Travels

Dunkirk. Signing off with a whimper…

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Tuesday 30 July 2019 In Dunkirk, ready for the morning ferry, with little to report. The last two days have been spent getting here and distracted by trying to resuscitate a failing water pump. I thought I’d been ingenious enough to resolve the issue of it grinding to a stop, but two soaped up shower […]

Travels

Lyons-la-Forêt and Château De Bois-Guilbert

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Sunday 28 July 2019 Back in Normandy, in the 16th century village of Lyons-la-Forêt, listed as one of the most beautiful in the region. Set in a forest, funnily enough, half an hour from Rouen, an hour from Paris, it is all timbered houses, and a busy marketplace, with locals and bikers enjoying the sunshine. […]

Travels

Chartres and Charbonnel

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Saturday 27 July 2019 A pleasant hour from Orléans, through sunflowers and golden stubble, brought me to Chartres. Another cathedral, another old town, but a lovely place with many sides to its character. The cathedral, of course, and next to that, an art museum, in a former episcopal palace, (more of which later), an expansive […]

Travels

Orléans and The Maid

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Friday 26 July 2019 Popped across the Loire in Amboise to get a another view of the royal palace, and see the statue of Leonardo giving himself a bit of an airing on the Isle. Orléans was a little over an hour away. I parked up beside the Loire and cycled along the river into […]

Travels

Amboise and Leonardo da Vinci

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Thursday 25 July 2019 Where did Leonardo da Vinci die? When I was planning a longer tour, getting into Italy, I thought sites of da Vinci’s life might be an interesting route, and that would include his grave. Then I learned he died in France, but you, of course, already knew that. After an underwhelming […]

Travels

Angouleme

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Wednesday 24 July 2019 SatNav offered a toll free route to Angouleme saving 93km, so I opted for it. It ended up taking almost three hours of constant gear changing but, again, the countryside was lovely, with tantalising glimpses of hilltop villages, dramatic castles and chateaux reinforcing my observation that it’s set up to mooch […]

Travels

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

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Tuesday 23 July 2019 The heatwave digs in with temperatures nudging 40, seemingly to the delight of the sunflowers beaming at me from fields as I pass. North of Condom, lying like charms on a discarded bracelet, lie many of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. A marketing umbrella, it is nonetheless true and a […]

Travels

Sweaty in Condom

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Monday 22 July 2019 I spent the weekend getting sand between my toes on Bayonne Beach, finishing my book and scoping out a route through France. Today, three hours to Condom. What can I say? It was a long enough drive in the right direction, had an aire and the potential for lots of knob […]

Travels

Altamira and Santillana del Mar

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Friday 19 July 2019 Altamira was the first place Palaeolithic rock art was found. It was discovered in 1868 by Modesto Cubillas and his daughter, on the land of Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, who happened to be an amateur archeologist. In 1880, Sanz de Sautuola published his research to initial public acclaim, but soon people […]

Travels

Lovely Oviedo

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Thursday 18 July 2019 Over 200 kilometres, and over many mountains, my road brought me to the fringe of the north coast of Spain. Rollercoasting the arms of mountains reaching to the sea, crossing deep valleys on sweeping viaducts, I left a chilly and misty Lugo for sunny beaches glimpsed tantalisingly to my left. I […]