Read Brian’s blog for what we did today. Here are my pics from today.
Since Brian already posted his blog with the itinerary, I will share my pictures for the day.
This was our busiest day yet, with bike riding, site seeing, and traveling. We rode in Orleans and along the Loire for about 90 minutes in the early morning, returned the bikes, walked back to our hotel and had a second breakfast, checked out and then drove to Chartes for a visit to the really impressive Cathedral there. Afterward we drove to Versailles to visit the gardens and the grounds, and then drove to Charles de Gaulle airport to return the rental car. After that, we took a taxi to our hotel in Paris, checked in, and then went to dinner. And now I will share the pictures of the day.
After a very pleasant and tasty lunch in an outdoor cafe right outside of the Cathedral de Chartres, we made the hour long drive to Versailles.
Tomorrow we plan to do normal tourist activities in the Louvre section of Paris, which is where we are staying.
We were supposed to start this trip in Cholet but since we rented our bikes and there is no pick up in Cholet, we adapted and started in Nantes. We decided to do an out and back ride to familiarize ourselves with the bikes and the road signage. Picked up the bikes and off we went.
We were trying to use maps written in French. That didn’t go too well. Our route that Beth was plotting looked like a lot of points on a star. But we figured out the bike route signage which was a collective effort. They tried their best to put the bike route signs in the most inconspicuous places. Sometimes all three of us had a hard time seeing the next sign to turn. Mostly macadam but sometimes gravel paths.
We rode 58 K today. We all felt pretty good and liked our bikes.
Flight was a typical Europe red eye. Paris airport (CDG) is huge. It seems you can’t walk from one terminal to another. Beth rented a car in Terminal 1 but we arrived in Terminal 2. It took about an hour to make that connection. We always seem to struggle with the rendezvous.
The whole drive was rainy. Thank goodness we weren’t riding.
Mark and I were sleeping most of the ride to Nantes (pronounced Nohnts – sort of). I know I butcher most of my French pronunciations – big surprise.
Hard time finding the hotel. Not as bad as Luxembourg City. Beautiful hotel- friendly barmaid. Don’t worry Mar. Bed was rock hard and we all had a wonderful sleep.
Highlights: No flats; no dog chases; Mark following my blog; planning the next trip and pushing for more family to join us; incredibly flat Netherlands and Flanders section of Belgium; great hotels especially Martins Klooster in Leuven, BE and Hotel La Malle Poste in Rochefort, Be; The miles and miles of bike paths; the French dinner in Rochefort and the bread everywhere.
Lowlights: The hills into and out of Rochefort and the rain everyday but our last. It was so nice having Sag Lady along so the clothes we weren’t wearing didn’t get soaked. We always had dry clothes to change into.
Luxembourg City is a blend of new and old. Construction cranes were all over the parts of Europe we traveled thru, especially Luxembourg City. The roads today were the best we were on this trip. Reminded me of the difference in roads in Florida compared to the rest of our trip cross country. We had another nice bike path along a river into Trier. Supposedly the oldest city in Germany and an old Roman city.
That’s it for this trip’s blog. Already looking forward to next year. Marcia, Nancy, Mark and Holly are coming. We’re gonna have a blast. I’m not sure if this is me or the beer talking.
This day ranks right up there with some of our hardest days. Bottom line is we got spoiled with all the flat terrain in Netherlands and the Flanders part of Belgium. The rest of Belgium is downright hilly.
Leaving Rochefort, we started climbing immediately. We had successive climbs and descents. I was clocking the climbs and they were of the two mile long and lowest gear variety. Nice coasts downhill but we froze on the descents. After almost two hours, we had covered only about 15 miles .Very demoralizing, but the terrain improved after St. Hubert. From there the terrain became rolling hills.
The salvation of the day was the tailwind for the last 20 miles or so. It was just what we needed to finish today’s ride on a positive note. We left around 8:40am and didn’t get to our hotel until 5pm. We covered 74 miles which is a little more that Brian and I are comfortable doing in a day at this stage of our lives. Only one more day of riding and it should be a short one, around 30-35 miles. Then we have a four and a half hour ride back to Amsterdam.
We leave Chris at the Trier, Germany train station so he can catch the first of six trains he needs to ride to get back to Kopelain (sp?). The biggest bummer for Chris is that the first train from Trier doesn’t leave until 8:30 tomorrow night and he’ll have to ride and switch trains all night. Beth, Brian and I will be sleeping soundly in our hotel in Amsterdam tomorrow night. We’ll be thinking of you Chris.
I’m having a blast and am already making plans for next year. Even though it rained most of the day, we enjoyed the scenery. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take pictures when it’s raining. Here goes my attempt at today.
Google maps failed us today. Took us on gravel paths almost impossible to ride. We had to walk almost a kilometer on one of the paths. Also met a Belgium named Yeve, also traveling to Rochefort. Rode with him until Namur when he took a different route. Brian and I wished we could have taken the route he had mapped out.
Today was supposed to be 71 miles but I suspect it was more. I don’tknow the exact mileage because my odometer got too wet in a rain shower this morning and stopped working. Tomorrow is about the same distance but it’s supposed to be nice tomorrow.
Since I got so many replies to my picture blog (thanks Mark, you were the only one), I’ll try again.
Not much scenery today other than the old part of Tilburg which we rode thru at 7:30 am and the jarring cobble stone streets of Leuven at the very end of today’s ride. Off and on drizzle but not an issue. A strong headwind kicked up our last hour or two. Leaven, Belgium is typical of the towns we have been staying in with an old town square. Covered 67 miles. Tomorrow is our longest day of riding..
If I can get pictures to send, I hope to do a blog in pictures ala Mark.
Hope you enjoyed a sample of Day 1 and 2 pictures. I’ll try to post more tomorrow but internet is fickle and I am having a hard time adding pictures. 57 miles today. No rain and mild headwinds. Perfect temps for riding. Rain in the forecast for tomorrow’s ride.