Thursday, 17 June 2010

Days 9 to 17

Day 9, the team relaxed in La Rochelle for a day, giving themselves some time to write the blog, buy some necessary materials, and perform some vital bike maintenance. The team happened to stumble upon some nice ladies from West London, who there and then donated €20 to the Pahar Trust. After getting all their jobs done, they had a few cheeky Grafenwalders a la plage, and maybe a couple of bottles of wine. The merry team strolled home around ten, chatting jovially in a mix of poorly spoken French and broken English to some nice French ladies they bumped into.

Day 10, the team left La Rochelle early in the morning with high hopes and wild dreams. Only 20 miles in however, a huge thunder storm broke over their heads, drowning the afore mentioned hopes and dreams. However, despite having to shelter under a tree from the torential rain, the team's spirits were high, as the situation was somewhat amusing. However, after the storm had subsided the skies remained grey, and as the second storm broke the teams sense of humour began to fail. Luckily a farmer found them and invited them in to his metal workshop, where they waited until they could continue. They happenstanced upon a group of Irish lads cycling from Galway to Morocco, who can be found at outside a hypermarket, and the two teams swapped stories, tips, and shared experiences. The day ended well, the team finding a beautiful secluded spot on the beach to camp on, and with some cheap steak bought earlier that day, cooked up another tasty dish.

Day 11, the team pushed on cycling another 63 miles, leaving the beach and going through Royan, Mortagne Sur Griande and arriving at Jonzac. The world cup having already began, the team were invited to to watch France draw 0-0 with Uruguay in this guy's caravan. He was very engrossed, and shouted "Ecouté! Ecouté!" as the team discussed footballing matters.

Day 12, the team cycled roughly 78.49 miles between Jonzac and Burgerac, the furthest day's cycling yet, and perhaps the most beautiful. The views were wonderful, but the hills were high and long, and the team relished the last 15k of flat along the river Dordogne. Leading down to that last stretch of flat, there was a long winding downward slope, and the team enjoyed fantastic views and beaming sunshine after an arduous day's work. Someone had even written "Je T'aime" across the road. After pitching their tents and going to watch the England game and drinking a very expensive but well deserved pint, the team returned to camp to find that their tents had been ransacked. Was it the owner of the site telling us to move further away from the flooded river, or was it the local canadian geese population? They will never know. Luckily however, nothing had been taken. The team spent the subsequent day 13 relaxing in Burgerac, having cycled nearly 200 miles in the previous three days. This affected the team quite strongly, and morale was low, the weather having taken a turn for the worse, and the only available breakfast on a dimanche being a kebab and a beer... it was grim.

Day 14, the team cycled on another 50 miles, through wet and grey conditions, ending up knocking on doors for a place to camp. After trying only three times, they were taken in by a lovely French woman and her husband, and allowed to stay in their garden. The hospitality shown to the team was immense, the neighbour even allowing the bedragled team to use his shower, saying that "Si tu fait du velo, tu est mon amis."

Day 15, the team pushed on trough another relatively uneventful day's cycling, up and down some harsh hills through grim weather, the day taking a turn for the better after some light cherry picking, and finding a camping spot in a Farmer's field in amongst some derilict buldings, cooking up a fantastic pork and vegetable stew. However, the team are still suffering from the large gangs of mosquitoes that attacked them there en masse, and haunted them throughout the night.

Day 16, the team cycled into Toulouse, making the mistake of riding their bikes into the metropolis. The team were lost before they found the campsite, and the weather was crap yet again. However it brightened up as the team came into the city, and had a look around for the afternoon. It couldn't stay sunny for long however, and as the team purchased their staple six pack of Graffen from the local Lidl, another huge thunder storm, perhaps the sixth or seventh they had endured, broke over them, forcing them to drink under a bridge. After this horrific ordeal, the team then missed the last Metro home, and heading into a Pizzaria to warm themselves, were offered a lift home by Felix the absolute G, who offered them a free Kebab which the team will enjoy around noon today, when he discovered the mission that they were on.

Day 17, the team have come into Toulouse for the morning to update the blog, and are pushing on south towards the Pyranees after heading to Felixes to start the journey with a nice greasy chicken donner and chips.

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