Day 5, 26 May 2013, Verdun to Metz

Today was a day that is difficult to understand unless you are into bike riding.

We rode out of Verdun under heavy grey skies, and up a substantial hill to leave the Meusse valley.  After about an hour of riding it started to drizzle.  The temperature varied between 6C and 7C.

However, there was a solid tailwind, we were fresh and rode along happily at up to 30Km/Hr, which is a pretty good speed for our sort of touring.  The bikes felt great and we enjoyed it as we toured across the flat plateau between the Meusse and Mossel rivers.

We then had to descend the last 10Km or so into the Mosselle valley, and got wet through and seriously cold as we were no longer working.  By the time we rode into Metz we had decided independently that we needed to call it a day. 

So we checked into the Fochs Hotel, the first hotel we saw.  It is cheap, but after inspection, we decided probably overpriced.

So, while it seems unlikely we enjoyed our four-hour, 67Km ride.  It was great to feel fit, and just spin along at some speed.

Shortly after riding out of Verdun we saw a group of cyclists riding in the other direction.  One of them called out: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen”.  What struck us was not his inappropriate use of the plural form, but how did he know to address in English from 20m away?

The same thing happened last night when we walked into a restaurant. The waitress took one look at us, picked up the English language menus and said:  “Table for two?”

How do these people know we are not, for example, from Poland?

We spent the afternoon wandering around Metz, and the weather lifted slightly.  It is an interesting city that we thought would be stunning in the sunshine, when the plazas, of which there are many were full of people, and the umbrellas out and the cafes full.

The photo below is of Metz cathedral.

I meant to comment on food.  The servings in Lorrainne are seriously big.  We are told that there is an influence of German culture, and perhaps this is it.

We had an unusual experience a couple of nights ago when we ate at a Belgian hamburger restaurant, where they serve champagne with the burgers.  The place was well-patronised, so apparently the combination works.

One more comment about some of the recent towns.  These are war torn areas.  Verdun was a centre for much Great War activity, and not much was left standing, so the fabric of the city is not impressive, while the site is.  Chalon still has plenty of its half-timbered buildings, so apparently has escaped some of the ravages of war, and Metz is full of 19th century stone buildings, and not much is older than that.  This, of course, shapes the cities.

Roz has decided she wants to add a bit, so here it is.


Roz says

Day 1 Struggling to ride.   Magic inn next to Marne river, white linen service and haute cuisine dining.

Day 2 OMG how am I going to do this trip?  At the end of the day found the new tyres are hard and felt pumped BUT had less than 20psi so like riding with the brakes on!!!  Now I can keep up but am exhausted!!

Hamburger was slices of EU fillet (probably horse!) in a gorgeous bun served with champagne, why can’t we do that at hamburger shops at home?

Day 3 Does anybody know how much canola the world needs?  Australia is yellow with it and now France is covered too.

Day 4 War, weird the way we have killed off generations of our fittest young men.  Covered acres with white crosses for the good guys and not white crosses or marble slabs for the bad guys. Thousands of people visit and are appalled. And we still go to war, when will we ever learn?

Day 5 Awesome, the bike was flying today.  Too wet for photos so happy husband!!