Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nice and warm showers

We left my sister's house on a rainy morning. The morning became afternoon and it kept raining all the time. We are clad well and the rain was not too hard and too cold, so we pedalled on over the Morvan's slopes. Up and down again and again, reached altitudes over 700 meters. After 66 such kilomters and app. 700 altimeters we stopped at Pouilly-en-Auxois, where the country is flat again. Here we booked a room in an Etap-hotel, a formula-hotel at the exit of the motorway. No atmosphere, not expensive, simple but convenient when you're wet.
The day after was Quatorze Juillet, le jour de fête national, the celebration of the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1889 and the beginning of the French Revolution. The revolution that would change Europe and the world and give it the tools to build the democracies on that we are living in now. That is, many of us. The French keep remembering themselves on their city halls with the slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.
The next day the weather was nice and again we rode for nearly 60 kms along a waterway, this time the Canal de Bourgogne. We stopped at Dijon for a drink and a look at the nice city centre and continued east to the small town of Pontailler sur Saone, wher we pitched our tent at a beautiful campsite on the banks of the river. It was a 100 km ride, but not difficult at all this time.
In the mean time we had received the confirmation on our warmshowers request in Besançon, mr Antoine Pétiard was willing to receive us for an overnight stay in his house. So the next day, after a good 60 kms ride we reported at his door in Rue Battant, right in the centre of this old city. Antoine is a 30-year old young man who lives in a nice and light small appartment two backyards behind the street. He had another friend as a holiday guest as well. We got his own bed, he presented us with a guided city tour and a visit to the citadel, built in the 18th century bij the well-known Vauban. Then he prepared us a good meal and we had a nice evening together. The next day the two guys had to leave early to help move a friend. No problem, we got his key and we left the house when we were ready. This is how cyclists, and why not everyone, can trust one another and make each others lives agreeable. Thanks again for your hospitality Antoine and François.
Then we cycled another 51 kms to the little village of Avoudrey (alt. 750). Here we are hosted by Christian and Marie Claire in their cosy and comfortable house. We met them in December 2008 cycling in Cambodia and spent some days together then. Now it is as if we met only a couple of days ago. We're again enjoying free hospitality and interesting discussions. Meeting people belongs to the essence of travelling.
Tomorrow we'll enter Switzerland on our way to the next stop: Torino.

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