14th October (Day 6)
Making good progress today – lovely sunny day. although a definite chill in the air. All going well, until we realised that we weren’t on the road we should have been. And had been cycling for at least 12km in the wrong direction – rubbish!
Anyway, we decided to head for Ancy-Le-Franc, and found a lovely warm hotel there with internet access. With a takeaway pizza (essential cycle food!) we crashed out on top of the computer!
Jon wasn’t feeling too great today, so used morning to catch up on internet stuff, and then planned to do 50km to Vittreaux where we found a deserted campsite. But it was so cold when the sun set, we were in bed by 7.30pm, after a dinner of pasta and frankferters! Rocknroll!
No wonder we were so cold last night – the tent was actually frosted up this morning! And my bike was frozen, so the gears weren’t working that well. Anyway, we set off, even though I couldn’t feel my fingers and I was almost wearing all the clothes I had! But we made good progress through Beaux and lots of vineyards.My first blag was to negotiate a 1/3 off a hotel room for charity, which I did, and we then followed it up with €5 off our meal. – Touch!
Big 110km ride today to get down to our hostel in Lyon, and planning the route along the Rhone river was a result as it was quite flat. When we got to Lyon we were directed up a very steep hill to get to the hostel. Jon nearly got to the top, but I was struggling with the weight on the bike. We found we were sharing a room with two Aussie winemakers, who were working for 8 weeks in the Rhone, which was quite ironic as that is one of the things Jon wants to do later on in life. The weather started getting misrable, and we witnessed a pizza man sliding off he moped (he was ok), and some very bad parking in the city centre.
Brilliant – our first rest day. Managed to catch up on loads of admin, and update the website etc.and then we had a wonder around Lyon. We do look funny (well tramp funny!) in our matching casual clothes and flip flops, but luckily the weather was really sunny so we had fun taking lots of pictures of unsuspecting french people! We have been dreaming of home cooked burgers when cycling along, and for dinner we found a little Irish bar making home made burgers. It also had 3 lookalike film stars which was very amusing – Mini Me, Jason Statham and Jackie Chan!
A complete bitch getting our of Lyon, partly as Jon’s ankles were really sore and I was so cold that my fingers and toes went numb – it was only 5 degrees! But the cycling was ok again as we were following the banks of the Rhone, and we were making good progress. So after lunch where I went into a supermarket 3 times as I kept forgeting things, we put our heads down and decided to go on past Valence (our planned stop). We then spent 2 hours mincing around trying to find somewhere to pitch up the tent, but with no success. Even the owner of a closed campsite wouldn’t let us use a small corner – jobsworth! Jon got the hump as it got dark and his ankles were hurting. But luckily we found a hotel, although I upset a mad frenchy south african lady suggesting the €50 would be a good room rate for her to accept! However she soon flirtly warmed up when she saw Jon and gave us some home cooked stew (which was lovely). Unfortunately when she extended this hospitality to desert we had to accept. She brought out two dishes which looked like ice cream, but in fact was a popular french desert of cheese and cream. Well it was mouldy cheese and lumpy cream and totally minging.
I think she put us up in the coldest room of the hotel, but we woke up glad that last nights desert didn’t churn our stomachs too much! She very kindly gave us tea and french bread with lovely homemade apricot jam before sending us on our way. More flat roads, but after lunch the clouds got darker and then we had 3 hours of rain to deal with on our way to Chateau Neuf du Pape (Jon’s favourite wine). We pretended that we were interested in purchasing a case, and blagged wine tastings in two shops, before buying their cheapest bottle to enjoy over a supermarket buffet in our double room – cosy!
Gusty winds – this day is going to be trouble! Well it was. The bikes were being pushed all over the place, and stopping at an Intermarche provided the only break in the day. It got much much worse in the afternoon, with the wind gusting to 50mph, the torrential rain battered us sideways.We both nearly came off our bikes when f**kin french lorry drivers added another 20mph of wind into the equation. We had to draw on all our strength and push on to get to our revised destination, Pertuis. Clearly camping was not an option, not only because of no campsites, but also everything was soaking. This was as tough, if not tougher than London to Dover, so we felt a great deal of satisfaction, when we found the budget of all budget hotels (which can only be described as a cave!). We found some morrocan food, with mountains of coucous and meat, which was just the ticket!