|Orleans to St Dye sur Loire.
After a near riot outside our hotel at 2:00 a.m. (some Euro soccer hooligans says Al) we started the day early with a great breakfast and terrific coffee. (A cappuccino and two espressos can get you out of the starting gate rather quickly.)
About 52 kms, very flat, almost all of it paved, and very little traffic. And great weather – not too hot; not too cold. No flats (yet) or broken chains – the bikes are a lot better than last year. (We were remembering Arnie coming into Strausburg on nothing but rims last year!!) The bike paths are great and the routes are very well marked.
Most of the trip was right along the Loire, on top of what appears to be an old dyke. Flat, paved and an easy pedal. Beautiful French countryside.
Judy is not really playing by the rules – she has a gel seat cover and is now much the envy of those of us who are already a little sore. Speaking of sore – already a little worried about Al – he’s complaining about sore limbs and popping Aleve with 41 days of cycling left!!
Was surprised at the lack of activity on the Loire – didn’t see any boats, either commercial or recreational. Thought we’d be going through a few vineyards, but didn’t encounter a single grape. The most predominate crop was corn. Lots of wild poppies along the trail – very pretty, but I think they must be considered a weed here!
Did a short side trip to see the Château de Meung sur Loire, but unfortunately it wasn’t open. It looked impressive from the outside, although I gather it’s near the bottom on the French pecking order of Chateaus. We weren’t too disappointed in not being able to go inside as we found the local boulangerie (bakery) and wiped away our tears with a few delicious pains du chocolate.
Drove by the Loire Bridge in Beaugency – The factual gem of the day: On September 16, 1944, German Major General Botho Henning Elster and his 18,850 men and 754 officers surrendered here to U.S. Major General Robert C. Macon of the 83rd Infantry Division.
We are staying in a very small town (St Dye dur Loire) that doesn’t really have any sights to see, so we are having a quiet afternoon. The hotel is a very old – a former chateau, albeit on the smallish side. The first couple of beer went down very easily – especially since they weren’t red or fruity!
Dinner was at the hotel and was exceptional - amazing salads and appetizers; a main course of salmon, lamb or duck, followed by wonderful desserts of cheese (your choice of about 20 different types, apple tarts or carmerl brule. Very yummy. Vin du jour: Another Carbernt Franc from Chinon, as well as a fairly sweet white wine from the same region.
Off to see our first real chateau today! Cheers.