Day 39 existed. I didn’t just time-warp myself from day 38 to day 40 but having met up with friends Basil and Liz in Pézenas yesterday lunchtime after having done my pit-stop tasks (washing, post office, podcast editing…) we had a very enjoyable afternoon and early evening of drinking, eating, wandering, drinking, eating and drinking. I took one picture…
Episode 057: Le Grand Tour, Part 6 – La Véloroute Des Deux Mers From Bordeaux To Sète / Canal De La Garonne & Canal Du Midi
The Cycling Europe Podcast continues to follow Andrew Sykes as he cycles on his ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe. He has now arrived in Bordeaux at the start of the ‘Two Seas’ cycle route – La Véloroute Des Deux Mers – that will take him along the Canal de la Garonne to Toulouse and then the famous Canal du Midi to Sète on the Mediterranean coast. As he cycles he takes time to speak to the people he meets and explore the places he visits. And what will he make of the notorious Canal du Midi towpath that he encounters?
I’’m glad to have finished the Canal du Midi section of the Canal des Deux Mers cycle route. Now in Pézenas – I’ll explain in a moment – the highlight of yesterday was cycling along the excellent voies vertes that brought me inland from Sète yesterday evening. Cycling at the end of the day is something that doesn’t often happen (the way I tend to organise my days) but the advantages of cycling at that end of the day are similar to those of early morning cycling; quieter roads, cooler temperatures and the ‘golden hour’ sunlight that washes a beautiful soft tint over the landscape. It’s also worth noting (and remembering) that the winds tend to die down in the evening. Mmm… Perhaps I should do night shifts on the bike.
I’m on one bar of 3G tonight so getting anything uploaded aside from some good old text is very doubtful. No, more than doubtful; it won’t happen as I’m not even going to try. I’ll update this post tomorrow morning with the pictures and the video (which is ready to go!) and for anyone thinking of cycling the Canal du Midi, it really is a video you need to watch…
I’ve seen the Pyrenees for the first time this evening. After so much relatively flat or tame topography over the past five weeks, it’s good to finally have a little drama added to the landscape. They are only in silhouette, shrouded in haze and only just perceptible from the sky but they are definitely there. (Or my glasses need cleaning.) I’m in a place called Alzonne by the way, about 90km along the canal from Toulouse. Carcassonne is a further 20km to the south east.
I’m still suffering g from the mosquito bites inflicted upon me in Marick’s basement on Thursday night. I really wish I had got out of the bed and killed each one of the little f*****s. Not only would I have gained great pleasure from doing so, I would not now be scratching my way through the day. Last night on the campsite near Grisolles was particularly uncomfortable. On the positive side of things, the bites are receding, slowly… I need to buy some Autan. I’m already taking antihistamine tablets but the former was recommended way back in 2010 when I was the victim of a mosquito attack in Italy. I wrote a whole section in ‘Crossing Europe…’ about mosquitoes and their bites; I should go back and re-read it. I seem to remember there being three factors that increased your susceptibility; being pregnant, having blood group O and beer. I need to drink more wine…
I judge my WarmShowers hosts on how I provide for WarmShowers guests when I host back at home. Alas in recent years this has been less frequent. When I lived in that beautiful tourist hotspot that is, err… Reading, I hosted quite regularly in the summer. Since moving back to rural Yorkshire I’ve hosted just three times. In Reading I was half-way between London and Oxford or en route to the West Country. In Yorkshire, despite it being far nicer, I’m not really on anyone’s cycle route (although not very far from the Pennine Cycleway – take note!). Anyway, aside from a warm shower, I provide food, drink, Wi-Fi, clothes washing, advice, deep-tissue massage… Well, most of those.
There were times this morning when I thought this particular day – the whole trip perhaps – were being derailed… It all started by me heading over the bridge back in the direction of La Réole. Oops! Wrong direction. No big problem; I’d only cycled perhaps 50 metres across the bridge and by doing so made a nice video clip (yep, you guessed it – watch the video…).