The source of the Loire

As I left Sainte-Eulalie I heard what I first thought was bagpipe music coming from the woods. Without my hearing aids in I couldn’t be sure, so I stopped, and I could see at the end of a path into the woods a man just standing there playing some sort of ancient pipe instrument, not bagpipes, but something very medieval sounding and beautiful start to the ride.

At the source of the Loire a woman appeared as if she had been born from the very spring… I’ve seen far too many French films not to interpret that symbolically. She took a sip from the spring and said ‘Bonjour’, so I also scooped a handful of the water and drank it and said ‘bonjour’ back.

She works for the local authority, keeping the path to the spring clear, but of course in a film by Agnes Varda she would, wouldn’t she?

I imagine her name is Marianne, or Marie-France or somesuch, but didn’t ask for fear of disappointment.

The little hand-written sign says ‘Ici commence ma course vers l’Océan’.

La Full Montée

A glorious day, short in distance but big in climbing, up to the sources of the Loire – or thereabouts. It’s a 16km round trip from my hotel and I’m too knackered to do it now that I’m in the hotel room. Tomorrow morning I will, when I won’t have to return from the hotel.

The picture shows someone fly-fishing in the Loire at Coubon, which is a nice little place.

I think this is as high as I get on this trip, and from the sources onwards it is downhill all the way to the Rhône. That’s good because I think my bottom bracket may soon give up the ghost.

For the avoidance of doubt, a bottom bracket is part of a bicycle, not part of my anatomy.

Hard work today

Plenty of time going round in circles just north of Olliargues and at one point the gps took me through the grounds of a massive chateau miles from anywhere where a lot of people were gathered for some reason, and stopped to watch me pootling through.

The woman who runs this hotel is a female Basil Fawlty and her daughter is Lolita. Mme Basil, when she eventually appeared after Lolita went to get her, tried physically to throw my bike out of the lobby!

At least England are through to the semi-final.