Thursday, 27 September 2007

Thursday 13th September (Day 57): Isles la Doubs to Osselle (91 km)

Today was possibly one of the best days cycling we have ever done. We had a leisurely start and rolled out of the campsite at 9.30 am. I spoke some of the first 'autentic' French that I have ever used, and proudly emerged from, the boulangerie with a baguette and 4 pain au chocolat!! We then set off a nicely grqded hill though a couple of towns and along a 'busy' road. Drivers are, on the whole, incredibly considerate. For example, the roar that usually heralds the approach of a large truck - enough to strike fear into the heart of most cyclists - instead results in the truck slowing right down and then passing on the other side of the road, sometimes forcing the oncoming motorists onto the verge! It's awesome. Cars will also follow you for kms down narrow roads instead of trying to push past. No wonder cycle paths are only just under construction; they don't really need them here.

The hills were sometimes steep but never uncycleable with a load, and a lot were edged with great avenues of plane trees covered in vines just on the turn and coloured russet, red, burnt umber, and yellow. The villages we passed through were 'real' old farm houses with chooks charging around the yards, while others are colourfully painted. A couple of ladies sat with baskets of fresh walnts, relaxing in the sun. Many of the trees were rustling wildly as we cycled by as people attempted to dislodge various nuts and fruit. At the camp site in the evening the lovely lady there came up and gave us a couple of huge handfulls of fresh walnuts - delicious.

Tobias found us at our coffee stop and joined us for the day's cycling. We cycled into Besçancon (busy, trqffic-filled, but with interesting narrow streets ad great tarte au citron) qnd then cycled out onto a cycle route beside the river Doubs. The campsite, apart fro, its close proximity to a gravel pit, was restful and, after a chilly dip in the lake, we cooked up on the picnic benches while watching the sun set.

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