after we left quiet unwillingly from Dole and the best accomodation ever (cheers to Francois and La Batellerie! Who ever plans to travel near Dole – THIS is the place to stay! We went to meet the river Saone and to Olli`s utmost horror the direction of the bike road turned north-west – pretty much 90 degrees from where we actually wanted to go. But when we decided to leave the bike road behind and looked for our own path through hamlets and villages things turned out all right again – thanks to leaving the gravel bike road for the small and calm “normal road”. We found a pretty terrace restaurant where we shared our lunch with fellow cyclists (from France) which interviewed us – in German 🙂 on the quality of the bike road. We felt very important…! It was a lovely day indeed – rolling hills which led us up and down continuously but without being too hard to cycle. A truly delightful bike ride. When we reached our accomodation for the night we found it to be a hunting lodge from the 17th century which in many ways was in pretty original condition. We were more than happy to accept the offer from the hosts to cook dinner for us – and what a good decision that was! Most of the food was regional – if it did not come straight from their own garden. It was delicious. Four courses later an English couple arrived (they got lost and were late as well for the dinner) and we did spend more time than we expected with them talking, laughing and emptying the wine…
Surprisingly enough we were the first ones to get up the next morning and started our route to Cluny (or as Olli pronounces it in perfect Finnish-French: Clooney…). It is one of those places I wanted to see all my life. Cluny… where all of those important decisions in mediaval church history have been prepared and thought up – and which have studied with my friend Janni back in Constance. A dream coming true! Not much is left though of the buildings, church and abbey have been thoroughly ransacked in the 17th century – but the town is pretty (built largely with the stones taken from the mentioned abbey). For me it was really special to be able to walk around Cluny…!
Leaving Cluny we found steep passages over and over again – partially as much as 10-15% elevation. Too much for me – I had to push the bike twice and my legs started complaining (bodylanguage… unmistakable!). Remarkable was the longest bicycle tunnel in Europe – it is 1.6 kilometers long. It expected us after another steep elevation – so we went up exasperated (speed around 5km/h…) , had an impressive decline and in we went into this former train tunnel. Interesting experience!
Shortly after that we did reach the 1000 Kilometer mark – hard to believe, really!! We have been cycling already 1000 kilometers…
Finish line of the stage was Macon – which we have not seen much of to be honest. Our last minute accomodation was in a commercial centre and we did not enter into the town (rule number 1: most importantly you need a place to sleep!).
Leg 12 was surprisingly un-delightful… Even though the bike roads became increasingly bad over the past days, this one was really bad. The unpaved paths were covered in gravel – but this time the stones were as big as fists and loose. For about 6 kilometers that was the track before we abandoned it to cycle on a road which had rather heavy traffic. All in all a bit stressful those 70km – so the rest day on Sunday s most welcomed!
Lyon as the target of our stage and rest-day has surprised us immediately. What we have seen so far is pretty well – we are in the gourmet capital – what more is there to ask? We stumbled across a comical ballett on a square – boys and girls equally dressed in tutu`s – which was a laugh. The architecture is impressive and has a lot of art deco elements. We will further roam around…
So it is bye bye from us for now – bye bye!
Claudia & Olli