Today, Day 4, was Malestroit to St Nazaire. As the ‘Google Maps crow cycles’, it was to be 77km. Strava shows our actual as 83km.
We stayed in a lovely B&B in Malestroit last night. Madame reminded me a lot of our late friend, Teresa. She was so industrious – she moved fast, she talked fast. For example when we arrived, she immediately picked up some of our panniers and took them swiftly to our room, I think if we hadn’t promptly moved, we would have been picked up and deposited too. This morning for breakfast we had her home-baked breads, (brown with seeds shown below and a white not shown) and home-made jams, (from the top, green tomato, strawberry and rhubarb). The house itself was beautiful, very modern with a lovely garden and swimming pool.
Setting out this morning.
Selecting the cycling icon on Google maps is very useful. As mentioned before, it can be longer than the more direct driving route, but using the cycling icon you get the less busy routes. However one thing you don’t discover until you’re actually cycling is that parts can be dedicated cycle routes and parts are just the side of the road with no margin separating you from heavy traffic including big lorries. I’m sure if we put in enough time preparing for each day we could discover this information in advance but generally, we just take what comes our way. This can bring surprises. This morning we found ourselves on a rock-strewn lane suitable only for tractors or 4-wheel drives but then, a little further on, we got the very pleasant surprise of a lovely dedicated cycle route, a former railway track, judging by how straight it went for miles and how cut into the rock sides it was in parts.
We had a lovely lunch stop in La Roche Bernard. We are certainly eating for four at this stage!
The countryside looks glorious. So far it’s been mostly mixed farming, cattle, wheat, barley, artichokes, kale and more. I love the kitchen gardens which have very much disappeared in Ireland. A lot of the time cycling along one can hear the silence, it’s almost like meditation. The silence can be broken by a cock crowing, pigeons cooing. We’ve even heard a cuckoo. On busy roads we’re obviously cycling in single file but on quiet roads we can cycle together. Denis is the navigator, I’m the follower! Sometimes I’m not a well-behaved follower and have gone too far ahead, I’ll hear a shout from behind!
This evening we arrived into St Nazaire. Tomorrow our journey takes us to Nantes. Stay tuned!