Day 39 – God is paying me back for not believing 

Yes, when God cast the people out of Judea and told Noah to build an f-ing big boat, because it was going to rain, and I mean rain a lot, he wasn’t joking.

Oh and have I mentioned the temperature is 12°C. I take it all back Lourdes wasn’t about Cricket after all and they are not taking the piss out of sick people.

Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?

Reg: Fuck off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! ‘Judean People’s Front’.

Francis: Wankers.

and now for something completely different

Brrraaapp”.

As I sit here, writing this, or cut and pasting quotes from Monty Pythons Life of Brian It is pouring with rain and 12°C. We have made the decision to ride to the train station and get a train to Toulouse. It too cold and wet to cycle far and if we get to Toulouse we can join the Canal Du Midi a couple of days earlier.

I’ll update later because if it ever stops raining I’m going to take the tent down.

Well I boiled 6eggs this morning and left them in a bowl to cool off. That’s when it started raining again and when Bettie went to collect them there were only 4

a bit of investigation found some evidence

And further investigation found the culprit the campsite dog had nabbed a couple of our egg.

The ride to town was straight forward and the ticket office staff were very helpful and so were the station staff and ticket inspector on the train. They all spoke better English than our French “although that wouldn’t be hard” The train ride is 1:50 and there are three carriages with space for bikes. Something I think we could learn from.

Tonight we will stay in a hotel in Toulouse and then reset our ride South along the Canal Du Midi. Here is a picture of Bettie and I on the train.

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Day 38 – It’s a Miracle, we made it to Lords and there is no cricket match on!!

If you are of the faith of any religion  it’s probably best if you stop reading now.

No I meant now. 

Ok, but it’s not my fault if, I’m an atheist. Bettie wanted to go to Lourdes to see what all the fuss was about and I think we both left non the wiser. It is a town full of Churches and religious symbolism with lots of traffic and people. If you get some comfort from it them I am happy for you. It just left me feeling that a lot of people were being taken for a ride and it is a massive money making machine.

Enough of the serious stuff we have chosen a nice quite secluded campsite for tonight “see photo”

A short 35km ride with the glorious Pyrenees to our right most of the day. We now feel hat we are in transit to Toulouse where we will pick up the Canal Du Midi. I’ll add some photo’s here when I get a Wi-Fi connection

Here is the ride 

And here is tonight’s Rosé which score a more than respectable 7.9/8.0

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Day 37 – We are the Knights of Ni and we say Ni, Ni

We have been looking for a shrubbery all day but have found none. We cycled past Nay yesterday which is close enough to Ni to bring on a bout of Monty Python to past the mms.  Today’s ride was a quick’ish 60km with a flash tough Pua. It looked very nice and I think we will have to come back another time. The view of the Pyrenees was spectacular. Having now pitched up at a campsite called Kiri, we are having dinner and they had a veggie burger on the menu 🙂

The morning started with more rain so we had a walk around the town to try and to get a Peti d’Jounee but no success we went back to the campsite and had coffee and porridge again.

On the route out of Pau we spotted a micro brewery “B4” so had to stop for a beer. I had Vedett IPA and Bettie had a Blonde Citrus  Beer. The beer was great but their  own beer was off, and the barmaid did a great line in Frence customer service:-(. The place was empty all but one person sat at the bar. Of course as I stood at the bar in my cycling kit with a €50 note in hand, she completely ignored me and continued to talk to the guy at the bar. I walked closer to them to ensure that she had seen me, “No effect”, then another barman entered the bar. I thought great he will serve me. “No” this just gave her someone else to talk to while ignoring me. I waved my €50 note walked around the bar twice to check out all the pumps. “No effect”, the barman went to turn on the TV and she returned to the man at the bar.  I said “bonjour” a couple of times, I them tried “excuesz-moi”, She then turned to me and looked as if a tramp had just come in and asked for a light for the rollup he had made from fagbutts. Cue a shrug and some arm waving. Well the beer I wanted was off, but they had lots to choose from and €13 later I had two beers. Needless to say we didn’t stop for another. In an act of rebellion I didn’t take our empty glasses back to the bar, “that showed her”. 

These photos show the beers that were available if only you could get someone to pour one for you.

We are off to Lourdes tomorrow to see if a miricale can happen and I can get served in a France bar:0)

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Day 36 – Bells Bells Bells -We have decided to bivouac down on deck 54 to inspect the diesel engines.

Ok the diesel engines quote is from Red Dwarf. If you don’t know about Red Dwarf then shame on you. Of course this is a very British comedy so Matt Pammer and our Belgium friends are excused. The bells quote is due to the cows in the field next to us and the church that is 10m form the campsite.

We are going to try and get some sleep now but I think we my need the earplugs. 

So last night was a bellfest. The cows eat all night so the bells ring all night, it sounded like they were I  the tent at times. Then at 7am the church bell rang 7 times to let us know it was 7a”fecking”m and at 2 minutes past 7 it rang about 30 times to call the locals to mass.
Also last night we met Bert. Bert is from Flanders and is an old school Belgium. He  likes to drink, smoke and tell tales of his family and life. Here are a few facts about Bert. His Grandfather is 109 years old, His Dad was the school headmaster where he went to school, he has 7 brothers, his grandfather on his mothers side is from Scotland and was head of the McCloud clan on a hebradian Island and now by default he is the head of the McClouds, he once walked from Belgium to Santiago as a pilgrimage because hes closed friend had a miracle cure from a terminal illness, he is an honorary Basque and was presented with his Beret on stage after helping build a barn in his youth. All this and we only shared a couple of hours with Bert.

