Tues 30th April.
Leaving a nice home, heading to nowhere.
My host, I forget her name now, had a lovely family, three kids, a nice husband, Pierre I think he was called, taught computer stuff to others, freelance and at home.
They had a beautiful garden that reminded me of George Harrison’s in the film about him by Martin Scorsese.
I offered my coffee for her hospitality of the room and after looking hugely disappointed, she accepted, I then offered what money I had left and she refused. It was weird.
At Chartres, while having a coffee, I was deciding which way I should go towards Nantes, a place I always wanted to go to, namely because of the Jacques Demy film Lola partially being filmed there.
After deciding to go, I originally wanted to go via Le Mans, the city famous for the 24hour endurance race, but had decided to join the Loire river for the cycling, via the city of Tours.
While cycling, it had started to rain. I’d got my wet weather gear on and kept moving. I met another cyclist on the road, a Frenchman called Eric, the first person I’d cycled with on the trip. We had a conversation in broken French and English and he took me on a different route to the one I had planned. It followed a small river and was by far the best scenery I’d seen yet.
Eric was just out cycling, making up about 70km or so for his daily challenge, unphased by the weather. If it rains at home and I’ve planned a cycle, I’d usually bypass it in favour staying dry. I admired his commitment to cycling.
After a while, he left and gave me a long string of instructions on how to get where I was going, which I immediately forgot. I’m pretty sure I went wrong at the first junction, but continued in what I knew to be the right direction. The GPS still not working at this point.
I continued south and ended up going through a charming, shanty-old fishing town called Fréteval. Lots of green with a cliff over-hanging the road on the left and a river on the right. On going through the town I saw a person peeping through their windows at me, then adjusting their curtains and shutting them. This immediately dampened my impression of the town. Suddenly it seemed dark and bleak. Still, I’m convinced it was a gem few travellers would see.
I continued finding a spot for the night by the like a few km away from the road, with a train passing in the distance every half hour or so. This was the second time camping in the wild. I started listening to podcasts to drive away the loneliness of camping on ones own and before long, I was completely relaxed.
That night I had an assortment of strange noises around the tent that made it difficult to sleep. After a while, I assumed if something was going to happen, it would’ve happened by now and I drifted into sleep.