This is my second day off at La Rochelle. I had to work quite hard to allow myself more than one but I did and now I’m glad to be stationary. Since I last posted I have ridden over 300 kilometres in three days. Considering the lack of Tarmac and a few farmers fields were involved I’m very happy with that.

On Saturday I pushed myself to get here riding 127 kilometres. It was epic with parts of the trail
Blocked so sheep could enjoy it and others seemingly unridden since the French Revolution.
Once I arrived my body said ‘ now rest Graeme.’ Being a reasonable sort of a chap I am.

I’ve been into the old city today on my bike. A place where gothic architecture is everywhere. The old port has a Venetian feel to it (not that I’ve been to Venice yet). The city is perfectly set up for cycling with over 160 kilometres of cycle way paths, a rental service called Yelo (because the bikes are) and a bus service of the same name.

You can explore the centre, the parks and the coast with your bike and the tourist office gives away free maps to make this easy. If you don’t have a bike you can hire one cheaply and some are a available free for to two hours. How good is that?

Yesterday’s carnival is gone and so are the children waiting patiently with their bags of confetti to throw at the passing floats. The centre was still bustling today though, bursting with tourists, and I had to stop so many time because staring up at wonderful architecture and riding along don’t mix.

Last night as I sat by the tent talking to another Brit, two cyclists pulled into the campsite. I knew they were from the UK or holland , they had white skin in comparison to everybody else. They stopped and said hello and I thought I recognised the man. A short conversation later it turned out that he was thinking the same. it turned out that he and his wife came from Torrington which is just up the road from me. More than that, they came to one of my talks about cycling around the UK.

They are travelling north on quite a tight schedule. Having abandoned the trail itself in search of shorter,quicker, and more direct roads they were finding the traffic fast and not overly polite. I haven’t seen much traffic and I know the straight roads are often driven fast so I’m happy to avoid them at all cost.

They left this morning after the usual exchange of stories about northern and southern parts of France where they and I were heading. Cyclist always do this to glean information and knowledge of what lies ahead. After that I wished them well and returned to doing very little again.

My afternoon will be spent relaxing and continuing to refill the energy reserves. Tomorrow I head down towards Royan where I will catch a ferry across the estuary. I don’t expect to get there tomorrow, 100 kilometres a day is enough and I will be searching for somewhere to slumber from about 80 kilometres onwards. This is plenty after allowing for errors, route finding, shopping etc. otherwise it all gets too late and I don’t have the time I need to relax, recover, or enjoy where I am.

Weekly low: my iPhone got red hot yesterday. When I tired to charge it up and now it’s dead. So I had to buy a cheap unlocked phone and now I can only talk. Ironically I’d just said that doing all manner of stuff on my phone was too many eggs in one basket. Ill keep quiet in future. 🙂

See you all soon and I hope you are enjoying the sun too.

NBC: 40 km from Royan where I catch the ferry and pass into the Gironde. 🙂 28c today and a following wind again. How lucky is that.

Please donate to Sustrans at www.justgiving.com/Graeme-Willgress1