Friday, May 07, 2004

Ile de Ré

After a bit of casting around, and with the help of some town plans that appeared just when I needed them, I manage to pick up the way I started in yesterday. It's bright but cold and windy again, and I have waterproof over denim over silk, and jogging bottoms over the lycra. The bike being low geared, I reckon a middle gear is enough for grinding away over the bridge, and it is - though I'm continually being overtaken by poseurs on razor-wheeled machines. The top is a long time coming, especially with the wind in my face, but it's easy once I'm over, and it's time to shed the waterproof.

The island is well served with cycle tracks, with most of the major routes separated into car-only roads and bike-only paths - though most of the cycle tracks have exceptions for agricultural or fishing related vehicles - slow moving tractors. Some of the little towns are cobbled, so that's get off and push, but that's the only terrain to worry about. One sprinkle of rain, but soon it's down to the shirt as sun-block. Forecast is for the weather to worsen in the afternoon (though in fact it didn't - but the wind did strengthen), so I only go as far as Ars en Ré, a few km short of the far tip, at my arbitrary 11:00 turn-around.

Get back into town about 14:30 - time for food. Not being a fan of fish or most seafood, I have passed up all the oyster places (I encountered oysters once in a beef and oyster pie, and that was disgusting, so never again), and similar delights. I park the bike by the Aquarium and wander around the port a bit, then retrace my first route in, as I remember there were shops. And I find the local McDo and do a Maxi Big Mac, which contains more green vegetable matter than I've had all week!

Two towers guarding harbour entrance, boats under wild sky

La Rochelle Vieux Port, just outside the hotel.

Carpaccio de boeuf, Gambas Grillée and Clafoutis avec abricots, and more of the nice Haut Poitou Rosé.