It has been a wonderful introduction to cycle touring. The routes are relatively easy and well marked (the section between Nevers and Chalon Sur Saône, being an exception to this), the weather has tested us on occasions without being too unkind, the scenery has rarely been dull and the French motorists have been very considerate when we've been negotiating busy roads!
Following on from my last blog, we left our campsite in Nevers in freezing conditions: when we woke, it was -2°C and we had to brush ice off our clothes before getting dressed! Putting on semi-frozen underwear can make your eyes water I can tell you! We headed off to our next stop in Digoin where we had decided to get a room in a hotel for the night as the weather was expected to fall to -7°C. We have discovered that we are actually quite soft after all!
We were under no illusions before the trip that everything was going to be perfect! We are going to have to take the rough with the smooth and at the moment, the weather is unpredictable and we'll just have to ride it out until spring arrives (hopefully soon!).
At the moment we are in Montbéliard and Sochaux. The only reason we are staying here is that there is a cheap hotel. I don't think there would be any other reason to stop here! We are staying in a chain of hotels called 'Premiere Classe' which is a bit of a misnomer as the room makes our cabin on the cross channel ferry look luxurious! However, at the moment it is more appealing than a night under canvas, so it will have to do!
We spent last night in the lovely city of Besançon at the home of Adrian and Ai. We were treated to a delicious meal and a comfy bed which was much appreciated. We have been so fortunate to have been treated so kindly by so many people during our stay in France. Both Ashley and I are looking forward to moving on towards Switzerland and Germany.
1) Many campsites are closed in March, which means that toilets and water supplies are also unavailable.
2) Cemeteries are great, reliable places to find water. They are rarely situated next to a church, but are isolated and well sign posted.
3) Weather is unpredictable at this time of year!
4) Warmshowers is an amazing way to find accommodation and meet many inspiring, interesting and generous people.
5) France is the perfect country to begin a cycle tour in.
6) Food is delicious, plentiful and with most supermarkets offering 'budget ranges', reasonably cheap!
7) Camping Gaz is massive over here, so if you have a multi-fuel stove, unleaded petrol may be your best option.
8) The scenery has been pleasant, if unspectacular, across the country. I think that later in the year (certainly summer) the sights would be awesome!
9) Not sure whether growing a beard is a good thing. Condensation seems to linger long into the day and it seems to want to grow into my mouth!
Love and hugs. X