Friday, 12 February 2010

So when I last wrote I was having a well earned day off. I was happy to spend the whole day in the warmth of Laetitia's flat without any guilt about stying in. She returned in the evening and we went out to Niort to a very fancy restaurant with her friend. I enjoyed a salad of strange meat things, a fancy steak and chips and a creme bruleé. No matter how much I tried, she insisted she pay the bill which I felt bad about, it's not like she hasn't looked after me enough already. The following morning I set off in the icy cold and snow towards Saintes. The siberian wind blew me south through Niort, along a desolate back road over the plains, where I got my first puncture. Changing it in the snow with numb hands was a testing job and I didn't hesitate.
Onwards past Niort I got onto a busy D road, dead straight with the occasional truck thundering past but not much else. The icy wind blowing me and the snowflakes along meant I kept up a good pace, averaging 20mph. I stopped at a true trucker's Les Routierés where I had another steak and spaghetti, proper carbs. The GPS took me away from the straight flat line, making the going more interesting but slightly more challenging. A couple of roadies passed me, the second one intrigued by me poids lourdes, congratulating me on such an epic adventure. I descended into Saintes and found Rue Arc du Triomphe where I found Jerome and his elderly mother. The house was an incredible time warp, it had been in the family for over 100 years and was slightly dilapidated, but had such a charm to it. I was so intrigued by the various meubles situated around the house, including this ancient bicycle belonging to Jerome's grandfather. Jerome is probably more of a cycling fanatic than me, having traversed Canada a few years beforehand. They fed me with some very healthy food, raw veg and no dairy and homemade chocolate hazlenut and date pudding. Yet more delightful hospitality.
The following morning I woke up with a bit of a fever. I initially decided to only go a short distance, but with no lodging sorted and the freezing weather I have decided to stay a bit longer and recuperate.

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