Greetings from Gallician!
Since Cédric’s update from Tournus, we’ve managed to put a few more miles on our bike.
On Friday, Cédric and I hit the road early to make sure that we could get into Lyon at a reasonable time. The plan was to visit Cédric’s childhood friend, Olivier. This day we followed the Saône river, which was nice until we approached France’s second largest city. There, we had to fight against rush hour traffic and not-so-bike-friendly roads.
Saturday, Olivier and his girlfriend joined us to travel to Tournon-sur-Rhône. After taking some oddly designated bike paths (trees in the middle, fences, and some with only a few inches/centimeters to pass through), we finally reached the Via Rhôna bikeway, which should take us down to the Mediterranean (granted that the paths are completed, which most aren’t). On the way, we passed through some nice medieval towns and old fortresses. Tournon-sur-Rhône was a picturesque town with a large castle in the middle of it… and a nice campsite directly downtown.
Yesterday, Sunday, Cédric and I bid adieu to Olivier and his girlfriend and started down the Rhône river again. Our day was comprised mostly of biking in the hot sun. However, early in the morning, we stopped in the Valance market to pick up food for the day. As we approached the Mediterranean Sea, crops changed from corn and wheat to grapes and fruit orchards. The climate also became more day. Last night, we slept at a campground near St.-Just-d’Ardeche… arriving with just enough time to hop in the pool.
Today, we had no bike path to follow and tried to stay on small, local roads. These roads took us up some very large hills and all through small villages. Instead of following the river, we decided to cut a few miles/kilometers and biked the most direct route to Gallician. This left us with some time to enjoy a nice birthday lunch and taste the wine of the region. Biking in this area, we can only see endless vineyards. From afar, the hills look like they’re green and covered with meadows, but upon closer inspection, everything has been cultivated for wine. Our day ended with another pitcher of local wine and a swim in the campsite’s pool.
Tomorrow, we’re following the Via Rhôna to Sete and beyond (today’s route was still in the ‘planning,’ or ‘we don’t want to spend the money on bike lanes’ phase, which seems ridiculous as the Gard region would be literally the only gap between the Mediterranean sea and Budapest – and beyond).
Cheers, Cassie and Cédric