Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Manche to The Med - Day1: St Malo to Rennes

Weather wise it was about the same as home - maybe a couple of degrees warmer as we followed the route saved on my Garmin Edge. Although the events of last evening had resulted in a last minute panic and we were clearly jaded, somehow the adrenalin rush had compensated - we were okay - gradually weaving our way through St Malo and heading for Rennes.

Our first French Coffee!
We knew we needed to eat something and after 10 miles we spotted a roadside cafe that was open in a small village. We parked the bikes and sat outside - The French App I've been messing around with should have held us in good stead - we ordered a Grand Cafe au lait and a Croque Monsieur each. We got a cup of coffee and a hot dog. Whatever! - we were hungry.

Gradually the roads became quieter and in places it seemed we were the only ones out there. We both noticed how good the road surface is in France - smooth tarmac with very few potholes and even less litter. We arrived at the Canal Ille de Midi - and proceeded along a wide towpath, probably twice the width of a typical canal path at home with a fairly even compacted gravel/chippings surface - not too bad for cycling and again, traffic free, no sign of anyone, no other cyclists, no walkers, nothing?

Lunch stop on the canal
At a junction we spotted a canalside bistro - perfect for a lunch break. By now the sun was shining and it seemed the perfect stop off point. This time we did get a Croque Monsieur each! After that it was a steady ride into the centre of Rennes, the capital city of Brittany. The Garmin did a great job of navigating through the myriad of busy streets and alleys to our hotel for the night.

Our room was good, we showered and changed but were both suffering from dehydration; the combined effects of the excesses on the boat and the day's ride. We walked into the town for a quick look around - there are some fine half-timbered buildings and Grand Cathedral and the Museum of Arts houses works by Botticelli, Rubens and Picasso. Later we retired to a restaurant in the same street as the hotel. This was not a night for any gastonomic experiments - Gary had a burger, I had Pasta. We were in bed by 7.30pm!
The canalside path


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