Day 8 Briare to Sancerre

Today is the penultimate day of this trip. And one I was looking forward to, as the destination was Sancerre. My new found love of Sauvignon Blanc could finally be realised with some of it’s most famous and expensive variety at affordable prices hopefully.

The day started well as we set off from Briare. But not long after our departure the weather turned considerably nasty. Blowing a gale and absolutely tipping it down made the first 8 miles or so miserable – I was soaked!!

Misty, Wet, Loire
Misty, Wet, Loire

Soon we made it to the appropriately named town of Bonny Sure Loire – and as if to underline it’s name, the sun came out. Stopped for a coffee at a standard Tabac/Cafe. The people were lovely. Weird how the vibe of a place and it’s people can change in a few kilometers. These people were friendly, welcoming and cheery. Briare folk on the other hand seemed uninterested, slightly rude and miserable. It may just have been the weather in Briare, but in my opinion these people were far friendlier, and it was a smaller village.

Bonny SL
Bonny SL

After Bonny we crossed the bridge, back onto the south bank of the Loire, which by now is getting smaller. It’s weird travelling all the way on a grand river such as the Loire and seeing it diminish in size as you go. 

As a rule I have decided to avoid the parts of the EV6 cycle route where it is marked as stabilised path or track – you just have no idea what you might get, though in the main it has all been fine. Today though, as it was absolutely pouring again and very dark, I decided to take the path, even though I knew from the map it wasn’t ashpalt. Bad idea… It was a familiar kind of concrete based path (fine) but covered in a popular white fine gravel type substance. You can see it aproaching here:

Danger when wet.
Danger when wet.

we have been on this surface many times, and it has been fine for cycling. Today however, as it was pouring, it becamee a different proposition and a sort of wet cement was covering TZ and me. It completely got evrywhere on the bike, in the brakes, gears, dr’s, bearings, cables…

Messy nonsense
Messy nonsense

We made it to the small town of Belleville Sur Loire, where I began looking for a jet car wash – not joking! Tommy was seizing up as it dried. No joy on the car wash front so we found a toilet in the pristine tourist office and the man there (Nicolae) allowed me to continually trapse through his lovely shop filling up my water bottle 18 times! and using it to clean TZ!! It was still pouring and I was dripping mud, and white stuff all over his tourist office, but he was cool.

Nicolae
Nicolae

After Belleville we joined the trail again, knowing it was ashpalted and made good time to Sancerre, by which point it was sunny and dry, blowing a gale, but dry! Onne thing of note before we got there was another awful Nuclear power station:

image

I suppose they are necessary, and in a way greener than the carbon burning alternative, but still a blot on the Loire landscape. Though it is the mighty Loire’s very presence that makes the area ideal for them.

The journey into Sancerre was awesome. It sits on a significant hill overlooking it’s famous vinyards.

Sancerre
Sancerre

And it was actually quite an effort to get up to the village – but an enjoyable test, knowing a hotel awaited! After about 20 mins of switch backed climbing I got to this sign:

Decisions
Decisions

Either take the 400m at 45%!! or the 900m at 5%. I’m afraid i wimped out! Had I been on death trap I would obviously taken the former, but TZ and I are tired!! It was still tough!

Sancerre seems lovely, another tourist trap frequented by the British middle class, looking for wine, which they pretend they know all about, but lovely nonetheless. Went up to the top of the Sancerre tour and got some good shots – my favourites being of the Loire snaking through the valley. Going to have a few glasses of the produce now. tomorrow is my last day on the bike to Nevers in Burgandy.

Here is some of Sancerre.

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