Yesterday, our speedo clocked over the 3,000 kms ridden. The tour Aotearoa (Cape Reinga to Bluff brevet event) by bike is approximately the same distance. By comparison, we have now covered the same New Zealand distance lengthwise since rotating out of Budapest towards the west.
On a day by day basis, you are zoned in on what is in front of you daily. Or when you look up, around you. Unconsciously, you just follow the routine and like puzzles pieces, they soon fit together to create a larger picture when you take a macro perspective look.
When asked if we have camped a long the way, we both have to grin our response that it too has had a fantastic journey, never erected because it has not seen the light of day from inside it carried bag! It has had company with each carrying sleeping bags, bed rolls, blow up pillows, sleeping bag liners, and head torches! And still looks that way in the last days ahead because camp grounds across France have closed for the season. They re-open in May next year and wild camping really has to be stealth.
However, we would do it again. Carry such. If our bikes broke down at any time inbetween points A to B, we had emergency shelter for a night. Gas cooker, pots and pans and a water filter too. Which would have been interesting because we just discovered that we didn’t have anything to ignite the gas with, removing a lighter and matches on the flights to above the northern hemisphere.
A grimace turned quickly into a grin and then self depricating name calling laughter! More directed at me!
Riding right along, we departed Saint-Gilles following cycle path markers the whole way to Les Sables. Coastal views and wetland crossings went hand in hand. Another much larger boat harbour with protruding walls out into the Atlantic. We rode out onto the point of the mouth on one side to sit an eat our quiche and jambon roll looking back at the city skyline and beach frontage. It was really lovely and a marked improvement on the one ridden past yesterday.
The tide was out, small dots of people were both horizontal sunbathing and vertical swimming. We rode along the length of the esplanade people watching, gawking at buidlings, perving at both. An ice cream break to soak it all up before we found our hotel just two streets over. An earlier check in time and clean up meant we could go wandering to explore.
Rue de l’Enfer just ten metres from the hotel front door, was the narrowest street in the world up until 2006. Then there was the Notre-Dame-de-Bon church to the right at the end of the street. We entered and were again in awe at the ceiling height and front staging with stained glass window detailing. A little further along the street, the L’ile Penotte where one woman artist has transformed alleyway walls into seashell murals. Wonder if she ate all the shell fish before affixing!
Then we strolled down to the beach. The tide had encroached inland somewhat and the number of people had multiplied by the hundreds. We made foot imprints on the sand as we ventured out to the waters edge to finally actually touch the Atlantic Ocean for the first time since arriving at the coast, and stroll some more in its shallows.
There was no guts and glory nudey entrance like we’ve done before.
Maybe the body weariness from the kms ridden is starting to tell us that we aren’t as young as we once were. Or perhaps we have matured somewhat gracefully as we have aged over the last year or three.
Nah, definitely the first one!