(written by Nancy)
Well, as you can see by the numbers we didn’t make it far today. A bit of a rough night in the ole’ chambre d’hotes last night – stuffy, humid, smelly – you name it, we had it. Dave said this morning he was worried all night about bed bugs but we didn’t have those, fortunately (and I’m glad he didn’t tell me that last night!). We could hear the rain outside most of the night, which added to the overall atmosphere. We lingered this morning, having our oatmeal and coffee while we debated life and other things, including what the heck to do. By the time we moving the rain had stopped and we could see some clearing in the sky so there was some hope for the day.
Despite the relief from the skies this morning our internet research last night did not do a lot to lighten the mood, as it showed lots of heavy rain in the forecast on the way south for much of the next three weeks. Obviously long range forecasts are not entirely reliable but it’s not much fun to think of riding in rain like yesterday for much of the way toward Barcelona. And then there is the non-insignificant issue of getting over the Pyrenees, where already reports of snow are starting to appear on the forecasts. Hmm, lots to think about.
We decided to stop at the train station in Granville to see if we could find out what the options were for taking our bikes on the train (to some destination as yet unknown). That yielded some good information – including that we could, if we wanted, catch a direct train to Paris from Granville, with no transfers and the no charge for the bikes. If we tried to do that from some of the stations further south we would need to transfer trains or put them in a box to transport.
So, with that information we decided to take a few days off in Granville to try to figure out what we should do. We rode into town and stopped at the tourist information centre, getting some information on various accommodation options in town. We checked out a few hotels but ended up in another chambre d’hotes but this one is vastly different than the one last night. A very friendly French couple showed us to our room, which is bright and clean with a little balcony overlooking a park area. There is a little kitchenette that we can use and breakfast is included. The internet is a bit iffy but it works enough to get by. And we are getting lots of French practice, as the proprietors speak very little English. I had to laugh this evening as I listened to Dave try to explain to them in pigeon French why they had to reboot the router. You can imagine how that went over –it’s hard enough for non-techies to get in English and I can tell you his explanation was certainly no clearer in French!
We unloaded the bikes, cleaned up a bit and walked back into the town center to get some lunch. We haven’t been in France long enough to pay attention to the shop hours, so of course by the time we made it to a restaurant recommended by our hosts it was after 2 and lunch service was over. We got the same message at the next three places we tried. So we ended up with kebabs and frites sitting on the seafront (well, bay front, anyway) in the sunshine. Yes, the sun did come out today – it actually turned out to be a pretty nice day after all. We decided not to feel guilty about not riding and just enjoy the sunshine while we had it.
After lunch we wandered the town, stopping for a nice coffee and a pastry, and then picking up some bread, cheese and salami for a light dinner – and of course a nice bottle of red wine. We sat in our little kitchenette and watched French news on the TV, catching a word or two. It seems like years ago when we were in Nice so it was kind of fun to see the same news presenters and other familiar features.
There is quite a bit to do in this area so at this point we plan to stay here a few days. We are still trying to decide where to go from here, but it is likely that the route to Spain isn’t in the cards. I think both of us are a bit travel-weary and are not really inclined to push on through the rain and snow – it doesn’t quite meet my vision of riding through the French countryside, stopping for picnics of baguettes and cheese and wine… Well, perhaps that isn’t possible either no matter what the season (one glass of wine these days would be enough to make me dangerous on a bike) but there’s got to be something better than riding in a downpour!
We are considering spending some time in Paris in lieu of riding further south but that is just one of many options to consider. I think tonight we are too tired to think about it anymore so it is time for a cup of tea and a few chocolates to brighten the mood. We’ll let you know when we decide what the new plan will be.