Our first day on the Loire à vélo was incroyable in so many ways.
However, as it is late and I’m exhausted, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
The real story of the day lies in not what we saw, but with whom we saw it. It was a day to remember the value of friendship and importance of making time in our busy lives to spend with friends and family; because in the end those relationships make the ride worthwhile.
I was so touched that the French girls and my flexible and optimistic daughter, Kitcat found the time to ride 65 km with us along the wild riverbanks to the shuttered village of Baule, to the flower-filled city of Beaugency, to the country churches and finally to our friendly hotel in the shadow of the stately château in Blois.
The great thing about traveling with the French girls is, well, they are French. And the French understand how to do a cross-country bike trip. They are really good at finding the beauty in the small things, and have no problem making a lot of stops along the way to make sure we see, smell and taste that beauty.
Bistros and cafés are key. They like their coffee (grand and with crème) and they like it in a sympa setting, preferably with some homemade crumble.
They also will go up some pretty steep village hills (even if they have to walk their bikes) in search of the one fantastic restaurant open on a Monday afternoon. Plus, when they are on vacation, they insist on having wine with lunch, and are quick to remind you that, “No, no, it’s good for you (as) we need a little sugar.” And that they “never drink at lunch, but (they) catch up when they can.”
And after a hearty, relaxing meal, they hop back on their bikes (“Oh! Mes fesses!”) and ride for another 3 hours, all without having trained a single day for the ride.
Marie-Françoise and Hélène are nothing if not optimistic. They are total goofballs, and full of smiles and beans. Nothing like the awful French we Americans are so scared we will encounter as we travel through France.
So, I am feeling like my Tour de la Loire is off to an awfully good start. And feeling very blessed to have such wonderful friends.