Cycling Week 3: Palinges to Mulhouse

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Celebration of Paul – Bon Anniversaire (Happy Birthday)!

Palinges to Mulhouse
30 May – 5 June 2018
396km

Its Paul’s birthday today as we kick off the 3rd week. We started off with a petite dejonair (breakfast) at the campsite restaurant (a nice treat) with Klaus and Alma before heading our seperate ways. It was a beautiful day although we managed to get lost again (of all days) and a storm was definitely on it’s way. I surprised him with a pain au chocolat and birthday candle which seemed to make things well.  We also managed to get into camp, set up, shower and settle safely in a lovely wine bar commencing our celebrations when the storm hit. Luckily we were eating out and enjoyed our first steak in a while at the campsite restaurant (which happened to be the best restaurant we found in Chagny). It was a lovely night and our tent held up well in the storm and we had no leaks.

The path has definitely changed now, staying mostly on Canal de Centre, Canal du Rhone (hmmm Cote du Rhone wine) , then a short while along the beautiful Saone river before making our way to the river Doub.

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Towns are a little further apart or not on the path making our daily coffee break not as frequent once again. Towards the end of the week we noticed the scenery became more green and the building architecture felt like we were definitely approaching Switzerland and Germany. Our last day this week is in Mulhouse which is also our last day in France. We think we will celebrate with something French but Mulhouse is already quite German so instead we welcome the change with a beer (German style) rather than commiserate the loss with red wine and cheese (French style).

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Perhaps we are not ready to bid farewell to France just yet. France, we will be back. A bientot!

Here is a summary of our itinerary. Feel free to skip ahead to the highlights section.

Day 15, 30 May (Palinges to Chagny, 70km)

Day 16, 31 May (Chagny to Verdun-sur-Loire, 50km)

Day 17, 1 June (Verdun-sur-Loire to Dole, 75km)

Day 18, 2 June (Rest day in Dole)

Day 19, 3 June (Dole to Besancon, 50km)

Day 20, 4 June (Besancon to L’Isle-sur-le-Doubs, 69km)

Day 21, 5 June (L’Isle-sur-le-Doubs to Mulhouse, 82km)

The highlights along the way:

  • The amazing town of Dole. This was something special and we decided to have a rest day there to explore it well. It’s the birthplace of Louis Pasteur (for the history and science buffs), has beautiful old buildings on the river Doub and had an awesome energy about it. (Day 17 and 18).
  • We also ran into Mimo and Daniel again at the campsite in Dole and enjoyed aperitif together which was good* (day 18).IMG_1612.JPG
  • We decided to book a hotel when we reached the old fortress town of Besancon (day 19). The campsite was a little far out of town and we had also hit our 1000km mark, cause for celebration. We decided to ditch the tent and treat ourselves. It was lovely. We explored the city and the old citidel before enjoying a steak and wine at a fabulous restaurant*. We called it a late birthday celebration for Paul to account for our splurge (the celebration of Paul continues).
  • Singing James Reine song ‘Reckless’ (‘…..as the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay’) as we cycled towards Mulhouse along Canal du Centre* (day 21). This reminded me of my friends in Sydney and my time in Manly. Miss you guys!
  • We realised that although we enjoyed the luxury of our hotel, we enjoy the campsites and especially meeting other cyclists. Here’s a photo of us sharing the picnic table at our campsite with 2 men from Turkey who could hardly speak English and a German man cycling home. A great way of meeting and learning about people; their interests and what’s driving them. And let’s face it, I can’t speak to only Paul all day long.

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  • We loved the afternoon chilling on the banks of the river Saone at our campsite in Verdun-sur-Doub. It was so peaceful and is where the Saone meets the river Doub. The village is also very quaint and worth a visit if you are in the area.
  • We didn’t meet as many people this week but a few to call out include Dominic, an older retired man from France who is also cycling the EV6 to Romania. We saw him across a few days and enjoyed a few chats. We lost him after Verdun-sur-Loire and wonder where he is now. The Dutch lady in Verdun-sur-Loire who we enjoyed hearing about all her travel adventures and about her cycle free city in the northern part of the Netherlands (I can’t remember the name). Amazing.
  • Our favourite stops this week were lunch in St Jean De Losne (day 3 – food choice wasn’t great but we loved the town) and a coffee stop in Montbeliard (day 21).
  • We added 3 new meals to our repertoire, Mexican wraps (thanks Alma and Klaus), lentil and veggie soup (a mistake that turned out well) as well as tuna pasta salad. We are starting to get the hang of camp cooking!
  • I am not sure if it’s Paul’s new lease on life as he hits another birthday but he is now starting to beat me up the hills. Not bad for an old fart!
  • Belle’s chain guard started making a noise and playing up so I got rid of this we well. We gave both bikes a small tune up so they are now running a little smoother.
  • We are both starting to feel aches and pains and thinking we may need to ease up on the km’s and take a few more rests during week 4.
  • Best purchase this week: €2 chain oil from Decathlon to help Gaston and Belle sing.

My weekly reflection:

As we move further into the trip I have noticed that days and weeks are blending into one and I am trying to think of ways to be more present and take it all in properly. I want to make sure we keep appreciating what an amazing trip and experience we are having. Paul and I have chatted about this and are making an effort to cycle slower and taking time to smell the roses. It’s funny how us humans are programmed. We seem to get used to things so quickly and stop appreciating everything we have. I want to notice more often when I do this now. Writing this blog is helping me to reflect on all the big and little things along the way that I have enjoyed or finding my ‘home’.

* Finding Wilson

“Never turn down an available toilet or to take an opportunity for a ‘bush wee’.”

Paul Lanphier

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