Kilchrohane – Caha Pass – Milltown

By the afternoon we had followed the coast road back out towards the Atlantic, cycling through Ahakista and passing the stone square towers that dot the coast here. We reach Kilchrohane by 3ish where we had made plans to visit Eleanor – a distant relative of Paddy’s dad who still resides in the house that Paddy’s grandmother was born and grew up. Paddy’s dad has fond memories of summer holiday spent in Kilrohane so we were both keen to visit the house and surrounding area. 


Eleanor was waiting with her sister and niece for us to arrive and had prepared an amazing array of cakes and scones to have with our tea – it was great to meet them and hear more about the family and the house. After feasting on all the delicious baked goodies and a quick tour of the bike we said our goodbyes and set off to find a camping spot along the coast. We didn’t need to go far – finding a small track to the left of the main road which led us down to a shingle beach on the pretty inlet south of Khilchrohane itself. We tried to make friends with the aloof alpacas before setting up the tent. 

Alpacas


The next morning we set off early and not having time to cycle the full circumference of the long peninsular we head inland towards the steep mountain road known locally as ‘The Goats’ Pass’. Tough but short lived we manage to reach the top and stand a while enjoying the panoramic views while Paddy tells me tales of Fin McCool the giant and his mystical dog… Down we go to the other side and within two hours we have reached the bustling market town of Bantry where a food and craft market is in full swing with musicians playing in the streets and car boot stalls set up all along one side of the square. 

After Bantry we had our first major climb to look forward to which would see us cross into Kerry over the Caha Pass – the road which twists and turns up through the green craggy mountains of the Beara peninsula.

The rain stayed away for the climb for which we were grateful and we enjoyed gaining some height and passing through the woodlands to the craggy tops above. Yellow and green flags are displayed outside almost every house. These are the chequered colours of Kerry’s Famous Gaelic football team. We also saw a sign for an opportunity offered for tourists to adopt a sheep (?!) and this prompted Paddy to explain the other well known Kerry talent – their ingenuity and lengths taken when it comes to fleecing American tourists… (excuse the pun!)

We cycled through the famed tunnels at the top of the pass and soon reach Kenmare which marks the ‘ring of Kerry’ the most trodden tourist route in Ireland. This famous loop will have to wait for another year as we had no plans to cycle it, instead wanting to reach the west coast in this last week. From here we have another 10km climb to Molls gap – which sees us reach the famed Kilarney lakes. By now the weather has rolled in and we look out on a misty landscape below. Caraun Toohil – tallest mountain in Ireland is here too.

We contemplate whether the weather at the bottom will be any better but with a stunning view at Ladies View overlooking down towards Mc Gillicuddy reeks (mountain range) we decide to make a very gnarled, twisted old oak tree our home for dinner and we can decide about camping … It’s overhanging mossy branches provide a pretty good umbrella from the misty rain And it’s not until the proper rain really arrives that we start to regret not putting the tent up straight away. We are now forced to erect it in full wet weather which is never fun. In the tent Paddy delves into Irish folklore once again with more stories involving Fiin McCool such as the Salmon of Knowledge tale.

The old oak sheltered us well all night but we woke to more rain and decided to pack up and reach lower ground before attempting breakfast. 

Mysterious Killarney Lakes
Ye olde oak tree
Too wet to come out!
Cereal on the banks of the lake – rainbow

Before long we had reached Mill town – where P’s grandfather, the original Paddy Cronin, was born. We set up a mini camp on a big grassy park section of the Main Street and used the time to dry our very damp tent. 


While Paddy was cooking a full fry up I went to get water and unfortunately was met by a very unfriendly pub owner who proceeded to passive aggressively tell me it was extremely presumptuous and rude of me to come and ask for 4 litres of tap water ‘for free’ – didn’t I know the cost of water in Ireland now?? I found the whole thing ironic largely because Irish citizens did for a time start paying for their water but the policy was so unpopular that the government rescinded it a year ago and made it free again!! I wanted to tell him he was the first person ever in 25 counties to refuse us a refill, and ask him what that said about him, but I ended up politely excusing myself instead and the next pub filled them up no questions asked.

Onwards to Listowel now… 

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Schull – Barley Cove – Mizen Point – Kilcrohan 

We were met by two huge herons when we unloaded the bike on the quayside at Schull – they were gorging on fish and squid cuts from the fishing boats. The seagulls weren’t getting a look in.

It was turning out to be the sunny day that our crystal clear morning had promised and I couldn’t have asked for better weather for my first introduction to Schull – the seaside town which Paddy grew up in until he was seven. With its curved, sweeping harbour and many yachts moored in neat rows, bustling peer with the small scale fish factory still in business and the main shopping street populated with locally owned shops, Schull struck me as a lovely little town.

We visited Paddy’s old house and then went to call on Mary his old babysitter who was more than surprised to see us I think! 

