Today (Tuesday) was a good day and, as we soon discovered, an exciting one!
Why was it a good day? (a) We had a tailwind most of the way. (b) It was mainly downhill. (c) It didn’t rain.
Why was it an exciting day? As we followed the Canal du Centre the day before we noticed the locks were numbered Ocean 24, Ocean 23, etc. By the time we got to last night’s stop at Montceau we were at Ocean 7. This suggested that we were nearing the top which the map seemed to confirm as it looked as though we would go down to the River Saône but what was the significance of the word “Ocean”? Well, after a longish stretch at the top we approached the first ” downhill ” lock and it was numbered Med 1. At that point we twigged that the Saône flows into the Rhône, which heads south to Avignon and the Camargue so we had crossed the watershed between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean! See! We knew you would be as fascinated by this factoid as we two nerds were!
As you will have surmised from the comments about it being a “good day”, it was also an easy one. Nearly 70 km completed very quickly (by our standards, that is, but not by most keen cyclists’ terms!)
We continue to be impressed by the Burgundy countryside – it really does look very English (apart from the buildings which are unmistakably French albeit a little different to those in the Loire Valley).
We have finished the day at the campsite in Chalon sur Saône – a relatively large city by the standards of what we have passed through so far. It does benefit from the presence of an Intertek office but Stephen will not be visiting! The river is swollen by the recent rains and has burst its immediate banks. If there is much more of rain the campsite may have to close as one end is under water and the rest is only a foot or so above water level. It makes for an impressive sight, especially given how far we are from the Med! And while we have been sat having an ice cream as dessert an absolutely huge cruise ship (of the river cruising variety) has docked just opposite. The picture on the photos page doesn’t really do it justice. (Incidentally, the photos page is periodically updated so do have a gander every now and then.)
Finally, just to lower the tone of the conversation somewhat (not that it was ever very high in the first place!) we are in the Eutopia of campsites- there are both loo seats and toilet paper!! And the showers have taps that do not require you to press the button every 2 seconds to keep the water running.