When I woke up this morning, I would have been hard pressed to tell you that the Meuse was in France let alone in the area I was travelling in. It has, however, transformed what was becoming a bit of a pedestrian cycle (can I say that?) ride into something a lot more dramatic.
Leaving Maubeuge, I hopped from village to village across the countryside; nothing too spectacular just rolling green hills. Then the rain started so by the time that I arrived in Trélon I was soaked for the first time. Undeterred, I ploughed on to Chimay and the Recroi where I had lunch. An interesting little walled town in the shape of a star. The main square where I had lunch had roads leading off it in all directions which didn’t make life easy on leaving. That said, the fortress Walls blocked most roads so I ended up cycling back where I had arrived. And then to the “Vallée de Misère” one of quite a few interesting place names. I had already passed “Mon Idée” and was soon to see “Mont Malgré Tout”.
But in terms of dramatic beauty, I was still waiting. I didn’t have to wait long. I had seen on my map earlier in the day the dramatic twists of a river approaching Charleville-Mézières and thought I would use that approach. I didn’t notice it was the Meuse.
Suddenly the clouds blackened and my road descended steeply into the valley. It was almost as if mother nature had told her minions to put on a show to impress. And I was. As I cycled down the road the rain pelted down. Arriving in the valley bottom there were flash floods with me struggling to cycle through currents of water. It was great! And so was the scenery; the bland rolling hills had been replaced with one dramatic steep sided valley with a monster of a river in the bottom; The Meuse. My new best friend which didn’t fail to impress as I continued my ride along its banks all the (long) way to Charleville itself. The adventure started today!
Not yet decided if tomorrow will be a day off cycling or not. I’ve also gone off the idea of Luxembourg; I may focus my efforts on Metz and, of course Strasbourg. Almost one week down and it’s getting serious.