We left Lyon in the middle of the afternoon and one more time we have no idea where we gonna sleep. After 75 km of a relax ride the sun is getting down, today is special day as we reached 7000km on the speed counter.
We are now in a small village it is called Crottet and decide to find a shelter for the night. Confident as usual, we enter a small road where are some lovely houses waiting for us to knock on their doors. The first try is the good one, it is a beautiful farm where a family is having dinner as we can see trough the window. Denis open the door and quickly all the family is there to welcome us. Usually it takes a few minutes for people to trust us but this time before finishing our icebreaker pitch Denis said :”Sure come and join us!” Everybody looks exicted about this friday night surprise. After having a soup and some delicious cheese, we started to talk about our journey around a bottle of wine. It is nice to hear Denis telling us he was hoping that one day he would see some cyclist like us knocking on his door as he likes to read books about people who travelled the globe.
While talking came up the idea that Denis and his son Léo would maybe plan a trip like ours but first they would lead us to one of the longest cycling path in europe on the way to Beaune the day after. As they say it is a very nice ride through the vineyards where we can also enjoy to pass by old castels. Before we went to sleep we agreed we would take the 7000 km milestone picture in the farm court on the morning.
The day after the weather wasn’t that good but they still wanted to cycle with us, after taking some pictures we said good bye to Mel (Léo’s girlfriend from Australia) , Monique and Lila we started cycling to Macon where we would get to the path. Once we got there we proposed to Léo and Denis to try our bicycles to see how it is. They liked it and did it for the next 30 km where we had to say good bye. So, thank you very much for the good time we spent together and all the best for your future trip !
The weather is now much better and reveal the beauty of the country side all around. Just after we crossed a very long tunnel we met a german who was cycling from Germany to the south of France. He also told us he was training for a much bigger journey next year in south America. He even looked surprised while we where giving him advices from our experience that we like to go and knock on doors and ask for a place to sleep. He didn’t think about doing that because it is not in his culture but then he said he would try. Obviously it is easy for us after spending 5 month on the road.
In the end of the afternoon we decided to leave the path and go back on bigger roads with cars as we felt like getting away from the right direction. We wanted to get to Beaune which was the target of the day. After 115km we entered the city of the “grands crus” If you want to spend 500 euros for a bottle of wine this is the place to go. After a quick tour of the city at night we found a campground where we met some cool guys they were there to collect the grappes for the Vendanges saison. With them we discovered how to open a bottle with a shoe when you have no opener. Here is the trick : Put the botton of the bottle in the shoe and find a wall to hit with that shoe, after maybe 50 times you’ll be able to remove the bottle cap. We had a plaisant stay at the camping as we didn’t pay and had some good fun with the campers. that’s what we’ll remember from Beaune
We cycled in the dark, as most days these days, got a little bit lost, then finally reached Carpentras where Nico’s relatives were waiting for us. After 6 months apart, it was with some emotions that we got greeted by the mum, uncle, little brother and his girlfriend in the house they rented for a week.
After the initial hugs, stories and lots of good food, we spent the rest of the evening next to the pool. A bit of luxury can’t harm, you know! The next day was a typical day in south of France : dry sausages, petanque and apero’s were on the menu, but no cycling. We took a day off before getting back on the saddle, heading towards Piegros, where we had a ‘plan’.
And swiming pool as well.
It needed us the whole day cycling to get to Piegros, more than 100 kilometers up north. The weather forecast were really bad, as storms were about to hit the area. Nevermind. Nico volunteered in Piegros’ castle few years before and we gave it a try, reaching the castle after climbing a huge hill…where Nico broke his chain after forcing on the pedals. We were luckily close enough to continue walking in the dark. “We’ll try to fix the chain tomorrow”, we thought. The castle was magnificent, overlooking the whole area…in pole position for the lightnings of the storm. We knocked at the door, but nothing happened…just a cat seemed to live there, despite some lights on in some rooms. After half an hour of shouting and knocking, we gave up, and start setting up the tent just next to the castle. Pity, the castle seemed to have enough room for 2 guests! We were without water but we looked around and managed to find a source nearby, where we filled our bottles.
The magnificent castel of Piegros
We camped as close as possible from the walls of the castle, as the wind was already about to blow the tent away. We got very lucky with the weather : the night stayed more or less dry, and we woke up on a dry ground. We quickly started fixing Nico’s chain (first time for both of us). It wasn’t the easiest bike repair we had to do, but somehow, it worked. We then hurried to go as the sky was threatening, cycled few kilometers then rain started falling, and falling, and falling more. We had the luxury to be near a big enough city, and we decided to take the train for the ride of the day, instead of cycling the storms.
Chain fixed time to go.
We arrived in Lyon in the evening, where the weather was as bad as it was in Piegros. We got in contact with Julie, the daughter of Alain, who hosted us a couple of days before, in Cote d’Azur. She welcomed us in the flat, where we could dry our clothes, take a shower and have some tea. Having a roof when it rains is a luxury we tend to forget, but this time we got to feel its true value! We clicked with Julie, who brought us out for some food delicacies in Lyon in the evening, and whom we spent two great days and nights. We had a pretty good feeling about the city : lot of arts, friendly, young people, good food, mountains and see at equal distance (2 hours drive), and great cycling paths! What else could we ask for? The second day, after a pretty fancy dinner made on our own (so good to have a kitchen at disposition!), we went out to have a feel of Lyon alternative music scene, with a Bass night in the basement of a little club. It wasn’t the most exciting venue, but good enough to keep the three of us alive until late in the night. The day after was about to be a hard day…but who cares?
good bye picture with Julie