Saturday, 24 September 2011

falling acorns

bonjour tout le monde

it has taken me half an hour to figure out a way to be able to type in a non french keyboard way. i am consequently not in the best of moods right now. i am writing to you from a large town called vannes, on the coast in brittany.

here is a small summary if you only want to read a little bit:
  • it's day 8 today.
  • it's seriously impossible to find internet access in france.
  • we've cycled 230 miles since tuanton. ish.
  • my legs hurt.
  • the most we've done is 40 miles in one day. this is not very much. we are not exactly caning it.
  • france is pretty damn hilly.
  • we met a man who told us not to try doing the coast in this area, so we headed back inland then kind of back towards the coast, we're going inland again soon. a bit circuitous but c est la vie non.

here are some little messages
  • abi - your peruvian necklace is safe and sound and having a lovely time. thank you so much.
  • helie - i hope you get that job in swindon even if it is in swindon.
  • mum (or anyone else who is interested in the health of my feet) - my feet aren't hurting too much.
  • sarah/rod - how the HELL did you cycle 100 miles a day when you did the italy trip? respect. did you camp?

i last left you with a small day 2 update, which was landivisiau to chateaulin. day 3 was a rest day in chateaulin. we cycled around a bit, and hung out in a tabac for a while. we realised that french people like tabacs, creperies, and coiffures. or rather if i was an alien visiting from space that would be the only conclusion i could come to, based on the frequency of them. i have seen approximately one million creperies, and half a million coiffures so far (hairdressers). the only places you actually see french people is inside / outside establishments that provide alcohol, tobacco, or lottery games. at a tabac you can indulge all 3 of these vices. great fun if you ve got an addictive personality. a new lottery game comes on the tv every 3 minutes.

another thing that french people do, or at least seemed to be doing on day 3 or 4, just to spite us, is shut up shop at lunchtime and drive around roundabouts out of town. we were trying to get into quimper (pronounced camp'air) to perhaps use the internet (you'll be lucky), but were thwarted for some time by a million roundabouts, which quickly became my least favourite thing, along with stopping every 2 minutes to read the map. we stopped at a roadside quick (like mcdonalds) and bought some fries to cheer me up. disappearing road signs seems to be something that the french take a certain delight in too.

i lost my cycling mojo, so to speak, around day 4 or 5, when i had to collapse and drink a rehydration sachet by the side of the road. later the next day we realised that i'd been cycling with my front brake on the whole day and perhaps day before too. ah ha. if you hear a noise when cycling, it's worth investigating sooner rather than later. that is the lesson i learnt. that day, day 5 (weds), was really hard work because of that, but ended with the most amazing campsite ever. we followed a little sign down a little bumpy track and there was a farm and a field full of haystacks and yurts, and there was monsieur haystack himself. the grass was long and comfy for camping, but sooo dewy in the morning. there were quite a lot of daddy long legs (presumably in french these are known as pere jambons longues, if not they should be).

so basically we are camped just outside vannes today and having a rest day, we have bought 2 new maps for the next bits of cycling, and are going to a hypermarche after this to get some new gas for cooking. i think the plan is to get on a canal route that goes all the way to nantes, but not to go in to nantes, as we are fast learning that going into big cities SUCKS on a bicycle. i'm loving being in the countryside and on little roads.

here's a summary so far
day 1: roscoff to landivisiau; 25 miles
day 2: landivisiau to chateaulin; 39 miles
day 3: rest day in chateaulin
day 4: chateaulin to foret de fouesnant: 39 miles
day 5: foret de fouesnant to le pouldu: 31 miles
day 6: le pouldu to pont augun: 40 miles
day 7: pont augun to muercen near vannes; 27 miles
day 8: today

sorry for the totally boring and very incomplete blog update but its a combination of fatigue and frustration at not being able to use the keyboard properly. there are lots of amazingly witty and insightful things id like to write about but i just cant do it at the moment. one thing i wish id brought is a tiny laptop to do blog updates along the way in the evenings. i recommend reading jameses blog for a more comprehensive update so far.....  he is far more patient than me which is proving very very useful on this trip......

over and out for now and apologies mon amies et j espere que je peux trouver un qwerty keyboard bientot
adios x

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