Day 17

La Rochelle.

What a difference!

This morning was a bit overcast but there was no wind and cycling the 45 kms to La Rochelle proved to be much easier than the last few days have been. The track was generally good and, unusually, I didn’t get lost.

Breakfast was as good as had been promised. Organic everything, fried eggs to order and lots of bread, juice and coffee. Madame was getting ready to leave at the same time as me. My guess is that she was on her way to the garden centre in preparation for her next guests.

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The route today stuck with canal paths again and was ably delivered by a compliant Sat Nav. As I got closer to La Rochelle the colour of the canal turned a distinctive turquoise.

Tree-lined canal towpath

Tree-lined canal towpath

A heron, ready to strike.

A heron, ready to strike.

Peas?

Peas?

Canal in La Rochelle

Canal in La Rochelle

The route was once again lined by fishermen. They have some amazing kit, no doubt bought with the money saved by their lack of social drinking. The guy in this photo has the latest camouflage outfit bought from Pecheurs R Us which is so good you can’t see him except for the shadow he casts. That made this morning perfect for him. No sun – no shadow.

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And so to La Rochelle. I love La Rochelle even more than Les Sables.

The port is right in the centre of town and the roads and lanes are peppered with beautiful old buildings. It has a strong Protestant heritage and has historic links with Protestant England. The English are, in general, looked on with much favour here as I found out later with the most notable current Englishman of stature being Johnny Wilkinson. Someone actually said “Quelle Homme!”

There must be a restaurant for every day of the year in the centre of town but it still retains its charm with covered walkways, churches and tree-lined squares. And in the middle of it all, a huge harbour with pleasure boats, yachts, Island hopping tourist ships and plenty of old wooden sail ships. Another one for our bucket list Gilly!

a few photos:

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As the man said: " to prove you wus 'ere to your waf eh?"

As the man said: ” to prove you wus ‘ere to your waf eh?”

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I got settled in to the hotel then went for a wander. I couldn’t work out why today was billed as Black and Yellow Day and the centre of town was closed to traffic. At about 3.00 p.m it got a bit noisy so I followed the crowd into a town square there they were!

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Stade Rochelais were playing Agen in the Rugby Union league 2 final, fighting for a place in the top division. The sun came out, the guy next to me, realising I was from England, insisted on going to get me a beer to personally thank me, on behalf of the Rochalais people, for standing up to Germany in the war, for our Protestant heritage and for Johnny Wilkinson. I think it wasn’t the first time he had “popped to the bar” this afternoon.

La Rochelle won and were promoted, I got a hug from a Frenchman and some friendly advice that it might get a bit lively in town later.

It would have been a good day for us both to have been here Gilly. Perhaps when we come back we can time it for the next Rugby promotion race involving Les Rochelais!

 

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2 Responses to Day 17

  1. Alan says:

    Made it to La Rochelle, that must be a landmark on your epic pedal. Love the selfie in the new gear, careful you don’t get lost in a field of french sunflowers mind, sounds like the garmin wouldn’t be much help to get you back on the straight and narrow.

    Alan & Marg

  2. Jane n Chris says:

    Hi Dave. Been off line for 4 or 5 days so am playing catch up. Congrats on your amazing progress and fortitude. V impressed by the heron shot too. Chris n Jane

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