The Loire – Sully back to Orleans

Today is the last day of cycling.  After 4 days without suspension and in the sit-up-and-beg position, I have a seriously numb bum.   We’re also a bit over it all as well as in ‘why are we doing this?’  The fun has gone out of it.

Last year we did the 250km Canal du Midi – Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean – so we had ‘something to cycle to’.  This trip is a circle, so we are only going back to Orleans, with which we were both underwhelmed.

We decided to cycle 20km and then take the train for the rest of the way to Orleans.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a passenger train station – goods only – so we had no choice but to do the last 30km by bike along the banks of the Loire.  This sounds idyllic, but after 5 days, we just wanted it over with.  It was a slog.

A kind Frenchman gave us directions at one point and was quite horrified that we were going to cycle this way – ‘le chemin n’est pas sympa aux vélos’ – the path isn’t great for bikes.  And this was the Loire à Velo trail.  Not amused.

We felt much better after a shower, some soothing kirs and dinner.

Next stop:  Paris for the flight to Bangkok.


The Loire – Orléans to Lorris

Cycling along the Canal d’Orléans for the next 5 days.  We were going to do part of the Loire à Velo cyclepath but a lot of it seemed to be on main roads – the canal is all on cyclepath and takes you through lovely countryside along an unused canal.

Orléans is a bit of a strange place – there was some bombing damage in WW2 so it’s a mish mash architecturally, going from ugly post war blocks of flats to beautifully restored old buildings – but it’s also got a strange atmosphere. Or maybe a lack of atmosphere.  After St Chapelle in Paris, the church was nothing special – but then not much would be :). 

We hired bikes – I got a sit-up-and-beg type of thing without any suspension.  I was a bit concerned but Neil said it would be fine.  Neil has a proper hybrid (with suspension).  This wasn’t important on Day 1 but would be by Day 5. 

La Loire Nucleaire

Cycled 50km along the Loire and then the canal to a little place called Lorris.   All day we bowled along either by water or through the deserted countryside – beautiful. Lunch was a tarte aux lardons and a patisserie, by a canal lock in the middle of nowhere.  

In Lorris, we stayed at the Auberge au Sauvage, the only hotel in town.  Dinner was a steak with a foie gras sauce and a St Nicholas de Bourgeuil.

Conked out immediately my head hit the pillow to be woken at 5am by the local council out watering the village flowers in the dark, followed by beer lorry deliveries, followed by garbage collection.  It was charming, sort of :):)