The Mediterranean has been a recurring feature for much of our trip. We‘ve crossed it (at the juncture of Europe and Africa), cycled next to it, swam in it, and camped by it. But at the Carmague Delta (western Europe’s largest flamingo sanctuary) we waved au revoir to its sparkling surface before pointing handlebars north towards Avignon.
Since setting off we’ve observed the quiet settlements of southern Spain morph into the looming timeshares of France, signifying not only a shift in economy but also a change in drivers‘ attitudes -from cautious approaches to pacey overtaking manoeuvres.
At Avignon we linked into the ViaRhona cycleway, otherwise known as eurovelo 17, and followed its meandering path along the Rhone river – which, when fully complete, will provide cyclists with an 800 kilometre trail from the Med to Geneva.
Our 300 k from Avignon to Vienne awarded a chance to savour sleepy towns, cross centuries old suspension bridges, ford tributaries, admire Gothic Age architecture, and wake up to the franetic knock of woodpeckers in the riverside forests we camped among.
On its banks we marvelled at the long cruise boats passing by -enviously watching passengers enjoy 3 course meals on deck as we scoffed down crusty bread and budget cheese; crumbs bouncing off our sweat stained tops.
It wasn’t too far fetched to imagine the tour host passing the following briefing: “..and to our right ladies and gentlemen we have one of the last surviving tribes of Rhone river savages...” before a flurry of flashes lit up our retinas.
Parting from the Rhone we alternated between the yellow meadows and springtime plantations of the Massif Central but the forecast of snow and plummeting temperatures spurred us to bang out 240 clicks in just over 2 days, passing by our 3000th k for the trip and celebrating with…. a bag of peanuts!
Just hours before the rain hit we arrived at our mate’s place. Able to relax as the foul weather descended-not having to worry about whether the tent would withstand.
Now, having travelled roughly halfway to Scotland from Morocco we’re at the perfect place to let muscles relax, boils simmer down, and bikes take a break!
For a while at least..
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