Today we road to Navarrenx it was a 50km ride but did start with a 500m Col, The Col D’squich which would of had some great views but we were in a rain cloud. heres a couple of photos.

We have arrived at a very British site owned and run by Brits. It seems very unreal to be in the Pyrenees and in France but be surrounded by British voices. Someone in a caravan next to us is flying the Celtic Nations flag on a 30ft flag pole, I can’t understand why but also don’t want to ask. Tonight’s wine is a Cotes du Rhône and scores a 7.6


Strava file

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Day 35 – Match abandoned due to heavy rain

Yes it was another stormy night. Thunder and lighting and pouring rain through the night.

After faffing about for several hours waiting for the rain to stop and trying to decide what we were going to do or where we were going to go. We chose a short 20km ride down the road to a secluded campsite in the hills. 

And guess what? We stayed dry all the way it was a spectacular ride with a few small climbs but great vistas. We passed what was a small stream “yesterday” but was now a torrent. I have added a short video 
“which will not upload at the moment” to show how much rain we had last night. The forecast for the next couple of days is for more rain but thankfully it then gets dryer. 

Bettie was annoying the feck out of me with the site piano.

This river was a stream yesterday. 

The clouds and rain were all around but we stayed dry. 

We are staying in a very small and very quiet “except the cow bells and the church bells” the campsite is call Inxauseta. The owner explain that this is the site of several walnut trees and that’s what the name translates to. If you just want to say Walnuts, use Intxaurrak the “X” is pronoused as a “ch” sound. 

Hopefully we will get better weather tomorrow, but not according to the weather forecast.

Here’s the Strava file

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Day 34 – oh bugger, more rain.

It looks like we are in for a few days of unsettled weather with heavy rain forecast footer the smile region. It poured down last night and heavy showers are predicted for today with another downpour tonight. We are planning a short ride today but just need it to stop raining long enough to get the tent down. 

We finally got the tent down and all packed and have chosen a destination. We are heading to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. It is a short 40km ride but mostly up-hill. Also the rain is in and out so we could stay dry or we could get soaked. Guess which happens. Yes of course we got soaked but the ride was through stunning scenery, we both felt like we could have been riding in Scotland, the mountains had the same green backdrop, it also felt about the same height. Of course the rain made it feel like Scotland.

it was only a 40km ride but mostly uphill here is the Strava file

When we got to the campsite the owner was just going out and he said he would be back later but showed us where we could pitch ther tent.  Thankfully we had no rain and was able to put the tent up in dry’ish conditions. A short 3km cycle in to town to get some provision “it’s Sunday tomorrow” plus a beer and some food.  The town is the start of the “The Camino de Santiago”  The tiwn was packed with tourist which were about to start the 600km pilgrimage and we spoke to a couple of Americans and a man from Canada, who were heading out in the morning. Hope they took a look at the weather forecast for the next few days.
We are not sure where we go form here v but I’m sure after a good nights sleep and we will make a good choice in the morning. 

Here are some photos from today’s very wet ride and walk around town.

Are yes we stopped at a bus stop to get some lunch and out of the rain. I think this photo says it all about how much rain we had 

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Day 33 – Drums Drums Drums 

So the festival in Hondaribba is coming towards its climax.  Last night the drums were going all night. We are camped about 2 miles away and Bettie kindly woken me up at 6am so that I could hear the drums. God knows what it will be like tonight. Although we should be about 45km away by then.

Last night we walked back from Spain to our campsite with little help from the Ferry. I snapped a couple of photos of the sunset and Bettie and I

As today’s ride was to be on the road we wore our helmets. If for no other reason than to stop our son nagging us;-)

The start of the ride was along the coast road back to Saint Jean du Luz. This time we followed the official route and the coast road was spectacular if a little busy, we got beeped a couple of times and a few close passes. Of course we ignored them all and just road on. It was more agrression shown by drivers in just this short section of road than all the rest of our trip.

I saw this Geranium and thought it was just the perfect colours of Spain so took a quick photo.

We bought some baggetts in Saint Jean du Luz so thought it would be nice to wash them.down with a beer at a random stop on the way to Cambo De La Bain.

The campsite was a bit out of town and if we wanted to eat we would have to walk a couple of km. Bettie wasn’t happy riding down this slop and even less happy about walking back up.

We are now in a bar and I am sampling the local Basque beer. It’s still fizzy but has hoppy taste. We are in this bar because we have to wait for the second sitting in the Resturant.

More news on the food later.

In the mean time here is toadys ride

Also we ordered a bottle of Rosè and it scores 8.2 joint first place.

So we had dinner in a Portuguese restaurant and the waiter/owner was very entertaining. We both had  Arroz de Bacalhau  Which is salted Cod with rice it was very nice. Bettie also relived a bit of her youth and we had a bottle of Mateus Rosè. This scored 3.1 on the wine scale but when in Portugal you have to drink the local plonk.

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