Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Gien, Camping Touristique de Gien, Cycling along Loire

Monday, 26th September 2016

A heavy overnight dew, and a cloudy, cool, start to the day, but, by lunch-time, it is 22C sunbathing weather.

Essential foodstuffs are required, so, we have to go shopping.

We have been to Gien before, and, vaguely recall to location of the Lidl, or, we think we do.

We peddle across the bridge, and through the town, but, no Lidl to be found, instead, we find an Auchan, which supplies our needs.

After Auchan, we head for the church, to check Mass times, ready for Sunday.

The church is at the top of a very steep hill. Kathleen is very proud of herself because she managed to cycle all of the way to the top, while I had to get off and walk the last 20 metres or so. My excuse is, I was carrying additional weight (ie 2 litres of milk, some bananas, etc), plus.

On our return, I check with the all knowing Google, sure enough, Lidl WAS where we thought it was, but, it has closed down. 

Not much of a recommendation for Gien, if it cannot even support a discount retailer, like Lidl.

In the afternoon, Kathleen enters into a hair-care session, so, I take my bicycle and explore along the banks of the Loire, to check out the cycle track for Kathleen's proposed outing, tomorrow, weather permitting.

More Brits arrive, as neighbours, so, after cycling / hair washing / hair drying etc, the rest of the afternoon is spent sitting in the sun, chatting and drinking beer. What a hard life.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016

Another sunny day, with temperature at 23C by lunch time.

We cycle along the Loire to Briare, "famous" as the point where two canals (Canal Lateral de Loire and Canal de Briare) meet and cross the River Loire, via a rather grand metal bridge..

There is a cycle track, shown on our tourist map, but, Kathleen opts to follow the (quiet) D951, because it looks more direct.

We do not know it at this point, but, this turns out to be a wise decision.

Briare turns out to be a pretty place, with, of
course, the famous canal bridge.

We stop in the, very pleasant, square, initially, for a refreshing beer, but we succumb to the atmosphere and rumbling stomachs to eventually, decide to have lunch and some cool Rose wine.

We choose from the 12Euro menu, Kathleen has a rather delicious Beef Bourgoine, whilst I select a pork dish.

Mine too is delicious, but, judging from the shape and appearance, it is what we would
call pigs trotters, although Kathleen reckons it was what we would call Pork Hock. 

Delicious anyway.

Kathleen, being her talkative self, after a little drink, has a conversation, in French, with a chap who turns out to be a Russian.

We eventually tear ourselves away from lunch and have a little explore, the church, because it may be where Kathleen has to come to on Sunday, and of course the Marina on the canal, where there is a Campervan Aire.

Here we meet a couple from Carlisle, wandering their way through France, and spend some time swapping Aires and Campsite information.

We also learn that the Newcastle - Amsterdam crossing may be cheaper than we have been lead to believe, they paid "only" £420 return.

Eventually, we make our way back, I convince Kathleen we should use the cycle track.

The cycle track is good, at least there is no traffic to contend with, although Kathleen is not happy on two counts: 

a) it is undulating, unlike the D951, which is flat.

b) it is in the shade of trees, so, no sun tan as you peddle.

At the ten mile mark, we come to a particularly steep incline, which proves that beer, lunch, wine, and hills are not a good mixture.

Then, we come to a section where the cycle track is closed, no apparent reason, just a barrier and a "Route Barre" sign, so, we have to rejoin the road anyway.

Sixteen miles and a good lunch, an enjoyable outing.



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