Sunday 27.05.2012 Dole – Baume les Dames 96kms
We are sharing a magnificent ranch, which overlooks swathes of verdant countryside punctuated with areas of limestone outcrops. Horses are galloping freely along the cliff tops. We are lounging in a bedroom with two double beds and white voile curtains blowing gently in the breeze……………then I wake up!
Now, last night’s accommodation may not be to everyone’s taste. It requires a special person to appreciate the crumbling concrete, the rusting ironwork and the flaking paint not to mention the retro vinyl floor which would have benefitted from a good scrub. However, the small room we shared was clean and we both enjoyed a full and undisturbed night’s sleep. Our evening meal was shared in the company of several families who had seen better times but were apparently making the best of what was available to them. (Gives one an appreciation of our good fortune). Our meal was nourishing if basic and still an improvement on that which was served up the rest of the company. We found ourselves quite alone for our breakfast at 08.30 and a pretty meagre offering it was. Bread and jam to munch, but copious quantities of orange juice (vit C for Al) and excellent coffee. Nothing here provided any sort of incentive to linger and so by 09.30 we were on the road! Better than our average. And what a morning! Beautiful weather, stunning countryside, a slightly mucky and sluggish canal, birds tweeting and the whole world bidding each other a joyful ‘bonjour’. Must be that morning people are better disposed towards their fellow man. What say you, dear reader?
At some point during the morning, we met/almost collided with another cyclist who recognised our Welsh flag. “Oh, my husband was originally from Wales although we have lived in Canada for forty years.” We exchanged pleasantries and, I like to think that it was because they were un- accompanied by Sherman and Herman, that they disappeared into the distance along the canal path. But no matter, we were to meet them again at a turn in the canal. A tunnel had been cut through the hillside for the benefit of the barges, although we had to ride over the top! On this far side it had been decided to make a feature of the entrance or exit depending on your direction of travel. A veil of water cascaded over the aperture, accompanied by lights and mirrors in the tunnel. Rather than try and describe something so beautiful I shall ask Mr. Technician to include a photo. Anyway, it was here than that we met again our Canadian friends an exchanged a more meaningful conversation. We left them with our card and if they do get around to reading this, we would love to hear how your journey progressed.
As a result of our early start and easy, pleasant riding, we had reached Besancon by lunch time! So, no stopping there then. A quick consultation and we made the decision to risk another 40kms in the hope that the campsite named in our magic book, would live up to expectations. Whoopee doo, it has. We are ensconced in a delightful wooden chalet with views up the gorge. I can stand up to cook, we have our own bathroom and even a ‘fridge! This will be our day off stopover.Today, we have cycled through some of the most breath-taking scenery in the Jura. Pedalling along dedicated cycle tracks alongside either the river or the canal, we have watched the river traffic; we have passed by well-appointed housing with the river in front and massive limestone cliffs to the rear. (I could have lived in one of those). And the sunshine has not failed. We have also made up some of the mileage lost yesterday. (My elephant lives to fight another day – no bits missing).