A campsite without WiFi and another one with a dodgy connection has meant you have been spared updates for a couple of days.
As the route from Seurre contained a number of stretches beside the river we decided to go off piste again – especially as the river went round a large bend, while the map showed a number of seemingly minor roads in an approximately straight line.
It turned out that they were not busy so we had a very pleasant ride through a rural countryside with a long section through a large wood which was full of birdsong. On a number of occasions we have been amazed at the volume of singing and have even seen our first peregrine falcon! (We weren’t very confident that that was what we had seen but a search on the Internet confirmed it.)
The Saône turned north and EV6 carried on north east along the Rhône-Rhine Canal which led us into Dole. We had heard that this was a pretty town and so decided to take the afternoon off. But before we could indulge ourselves there was some washing to be done!
With our “smalls” drying in the sunshine at the campsite we went for a wander around the town. The reports were right. It was pretty especially with the canal and the river (a different one called Le Doubs). Some photos were taken and are available here for those who are interested.
As soon as we woke on Friday morning, we were looking at the BBC website for the election results. Hmm. We might be riding our bikes for the next five years! The final three weeks of the campaign has pretty much passed us by – it has been great not having politicians thrusting their opinions and false promises at us all the time. And we have avoided that odious slimeball Farage too!!
Today (Friday) saw us following the river and the canal up into increasingly pretty and hilly countryside. The words ‘up’ and ‘hilly’ should not be construed as meaning it was a hard day – it wasn’t! The route stuck to the towpath in the valley and it was as gentle a climb as you could ever dream of. Only bridges and locks needed a change down in the gears.
Today (8 May) was a public holiday in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the ear in Europe. As we entered one small village a band was forming a procession with about 20 firefighters for a short parade to the war memorial. A small girl laid a bunch of flowers at the base of the stone and then a list of names of the fallen was read out, each followed by “Mort pour la France”. It was really quite moving. There was then a long (well 5 minutes or so) speech by the mayor which Stephen found rather tedious as he only understood about one word in three.
The canal is not a continuous thing. It merges into the river for long stretches and then suddenly reappears – presumably where the river becomes unnavigable. It also cuts a few corners where the river indulges itself in meandering loops. One of these short cuts necessitated the only steep climb of the day for us over a small hill where the canal went through a tunnel. Initially we were a bit miffed that we were not allowed to use the tunnel but were relieved when we saw the other end as there was a built in shower or boatwash right across the opening. Most strange!
While going up the hill we reached a landmark in our first 1,000 kilometres.
A few more turns of the pedals saw us arriving in Besançon, the biggest place we have yet been through yet with a population of over 200,000. After a few nights camping, we decided to blow the budget for today and indulged ourselves with a hotel and a restaurant meal. Luxury!