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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.

Ragondin or Coypu

Don't think I'll ever make a wildlife photographer, or any kind of photographer in fact.  But hell, it's not every day you get to take a photo of a coypu; with ducks.

I retrieved my paté, cheese and wine from my neighbour's fridge, getting invited to share a pastis along the way, and sat and had dinner outside my tent, having turned it around against the wind and having put my bike in a back room.  Storms were forecast.

It did indeed thunder and lightening but nothing too severe, and the tent, as ever, gave no trouble at all.  Hilleberg Nallo II, fantastic.

 

Availles-Limouzine to Gurat

12th July, 106km, avg 14.1km/hr, max 57km/hr, 7.5 hrs

This is the map, a repeated link from the list on page one, of this section of the ride.  There's a bit of a gap, two in fact, between Saint Germain de Montbron & Villebois Lavalette, and then a much smaller one before Gurat.

I started off and it was raining slightly, which was lovely, it's nice starting early since it's cool and it's as though you've got the world to yourself.  The countryside was green and lush and hilly, though not too hilly, at least as yet.

 

Wide landscapes

Click on this photo to see a panorama, but I think even this smaller photo suggests the wider landscape that I'm in at the moment.  It's getting more hilly and this means that when you crest a hill you can suddenly see a long way.  It was still damp, as you can see, but nice riding.

 

More Chateaux

This was about 1.00ish, which means I'd had lunch.  It's a pity I can't remember where I ate since it was the worst food I'd eaten and the owner was horrible.  She was short tempered and rude, almost straight away, I should have just acted on my first impulse, which was to walk out after the first exchange.  It was simply that someone had said the food was good and I was tired.

This photo shows off what was becoming an increasing number of impressive dwellings.  It was the Charente still I think, though I was near to the Dordogne.  You can see why the English like the area, it was increasingly like some dream of England, but with sun.

At one point I passed a particularly nice stone-built house with someone working up a ladder who shouted down to his helper: "pass us the 'ammer Steve, willya?"  Not french then.