Sunday 21st May
Paimbouef to Pornic: 45.3km, 283m climbed, 2hr 48’
Total Distance 426km
It’s great to be back on the coast and heading due south.
The Nantes – Brest Canal was great to ride alongside. It was very pretty and very peaceful but it did feel as if we were zigzagging our way across Brittany. Today at St Brevin des Pins we turned the corner, literally and metaphorically and now we really feel Espania bound.
Les Machines des L’Île were amazing and well worth the visit (thanks D&C). The elephant is ten years old this year and now just the figurehead for what they do. In a couple of years they are opening a whole new park that is being constructed in a quarry based around the ‘Heron Tree’. That will be worth a visit.
Neither of us fancied camping in Nantes and we wanted somewhere to give Alfie a good run, which is how we ended up in Paimbouef. OK, so I missed out a few kilometres of boring sub urban and estuary pedalling, I can live with that. The campsite was an ex-municipal site but it was right on the ‘beach’ and there was a good bit of forest, dune and parkland for Alf to explore. There were also large expanses of mud flats exposed by the low tide. Alf got a very expensive beauty treatment for free. His fur is now sooo soft.
Wendy made homemade pizza last night for the first time in the camper van oven. A big success. So big in fact that she has some for lunch today.
I know some of you are keen to know what we are eating and Wendy is doing us proud. Some of the highlights so far are Salmon Tagliatelle, Liver and Onions with crushed new potatoes, Pasta Carbonara, Sweet and Sour Turkey, Chilli, Steak with potato wedges and tonight the most exquisite bruschetta followed by BBQ Chicken.
There was a restaurant next door to the campsite so we finally got our first crêpes of this tour. While we were waiting a man at the next table struck up a conversation to practice his English. The service was really slow as the place was full and they only had one waiter working. At one stage the kitchen staff were coming out to serve and take orders.
The first part of today’s ride was to St Brevin. This part of the route was only temporary for some reason. It was mostly on very quiet country lanes (less than 5 cars in 16k) and very well signposted, in fact the best section yet. As the route popped out back on the coast it gave a great view of the St Nazaire Bridge with fishing shacks on the beach. Then the route turned south and took me right along the St Brevin corniche, the further south we got, away from the bridge the nicer the area got. St Brevin sits right on a long, wide sweeping beach (I think I am going to need some more similes for this type of beach in the coming weeks) and as it is Sunday it was full of people running, cycling, walking, skateboarding and even a group of stand up paddle boarders setting off.
St Brevin is spreading its suburbs southwards and the route took me right through them. This caused a headache for Semper D, as his chip couldn’t cope with the speed and the frequency of the turns. La Velodyssee was still well signposted and had absorbed an earlier local route so there were green arrows on the road to follow too. There was a fair amount of shared roads as well so that kept me alert. It seemed like no time at all before I rolled down the hill Into Pornic and very nice it looks too in the sunshine.
Three and a half kilometres out of town got me to tonight’s campsite, Le Patisseau.
Wendy had only just had time to get the table and chairs out before I arrived. She was pretty chuffed as she had filled the van for the first time and successfully coped with the strange ways of our filler cap.
The campsite is probably the best yet. It is the first one that feels properly open and working normally; though you couldn’t describe it as busy. At the moment Wendy is alternating between swimming lengths of the pool and sizzling on a lounger. The bar does not open for another hour. The weather here is warm and sunny just as forecast. The forecast at the moment shows high-pressure building over the west coast of France and we are in for a spell of increasingly warm weather. By the way Wendy is working on her post for the blog. It should be ready any day soon.
We have really enjoyed the comments and suggestions from you guys reading this drivel. Please keep them coming as every encouragement helps
Wendy and I want to give a big birthday shout out to Anthony, Sophie, Simon, Will and Elaine who have all aged another year while we have been away. (Sorry for sounding like a corny Radio 2 DJ – is there any other sort?)
Would you believe, it is only a month until the days start getting shorter!
Tomorrow the holiday vibe should strengthen because we are off to Fromentine, which is just north of Notre Dame de Monts – does that ring any bells with anyone?