Monday, 12 July 2010

Hello from Dampierre-sur-Salon

Sorry for the long silence- we've been travelling through seemingly the middle of nowhere for days, getting blank expressions whenever we mention the Internet. But here we are in Dampierre-sur-Salon (yes, we'd never heard of it either) where we have a feeling they've just built an internet cafe in the top floor of an office espicially for us.

Day 6
We went on to Froncles, another big distance day of 81 miles, but large parts of that were along a beautiful flat canal. Had lunch at Lac du Der, a lake bigger than Reims! Went for a quick swim, got chucked ot in favour of a load of jet skis.
We pretty much fell off the road at Froncles, straight onto the campsite. It was beside a river, so more swimming, and really nice showers, then bed...
Day highlights:
Greg speaking French all by himself to the lady in la Poste
The greengrocer with the super air conditioned shop and an exceptional pride in his fruit and veg in Joinville.
The hill down into Joinville- worth every bit of the hill up!

Day 7
Sunday. Left early to try and find a church. Thought we'd head for the nearest big city, Chaumont. It had a basilica and 2 churches, can't go wrong we thought... but no, no Mass all Sunday, so we cycled over to the next village to a new age shed church for Mass. The basilica round the corner was much better designed for the French summer... meltdown.
Another thing about France on Sundays- no one moves. Empty streets, dead shut shops. We cycled up and down a hill twice to find a truckers self service cafe for lunch, and almost cried when the skinny woman next to us left a whole plate of chips untouched. Then we just carried on south east, nothing else we could do really. Overall, we did 64 miles, and ended the day in the middle of nowhere (more precisely just south of a small town, Les Loges, SE of Chalindrey) camping in a field next to a puddle river, with some crisps, rock hard bread and Oreos from a petrol station for dinner. And breakfast. Quote of the day from Joseph, washing in the mud pool river- 'I feel like Pocahontas.' Sunday was definitely the lowpoint of the trip so far. Started to feel like a bit of a pilgrimage... Total distance in first week overall 476.74 miles.

Cycled, after a nourishing breakfast of 2 oreos and a slice of stale bread to Champlitte, where we overpowered the Boulangerie by our enthusiasm for their bread and pain aux raisins. Champlitte is a very pretty town, again, never heard of the internet. Carried on round a load of silly hills (Alps training, apparently) to Dampierre-sur-Salon. Tonight, we are rejoining civilization and the land of running water and camping in Besancon. Tomorrow, we're starting to hit the Alps. If you were waiting to donate, now would be a great time!

It is very very very warm, we seem to have acclimatized. The other morning, we were talking about it being almost chilly, turns out it was 26 degrees.
The bikes are all lovely, apart from Brutus, who appeared to be dying, until Joe did some fancy gear spanner work. Didn't fix the cranky pedals, though...
Hand washing the clothes appears to be becoming futile. They don't get much cleaner, and we set off every morning with washing strapped onto the bikes to dry. We don't look all that pro with underwear flapping around.
And if you are French, or driving in France today or tommorow, please refrain from beeping and making Tour de France/yellow jersey jokes. We've heard them all. We are NOT the Tour de France, we're carrying a tent.

Lots of love

Spanner, Go and Greedy.


  1. Great post - many thanks for the update. Thank you also for the warning as I was going to crack a terribly funny and original joke about yellow jerseys and the Tour de France. I won't do that now. You're making fantastic progress.

    Good luck with the Alps - that'll be tough, I'm sure, but you should get some amazing views.

  2. You do realise that the one who gets up the Alps before the others gets to wear the red-and-white polka dot jersey ? [Not the yellow one.] Allez Treloars !!!