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Auxerre to Agen

Another recumbent bike epic across France.  There seems to be a theme developing, accidentally, but based on European Bike Express' collection points; the last one was B to B (Beaune to Barcelona), this one is A to A.

Having gone down the east of France and over the Massif Central last year this year I thought I'd explore the westerly area a little more.  So, this trip went from Auxerre, followed the Canal du Nivernais to Decize, went west towards Chateauroux and Le Blanc then Poiter, followed La Vienne river skirting Angouleme, Limoge and Perigeux to get to La Reole, finally following the Canal Entre Deux Mers to Toulouse and a bit beyond before returning to Agen for the coach journey home.

About 1,500km in all.

Campsite Availles-Limouzine

At the campsite, just back over the bridge, was fantastic.  Very friendly and helpful people, all the campers were equally so, with a fantastic position right on the banks of the Vienne.

You could swim in the river, the toilet facilities were spotless and well equiped and almost all the emplacements were shaded.

Although this is a dreadful photo it conveys the space, feeling and sunny aspect of the place.

 

Rest day

Since the site was so nice I decided to have a rest day here.  As it turned out I should have had more since I was going way too quickly.  I'd allowed myself 3 weeks to get to my final destination, Agen, but got there in 8 days.

As I mentioned, not only were the owners nice, the other campers that I met were too.  My immediate neighbours kept some food I'd bought in their fridge.  The couple opposite was a language teacher teaching, in addition to her native French, Arabic, and English.  Then there was an English couple, Jackie and Peter from Scunthorpe who were lots of fun.  Peter is in the Guinness Book of Records for instance for the fastest LEJOG (Lands End to John o' Groats) in a pre 1930's car!

 

A trip to the bakers

I'd got up early and decided to walk into the village to the bakers.  This was taken at just after 6.00am.  Click on the picture to see a panorama.

Just as I was taking this photo Jackie, the woman I'd met the day before, came across the bridge with the same plan - going to the bakers.  We strolled and chatted, something we'd end up doing quite a few times during the day.

 

Looking south

This was the view from the other side of the bridge, looking south.  It's early and so you can still see a bit of mist over the river, which is like a mirror, not a ripple.

I bought my provisions and decided to explore the village a little.  I made my way up to the church on the hill, thinking I'd find a town square with a bar or somesuch, but there was nothing.  I did, however, have the good fortune to meet someone coming out of the church and got into a most interesting conversation about the meaning of life, the changes in village life, and his job, having come out of retirement to do it, of training vets.