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Bordeaux to Bayonne and beyond

On a lovely sunny Friday morning we departed the village La Sauve, just east of Bordeaux, rested and extremely well fed and looked after.

We were headed south and west into le Landes, land of pines, flat and far reaching. Long straight roads and little traffic make for good cycling, though there was always the hope that there may be a slight change of view round the next bend.

We overnighted just outside a small town, Lehouyade, in the middle of the Landes. A very nice evening in the sun eating our latest supermarket acquisitions, and beer by a small lake, until the midges arrived and we beat a retreat to our tents.
The morning dawned showery and we managed to pack up in the dry spells, but just as we set off the heavens opened and we found ourselves cycling into lashing rain and a very stiff headwind. It was some 30kms to the next town, but we assumed it would pass quickly. It didn't and we had to make full use of all our waterproofing to attempt to stay dry. After a couple of paused enroute and fortified with another pain au raisin we reached our destination, Mimizan as the clouds parted. We had crossed the whole of the Landes and we're now on the coast. The wind continued but as we turned down the coast the wind veered and became a bit of a tail wind. Now we found a lovely smooth path inland from the beach running through tall pines. Gorgeous.

The little towns by the beach are like ghost towns, wind blown sand everywhere, a few disolate tourists and nothing open. The sea was wild in the wind and we returned to the relative calm of the forest, but the sand on the coast had joined the oil on the chains of our bikes and the sound and sensation of grinding metal was very unsettling.

Also on the coast and now only a couple of hours behind us after our Bordeaux detour was a friend, John, from Totnes and a friend of his also John who were cycling to Santander. We planned to meet up at some point further down the beach. But having realised that the beach towns were inhospitable Ken and I chose a small town inland to rendezvous. Our comms to this point had been SMS but now, John had no signal and so didn't get the change of venue, it was some hours before they found us in the field behind the municipal stadium enjoying a fire and supper.

The next day, Sunday dawned sunny and still and we cycled together in convoy down the coast all the way to Bayonne. Here the two Johns went west into Spain and Ken and I headed for the departure point for our Spanish leg of the trip, St Jean Pied a Port in the low foothills of the Pyrenees which we had seen rising in the distance as we approached Bayonne.

Bridge in Bayonne
Saying good bye to the Johns in Bayonne as they head west and we head into the mountains.

Heading for the hills


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