July 12th 2011
The first stage of our journey has ended in the lovely house of my sister and her husband in a hamlet in the Morvan. It took us 10 days and app. 670 kms to get there. The house is an old farmhouse restyled into a nice and comfortabel holiday house, a real second home. In the large garden fox passes by every night, as well as a family of badgers that even has their latrine there. (Quiet clean, no odours). We watched this wildlife on the films that our brother in law made with an automatic camera during the night. During the day all kinds of butterflies fly from flower to flower and birds are singing all the time.
The name of the hamlet is Savault, some 20 houses and part of the community of Ouroux-en-Morvan. The Morvan is a really mountainous region, the house sits on 480 altitude. In order to reach it we followed the river Yonne and the Canal du Nivernais, that is built beside and many times in the same river, from Auxerre southwards. This was a welcomed route as we had a good 100 kms of flat cycle lanes. What a relief! The only climbs we had to make were the 2.5 meters at every lock in the canal (I guess we passed some 50). This canal is part of the former transport route for timber and other agricultural produce to Paris. It comprises a number of rivers that are interconnected by this type of canals. They all end up in the Seine river.
When we left the banks of the Yonne and turned east into the Morvan we had a hard time. In 30 kms we had to do 700 altimetes. Tough, especially as the climbs only started after this first 66 flat kms. You can imagine how nice it was to be warmly welcomed by our relatives after such a day.
We will stay here for a day to take a rest, to do some laundring, change the oil in one of the Rohloff Speedhubs and to talk.
Tomorrow we will continue eastwards and we hope to reach the village of Avoudrey in 3 or 4 days. Here we will visit Christian and Marie-Claire. We met them a good 2 years ago in Cambodia, where we cycled up with them for a couple of days. Reliving old stories again.