Well, it was great, but my time cycling in the Loire is now all over!
I worked out a final route for Tuesday that was a circuit of just over 50km from Beaugency. It took me past the countryside and villages I have grown accustomed to. Some crops were ready to harvest and some sunflowers were nearly ready to flower, so you got these amazing contrasts of golden fields next to brilliant green. As always, you are moving at a speed where you get to see the details.
At the church in Talcy they had wonderful classical music playing, and I left on the bike singing Alleuia.
I had a problem with a loose guard at Talcy and took the bike into a bike shop I passed in Mer. It was fixed for me for next to nothing, I was told I spoke good French (which is all relative to most foreign customers who speak none- but it made me feel good anyhow) and asked what nationality I was. Then I was wished "Bonne Vacances".
At another church there was a very old scultpure on the front of St Martin sharing his cloak: this is a detail that I have seen often in this area.
Wednesday morning arrived and I packed up my belongings onto the bike for the last time then caught the train at Beaugency. I realised I had no photo of me all loaded up so got someone at the station to take one! Four Swiss cyclists joined the train at Orleans, en route home. The train was supposed to go to Austerlitz, but a power failure there meant we had to change to RER D to travel into Paris. This ended up much better for me as I then changed to RER B at Chatelet which had lifts to use, rather than all the flights of steps at Notre Dame station.
I took RER B all the way to St Remy les Chevreuse and then climbed on the bike for my last 13km ride to Bonnelles. I noticed I found the hills much easier, even with a laden bike, though they were still long and I did get off and walk!
Tomorrow morning I am leaving for St Malo and hope to get to Jersey soon though I am not sure about ferries yet! I am donning my backpack again and it is extra heavy at present. It has my 3kg tent in it. This was a cheap tent that has already got a cracked pole so I will ditch it after Jersey, but I don't think there are many cheap options there for accommodation other than camping. (I might be wrong). I also have a pile of maps and brochures from the Loire to post home, and think I can get surface mail in Jersey. I think I will keep hold of my bike helmet for now though in case I hire a bike somewhere for a day or two. We are used to wearing helmets at home, but they are not so common here.
OK time to go for now. Next blog may not be from France. But as always, plans are flexible!