Date
September 19th, 2018
Author
Kay

19 September

Risotto took quite a while to make, especially as the gas oven kept on going off - but did taste nice even if I say so myself! Must be the added rose wine!

Seemed like a long night, too warm to sleep at first, always seem to be able to sleep well early morning when it’s time to get up!

Just have to say a very happy birthday to a special friend, Jacky - won’t say how old she is - but looking good! She made me smile today by saying hope all is well with you, Martin and Dave - sounds like I should be having a really good time!

On such a hot day, think we have done well - have ridden over 41 miles! Started off by visiting a SuperU, looking for GPL. No one at the paying cabin, so a lady said to go to the supermarket itself. We think they used to sell it, but not anymore - will have to get some tomorrow from elsewhere. Popped in and bought the essentials of life - a baguette and some coke - Sarah ignore this bit!

The tourist office was open today and a very nice young man who spoke good English provided us with a map for bike riding. He also offered the keys to visit one of the four towers, but we declined as we wanted to get cycling.

So much to see today! We were pondering about how long they leave the sunflowers for, and then came upon the machine! Looks like it cuts them down to half their height, the machine shakes out the seeds, and then disposes of the rest behind. Tintin stood by the hopper as it was finishing and had a handful of seeds - we bit through the outer husk - lovely!

En route we saw a tractor storage area, covered in solar panels. Made me think of work and the portfolio company dealing with solar panels in Italy...

Vines absolutely everywhere. Old ones and new. Also saw the lovely friendly ginger cat, looked in the middle of nowhere, but was actually close to some houses in the other direction. Good to have my cat fix for the day, but would be better if it was Indi and Bailey!

We had also wondered when they harvest the grapes, and then we saw the machine doing just that! More about that later...

Rode through a tunnel, had automatic lights! I’m very impressed with the French infrastructure. We can stay in Aires for free, which provide drains, fresh water and bins. There are so many cycle routes, so far all well maintained, well sign posted - today teams of people out cutting the verges alongside the cycle paths. Plus all the tourist offices hand out all their maps and information for free. I know the towns/villages want money in return, and we will do our bit when we can!

We rode as far as La Sauve-Majeure in order to see the 12th century Abbey. First rookie error of the day - arrived a lunch time, so was closed. Would have been €12, but we didn’t want to wait for nearly an hour. In the Middle Ages Santiago de Compostelo was the most important destination for countless pilgrims from all over Europe, and would have stopped off at this Abbey.

The Abbey
The Abbey

Second rookie error, only took one litre of water! Of course by now everything was shut. Rode back towards Dave. After 2pm, even made a detour to a village to find water, of course - no shops. However, Tintin did manage to catch up a Lycra clad man on his bike who had overtaken us earlier. Suffice to say it was an up hill, and we used battery power!

Lovely old rotational water pump
Lovely old rotational water pump

By then we’d cycled over 30 miles, and feeling the heat! Think we both thought our padded shorts would have been good if we’d bothered to pack them!

We had been cycling on an old railway track, and at various points you could see the old stations/waiting rooms - we saw a man filing his water bottle - and thought it was just meant to be! Lovely old pump that you turn a handle at the top, we wouldn’t have even noticed if it hadn’t been for the man.

Were glad to arrive back at Dave. Drank loads of cold water, then had a cup of tea/coffee.

After a while, suggested we go back to see if we could do some wine tasting, as it wasn’t far away. When cycling up the hill our tyres we’re sticking to the road as there was so much grape juice spilt from the tractors!

Visited the Cave de Sauveterre. There were tractors queuing to deposit their grapes for weighing - mainly merlot today - the little round black grapes.

The lady from the co-operative said harvest takes around two months. They start with cremant - which is made exactly the same way as champagne, but from a different region so can’t be called champagne - and is much cheaper! Next is white wine, then rose, then red - which takes about a month. They produce 1.2 million litres of wine each year!

We tried the Louis Vallon cremant rose demi-sec - was lovely, so bought a couple of bottles. 😊

Tintin’s headache has now gone, just in time for rum o’clock!

Glad to say there seems to be more of a breeze today, was about 30 degrees again, seemed better riding, until we stopped and realized how hot it was!

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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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