Friday, June 09, 2006

Internet in Chinon!

OK quite a lot to report but the internet is not thick on the ground where I have been travelling. This morning I am visiting Chinon however, which is a bit bigger than other places I have been so I am using the internet before I explore! Silly really, as I am using up the cooler morning time and will be climbing to the Chateau in the heat of the day!

The weather has been great since June arrived. Long may it continue!

The Monday after Pentecost was treated as a holiday and I decided to have a day off the bike as well. Jour de congé. There was a pilgrilmage in Montrichard, as the church at Nanteuil had a beautiful new statue of John-Paul 2 with Our Lady. It was carved in wood. There was some wonderful singing from some seminarists from St Martin's and a quartet of brass players. A couple of processions and lunch under some trees with trestle tables, French style.

Next day I headed off for I wasn't quite sure where, but keeping south of Tours. I wasn't sure where the next camping grounds were as each tourist area usually only has the booklets for their own area. When you are going sideways across an area you soon reach the end of a tourist area! I ended up in Montbazon, by the river Indre, after a few hills along the way. Montbazon is an interesting old town, but the main highway runs right through the middle of it, destroying the calm somewhat. So even though the campsite was very pleasant right beside the river Indre, I only stayed one night. I am getting better at thinking nothing much at all of a 45km bike ride, especially when it is largely flat!

From Montbazon I collected some pamphlets for the Touraine part of the Loire Velo ride, and a list of Touraine camping grounds, and headed across to Savonnieres. Beautiful new camping ground right beside the River Cher. No restaurant open! But survived quite well from boulangerie and fruit /alimentation shop. There were some College pupils here with a group of teachers and I enjoyed their company in the evening. I would have loved the pasta and salad they threw out for my dinner but wasn't quite brash enough to admit I hadn't eaten properly!
It was warm in the afternoon but I took the cycle path along the Loire which had a bit of a breeze and had lots of people using it. Went to the gardens at Villandry. Unique. The decoration in the gardens is huge and very interesting to contemplate from above. I then continued along to see the confluence of the River Cher and the River Loire. I had grown quite fond of the River Cher beside my campsite in Montrichard and was a bit sad to see it disappear. On the way back I made a visit to the caves near Savonnieres. Seeing the way calcite was deposited was fascinating, and the tour guide was very animated, but the tour was a bit long with the commercial selling bits of their stone-objects. Good choice of a place to hide out though, a cave at 14 degrees when outside it is in the high 20s.
Next morning I took to the road with baggage again along the Loire River path. Travelled just past the turn off for the Chateau at Rigny-Ussé, where the bike path became unsealed and a bit rough looking so I took to a few quiet roads. Took me a little while to find the cycle track again at Avoine, but was soon in the superb campsite at Savigny-en-Veron. Not much else in this village though. Boulangerie was closed for the day. Finally found a restaurant serving mainly men's lunches. Made sure I had a heap of potatoes etc from the buffet! (Today I plan to eat up large at lunchtime in Chinon! - and yes I am losing some weight - a combo of all the cycling and the way French eating places have limited opening hours, especially in the villages and small towns!)
In the afternoon I went to see Candes-St-Martin which a French person had told me was a must-see. It is a beautiful village, and you can climb to the top of a hill to get a viewpoint of the confluence of the River Loire and the River Vienne. You also get a good view lower down beside the banks of the Vienne. The rivers stay their separate colours and don't blend straight off. The church there is St Martin's and this is where St Martin died back in 397 so it has been an important place of pilgrimage in the past.
Now I am in Chinon. From what I have seen it still has quite a large medieval section and it lies on the River Vienne. I have been using the internet though, and next I am going to go in search of a large guilt-free cyclists' lunch! Then I will see Chinon! Till next time! And yes, all you kiwis; I hope you are all surviving the cold back home!


  1. Great to hear your news Margaret. I bet you are feeling really fit and healthy now! It all sounds really scenic - looking forward to seeing some photos on your return. Grab someone to take one with you in it now and then huh?
    We're all fine - it's often a cold frosty morning start here in marlborough now, but fine days where you strip off extra layers by lunch time. We're all staying well so far (tough wood)

    P.S Brent says snow is due down to 600 m today!

  2. Yes, I just had an e-mail from Christchurch that said it was snowing there! Definitely warm here still, and the caretaker at the camping ground offered me iced water when I arrived yesterday in the heat on my velo!