Sunday, August 27, 2006

Train to Toulouse

After taking an early night, I kept waking up in case it was time to get up, and gave up the effort of trying to sleep about 06:40. By a strange coincidence, the highlight of the day was 6h40m of train journey, starting 10:10.

I had finished breakfast and packing by just after 8, and, with not a lot else to do early on a Sunday morning, was at the Gare d'Austerlitz by twenty to 9. Even so, I had pretty much Hobson's choice of where to sit on the benches on the platform if I wanted to watch the board to find out which platform the train would be leaving from. So it was a case of sitting there while the swarthy guys with SMGs patrolled (not completely confidence inspiring).

The train was signalled half an hour before leaving, so it was no rush to get on, and the coach was comparatively empty.

On the journey, there was a church with a free-standing tower; and at Toury, the first of the many wind farms. After 1hour, cross the Loire near Orléans, and it's starting to brighten from a grey start, with flickers of blue sky.

There is a woman with a young black cat, just out of kittenhood, that wants to explore, and prowls a little on its lead, before spending a long time zonked on her lap, or sticking out a curious face into the aisle.

Half way point, Limoges, patchy sun, and we've swung around to east of south. 4h10m in, Brive le Gaillard, 3pm Souillac (where I stopped back in 2000), 3:20 Gourdon. Now definitely out into fair-weather clouds and sun, which is better than the most recent weather forecast. 15:45 Cahors, 16:13 Caussade, 16:28 Montauban. For the final ten minutes of the journey we are alongside the canal, with plenty of cyclists on the path, looking good for the morning.

Short walk to the hotel, cunningly hidden in a courtyard, in hot sun. Bike already there, so do try out. The front suspension is soft, which always feels worrying; and the tyre doesn't pump particularly hard — but it doesn't seem to be leaking.

Smarten up for supper, and wander into town. The low sun across the main square is in my eyes. Many places are closed for August and Sunday, and I start worrying that I'll have to back track to the McDo's; but in the Rue du Taur, I find a creperie, where I can sit out on the pavement, and enjoy a meal (blue cheese galette, crepe tatin, 50cl cider and mint tea).

Weather forecast suggests dull and showery tomorrow, but fine for the rest of the week.

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