Today we did another long ride – 85km and really suffered from the heat in the afternoon again.
We started out going slightly to the north to see the town of Uzes that we were told was very pretty by our bed and breakfast host. Well, the old town was pretty, with a nice castle in the center and church- but spoilt by terrible roads for bikes (too narrow, lots of traffic) for about 10km in and 10km out. Also full of traffic all around the old city and tourists – felt as though you couldn’t move.
We were relieved to get onto quiet country roads again mid-morning and have resolved to stay away from tourist centers and cities.
This was borne out by the town of Vezenobres which we passed through next with no expectations. Almost no tourists, but so much more interesting. The old medieval city is built on a hill so we had to work hard to get there – pushing the bikes part of the way, it was so steep. Also very hot by this time. The city has amazing views over surrounding countryside and some access between streets is through tunnel like walkways. The whole place is beautifully kept with roses climbing up walls and fig trees. Part of it is being restored.
We then pushed on to Sauve. Our rural roads took us through endless grapevines again. Also a little more hilly today, so harder work (but nice to cool down when you hit a long down-hill)
Sauve is another amazing little town. the tourist office guy was extremely informative. After sorting out our accommodation he told us all about the town in broken English. The town is on the Vedourle river and a subterranean arm of the river resurges from underground in the town, next to the wall of a Benedictine Abby whose oil and flour mills it worked. There is also an underground river running under the town that caver’s dive in and is inhabited by a rare type of shrimp.
They also still manufacture a unique wooden three pronged pitchfork; from one piece of wood, that they have been making since the 11th century. they split the tree into three while it is still growing.
- Walking about Vezenobres – would have loved to have spent an evening here.
- A kind lady living in Vezenobres – we asked her for some water and she produced a large ice cold bottle of bottled water (looks like the tap water is no good). Would absolutely take no payment – also spoke no English at all.
- Walking around Sauve in the evening, buying some groceries; and finding the pub where the locals drink. Discovering a new drink – pastis (aniseed flavored aperitif) – by pointing to what the locals were having and asking for one. One of these locals lived across the way from the pub and his wife kept on putting her head out the window to talk with him (possible as the street is very narrow). The other had his dog and cat with him (I think he told me they were his – they were pretty jolly and didn’t speak any English at all).
- Again, no broken spokes – how long can this last?