(The Grey Nomad goes to France)
Anna, when I was about to go to Australia in February, decided to book some flights to Carcassonne in the south of France for July. This was mainly to put something in the diary. She rightly noted that I was heading off for some sun (and pies) and that she deserved a holiday to look forward to. Carcassonne is a grand town with a citadel. This is an ancient 13th Century fortification in the centre of the town. Within this fortification there are cobbled streets, churches, bars, hotels etc. It is a special place. We’ve been on several occasions. When the pandemic struck we just left the flights in place not knowing when the borders would open again.
When the chance to fly arrived Anna felt leaving the UK so soon after my father-in-law being widowed wasn’t timely. (He’s doing remarkably well so far thankfully). So she’d pass up the holiday. I was happy to reschedule but there was no chance of a refund and to move the flights involved overcoming two obstacles. The first was being able to contact Ryanair and then paying considerable amendment charges. The latter were prohibitive when you note what we paid for the original flights pre-Covid-19 before the hikes. Anyway I decided to go and so the tour starts from Carcassonne airport next week. I am a man of lists and using this I have extracted all my necessary clothes and items for the trip.
In a couple of weeks of pedaling or so I hope to arrive at the northern coastline. Exactly where depends on which ports have ferries sailing to Hull in England. At the moment only Rotterdam is open in The Netherlands but I’m hoping Zeebrugge in Belgium opens. This should be around 1,000 miles. As always I will be camping. However, there may be a few slates over my head if the weather turns very inclement.
Just north of the city are some demanding mountains and so I’ve decided to initially head east and then north. This way I might limit the climbing necessary to make progress. There are no major cities on my route. However the regions I’ll cycle through will be green and ancient. I expect sunshine, fresh bread, delicious wine, unfussy campsites, indifferent locals and empty but steep roads. When I get further north I may follow the Meuse river into Belgium. I’ll worry about the detail in a few hundred miles time.
I shall be taking my iPad and writing about what I see. As always it’ll be grand if you join me.