Friday, 10 June 2016

Stage 16 Auxerre - Saulieu. We are stting in a cosy nook of the bar in the Hotel de la Poste, Saulieu as gentle canned music plays,a medley including Beethoven Moonlight ! We have had a very enjoyable meal and are rounding off with (another) glass of wine. We feel we deserve this. Today has not been completely easy. No, no major disasters or even dire weather though the rain arrived as we arrived at the hotel. Rather it has been another long slog with the final 20k going on forever. We started well in gentle sunshine and managed to see the inside of Auxerre Cathedaral. Admittedly it was touched go. Despite a notice saying the Cathedral doors would open at 7.30, they were very closed at 8.30. We were just about to leave disappointed when the Verger arrived. And so we were in and able to see the glory that is the medieval glass in the triforioum and the choir. Then we set off. Our entry into Auxerre had been through the awfulness of their Zone Industrielle. We expected to exit the same way. But no. In fact we left Auxerre without seeing anything of the town and found ourselves cycling along the towpath of the Canal du Nivernais. This was wonderful. Almost completely deserted, smooth and gently winding as the canal wound through wooded country. Every so often we would meet the river, still very much in spate. We saw an otter, fish jumping, ducks and swans. Ratty and Mole would have felt at home. After leaving the canal we were directed up an unmade road which quickly became very unmade then a quagmire. It was damp and humid, and you could hear the mosquitoes shout"Hey guys, dinner has arrived!) We abandoned this route very quickly. Then the long ride really started. It was picture postcard country - Burgundy - rolling wooded hills - but rolling  hills we had to cycle up and then down, then up again .....on and on. Now we were on a busier road with the usual camions and cars rushing past. This was fine when dual carriageway, less comfortable when not. A dearth of roadside cafes added to the strain...but we made it. Now recovering nicely we can look forward to the next bit - Chalons- sur - Soane ...but the forecast is not good. Rain! Let us hope it passes in the night.
 En avant la musique

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