled food from the trailers and drugs from the rucksack and swigged a bottle of wine. Even before the wine Al was unable to get up unaided from the bed so things were not looking brilliant it has to be said. We would just have to wait and see how things looked in the morning.
(Mary says , if I hadn’t been so well padded, I could have been seriously hurt! I want sympathy – ed.)