Day 32, 22 6 2013, Eauze to Villeneuve sur Lot

Apparently in France there is a date where it is decided that heat in a hotel is no longer needed.  This decision is made irrespective of the weather conditions, and applies to all hotels we have stayed at.

This is normally not an issue, but when it is cold and we have soaking-wet clothes it matters.

So, this morning, I left with socks hanging off the back of my panniers, and sodden shoes.

The weather this morning was overcast, again, but gradually cleared and warmed into a pleasant dry day.  My socks dried.

We were in rolling country today.  There was no time when we were actually on flat ground so we were continuously either climbing or descending, for the first time on this trip. 

On the road out of Eauze we passed a number of pilgrims on their way to the Santiago de Compestala pilgrim route. A Fench connection to that route passes through this area.  Apparently there are some medieval villages related to St Colombe in this area that have significance to people of this persuasion.

We crossed the Garonne River at Port Saint Marie.  We chose this spot as we could cross the canal, the freeway, the river and the railway line without a problem.  We have learned from experience that this matters.

We passed through the village of Prayssas on our climb out of the Garonne valley.  It is completely restored and delightful.  It led me to wonder why it is that a handful of the villages we pass through have been restored like this, and in most of the others there is an occasional restored building, and the rest are not, leading to the shabby appearance of most of these villages.

On the back roads we see a very large number of buildings awaiting restoration.  We have not noticed this in other countries.  France is a destination for people who wish to buy and live in some of these beautiful country areas, and there is still no shortage of opportunities.

We rolled into Villeneuve sur Lot around 3.30, early enough to continue on.  We sat and discussed the matter and decided that we were on target to get into Paris, we had ridden 94Km.  We felt that while we could easily do the extra distance it would be a bit of a grind, and we would enjoy it more in the morning.

The city of Villeneuve sur Lot is one of many in France called Villeneuve.  This city was established in 1215, so the name is now hardly appropriate.  It is an interesting city because it has retained a fair mix of much of its heritage, from medieval half-timbered housing to the colonnaded square and 17th century entry portals.  Many of the buildings are being restored, but there is a lot to do.   It is an interesting town because of this mix.

While walking around town this evening we came across a wedding party leaving the central church.  They were serenanded by a Tijuana-style brass band led by a band leader whose drum was mounted on a pram.  They played an eccentric mixture of music that  included "What a wonderful world" and "Mambo number 5". The band led the the wedding party through the 500m of pedestrian streets to the end of town.  It was wonderful.

Most pharmacies in France have a green, lighted cross above their entry that alternately flashes the time and the temperature. Why is this?

So, 94 Km for the day and not as easy as it might look, but very pretty countryside and the riding conditions do not get much better.


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