Day 20, 10 6 2013, Villefrance sur Saone to Lyon

Our goal this morning was to get to Oingt, pronounced “onet”, locally described as the most beautiful village in France.  It required a solid but not difficult climb of 400 vertical meters from Villefranche.  We are very fit now, and this was an easy and pleasant ride, on an overcast and hazy day.

The locals are not far wrong about Oingt.  It is completely stunning, as much because of its location as the village itself.  It sits on a knoll well above the surrounding countryside and affords almost 360-degree views.  I don’t think I have ever seen more completely beautiful scenery.  It is hilly country covered in vineyards, forests and villages tumbling down the hillsides. 

It is the sort of scenery that you just want to drink it in and hold in your memory.  The village itself has been painstakingly restored in the French style of raw rock and timber, and is quite lovely.

From there we had a number of quite difficult climbs over ridges before finding the route down into Lyon.  Some of the climbs had sustained pitches in excess of 9%, which requires some hard work.

We arrived in the beautiful expansive city of Lyon around 3.30, and as happens surprisingly often, had trouble finding the tourist information centre.


It was not where TomTom’s database said it would be, and not where the road signage indicated.  Eventually after riding around in circles we asked a local shopkeeper and found it.  We chose to book into an apartment with a kitchen, despite the additional cost.

We are mildly disappointed with the quality of restaurant food we have been eating.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but we could eat as well in many pubs at home, from very similar menus, and at 50E for a meal it is not cheap.  So we went to the local Monoprix supermarket and bought dinner and cooked it in the apartment, and had the best meal we have so far had on this trip, at about half the price of a restaurant meal.

There was also a storm at around dinner time which meant eating in the street was problematic.

This is largely our fault.  We do not research the best places to eat, We simply walk out of our hotel and expect to find something.  We know from friends who do research these things and that it make a difference.

Today marks the mid point of our trip, so perhaps it is time for some reflection.  We have often looked at tour groups and arrogantly determined that we do not want to be there.  We have a freedom to do as we please that they do not.  We have done so much of this that we are completely comfortable with the uncertainty of our form of travel, and would find the structure of a planned trip much more stressful.  Horses for courses.

I get a bit homesick.  I am concerned about our dog.  Our multilingual housesitters told us they intended to teach her Dutch, and yet she finds English a challenge.  There are things I want to do at home and times when I wonder why on earth I am doing this.  However, when I am at home in a place I love, I dream about these trips, and it is a rare day when I don’t thoroughly enjoy doing what we are doing.

I am fully aware of the astonishing good fortune we have.  In our 60s we are not concerned about the physical challenge, we can roam around this wonderful continent without particular financial worries, and most of all, we enjoy doing it together.

60 kilometers today, some of it hard work.

I have found the error in embedding google maps correctly, so I am gradually working backwards through the blog to correct the display of the maps.

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