Monday morning we awoke to what might have been the best sound ever heard. Silence. The wind had abated in the night, so we counted ourselves as fortunate and hit the road as early as we could.
We had anticipated a stiff climb into the gorges today and were glad to know we had a short cycling day ahead in which to get our climbing done. We were headed uphill before we had even been on the road for a whole kilometer, but the hills were not anything oppressive and in the absence of wind or heat, we quickly found ourselves in a nice climbing rhythm, enjoying the scenery and chatting as we pedaled. The traffic was sparse to none, and the few cars that did pass used their blinkers to do so as if we were cars on the road. We have found French drivers (and frankly French people in general) to be so polite!
The scenery, quickly drying out reminded us of home with rocky outcroppings and even the occasional red rock. We pulled over at one scenic overlook to take a picture but were quickly shooed away by the half dozen French police and military personel that were also there, seemingly looking for something. We don’t know what was going on exactly, but they certainly did ruin the best photo opportunity for that section of our ride!
We headed into the tiny town of Anguines before headed to our campsite where we hoped to find some groceries. The only option there was a tiny little store with less selection that most American gas stations, but they had most of what we really needed and I was glad to get to meet the cute French lady that seemingly owned the store. Everyone in France has been so delightfully friendly to us which wasn’t as common in Italy. It has been such a nice change!
With our business done in Anguines, we snapped a few photos of the chateau and the church before heading down the long decent to the beautiful blue lake where the campgrounds were located.
We located a couple of unimpressive options, but couldn’t see the one recommended by our guidebook. I was getting too dang hungry to care much where we stayed so we stopped for a lunch break which helped me get back on the bike long enough to cover the last few kilometers to the campground we were looking for.
Once we got all set up, we walked down to the lake to find out about renting a kayak or something to float up into the gorge and made plans to rent a double kayak the next day. I was super excited – we’ve kayaked pretty often as we’ve traveled and it is something I really enjoy.
Back at camp, we were basically dying without shade at our campsite, so we picked up the tent and all our gear and moved up the hill into some thick grass. It quickly solved our shade problem, but Ben’s allergies were going crazy which made for a pretty miserable night. We also quickly discovered that our bathroom block was non-functional, making for a very long walk for water, bathrooms, showers, etc. A little displeased, we vowed to move again the next day so that we’d have a more comfortable second day.
Tomorrow, we’ll stick around one more day to take an unloaded ride up to the rim of the canyon to see what we can see, and then we’ll explore the bottom section by kayak!