Monday, 20 July 2009

La Belle Borgogne / Bu***red in burgundy

Cycling in Burgundy

It’s official. France is flaming massive! After two days in France, we’re still only about two-thirds of the way down, and in an area we’ve never been to before, namely Burgundy.
To take you back over the last two days. We stayed the first night near a lake in a backwater called Geraudot near Troyes. Couldn’t believe it but we met up with Steph, from Chatsworth gym, and she was on her way to Chamonix. What a coincidence!
The following day we called at the medieval village of Noyers, with its timber-framed buildings, honey-coloured walls and cobbled streets. It was weird driving the campervan through the tiny, narrow streets, but “Tommy” was unperturbed!! We sat outside a cafĂ©, next to a lady dressed in medieval costume. Since nobody else in the village seemed to be following suit, including her husband sitting opposite, Ian and I decided she was the local eccentric/ nut-case, and tried not to make eye-contact! By carefully listening in to their conversation, it turned out they were American and she owned the shop/gallery opposite, which specialised in Medieval Illuminations, and we were invited in to take a look around. I was fascinated. Ian was mentally on the road South, but politely took a look around for all of five minutes!
5euros lighter and the cheapest thing to be bought, a card with an illuminated cat, with the word, “Chat”, beautifully but expensively written near it, we were back on the road South.

We eventually pulled up at St Point in the Maconnais area of Burgundy. And so to today.
We set off about 10. 30 with a rough idea of where we wanted to go, and ended up doing about 43 miles, arriving back about 4.30, with lunch at Serrieres, and water stops at Cevnes and Cluny. A blisteringly hot day, not a cloud in the sky and not much of a breeze for the first half. We were either slogging up a big hill or free-wheeling down it, with very little in-between. Stunning scenery, a lot like Derbyshire with more hills, beautiful “fleuri”ed houses and villages, with bars which will sell you bread and honey, as well as food and alcohol. We both liked it so much, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be back. There are also incredibly old chateaux and auberges and vineyards. We cycled over the border between Burgundy and Beaujolais, with terraces of vineyards on either side of the road. We passed a spectacular chateau from the twelfth century, Pierre-clos, which stood high on the hill, surrounded by vineyards.

Remarkably, not a drop of alcohol had passed our lips, until we arrived back at the van, where we made up for it!
We really can’t get into the French language, preferring an enthusiastic form of Spench, a wonderful mixture of French and Spanish. We keep sounding as if we’re disagreeing with anyone we speak to, by adding “Si” instead of “Oui”! Ian excelled himself by asking for a “bocadillo de queso” instead of a baguette/sandwich de fromage”! Ah well we’ll never see them again anyway!
Just to make sure our friend, Checho, from C’an Punyetes, Mallorca, can access this blog, I just thought I’d mention him, tell him we missed him at lunch-time and look forward to seeing him and Pepe in October!

Anyway off Southeast tomorrow, towards the Rhone-Alps.
A Bientot!

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