Mary and Paddy
Outside the old house
My lasting impression of Schull was that it must have been a very happy place for a seven year old to grow up in – particularly one who couldn’t be more addicted to the sea if he tried – i kept thinking (and hoping) that our planned new start in Cornwall at the end of the trip might hold in store a similar life.

The weather remained amazingly good for the rest of the day. This was fortunate, because we had some stunning coastline views awaiting us as we continued south towards Mizen head. With the picturesque Long Island straddling the mainland and the vast, piercingly-blue Atlantic Ocean stretching out beyond, we didn’t make great progress because of all the stops we kept taking. The way was pretty up and down but we were so eager to get to the peaks to enjoy the panoramic views we at least made good progress on the climbs. 

In the afternoon we linked back up to the main road which brought us right back next to the coast again. We stop next to the Altar Wedge Tomb – an old Bronze Age burial chamber – and thoroughly enjoy a leisurely picnic of smoked mackerel salad and bread. We spend a good hour sunbathing, listening to the waves lap the rocks below and the sound of excited German tourists exploring the rock pools. After some time a lovely Irish lady and her dog ‘Lucky’ sit down next to us and starts chatting away about the bike.

Burial chamber
Enjoying the sun
Panoramic views of Long Island
The aim was to reach the famous Barley Cove beach by late-afternoon so we climb back on the bike and make our way down and along the road which skirts the fortified natural harbour of Crookhaven. The beach is still busy and we can’t resist running into the sea for our second swim of the day. As the beach empties we pull out the bottle we had been storing in the pannier since Schull and get set up on the sand dunes above the beach. We watch the tide slowly engulf the sandy beach as we sip our mugs of wine waiting for the pasta to come to the boil. It takes a while to find a suitable camping spot and it’s pretty late before we begin to pitch the tent in the semi-darkness. We hear a cry of greeting from the road as we’re locking the tent poles together and Paddy goes to investigate. 

Helen who had seen our parked bike on the beach earlier had cycled all the way up the hill from her camping ground below to offer us a bed in her caravan for the night. Overcome by this kindness we gladly accept and hurriedly pack up before following her back down the hill. We spend a very comfortable night in Helen’s caravan and even get treated to fried eggs, bacon, and black pudding in the morning. Word soon gets round that we are travelling by bike and we enjoy meeting many of Helen’s camping neighbours over a leisurely morning. 

Helen’s niece was in fact cycling in Tajikistan with a friend so it was great to hear about their recent travels as well as Helen’s own hitchhiking and cycle adventures! 

With plans to meet Helen and her sister in Durras for lunch and wanting to visit the famed lighthouse at Mizen head beforehand we decided it was time to get going. It was a pretty tough climb up to Mizen point but we had a really enjoyable hour exploring the lighthouse and the views along the coast were spectacular. There was a good exhibition on the construction of the lighthouse and we were delighted to discover that the entire structure was made of beautifully interlocking stones all carved at the turn of the 20th century in Penryn, Cornwall – very close to where we are soon to move!

We hang over the rail and watch a family of seals playing in the swell before giving the Fastnet rock one final glance before heading back down and onwards North to the next peninsular. 

Rugged coast line
Pointing to Wales!
Final picture of the Fastnet or ‘the tear of Ireland’


We have an amazing cycle towards Durrus as we head inland and with the wind pushing us along we’re only 45 mins late for Helen!

After lunch we make our down the south coast of the Sheep’s head peninsular towards Kilcohane. The peninsular is famous for its walking routes, ring forts and towers. It was now time to delve even further back into Paddy’s past and visit the house his great grandmother was born… 

Spike Island – a slice of history on many fronts

Before we departed from Cobh we were keen to take a day trip over to Spike Island. Spike has a fascinating history but it also holds a strong personal connection for Paddy and his dad’s family because it was where Paddy’s grandad and great-uncle were posted during their service in the Irish Army. 

Uncle – Jimmy Cronin
Grandfather – the original Paddy Cronin

Due to its natural protection thanks to its shape and size Cork Harbour has always been an important tactical naval base and Spike Island was the keystone for its military defence. The town was a stronghold for the British Navy ever since the Napoleonic Wars. Cobh was also the major embarkation port for Irish men, women and children who were committed and deported to the penal colonies such as Australia and Spike for an extended time acted as a mass prison for these ‘convicts’. It remained a prison throughout the War of Independence. 

After the establishment of the Irish Free State, Britain retained control of three strategically important Irish ports one of which was Cork Harbour and consequently Spike Island remained a British Royal Navy stronghold until 1938. Paddy’s grandfather and great uncle attended (and raised the Irish flag) at the ceremony. 


After the handover the island remained an Irish navy base, prison and ‘correction centre’ until 2004. In 1985 an infamous incident happened where the prisoners managed to ‘escape’ to the island’s quayside and, finding that there was no boat to take them to the mainland, consequently broke back in to the prison with an abandoned JCB, set fire to their prison block, and climbed the roof of the main building before being re-captured! Brilliant!! The island is now a 103 acre museum. 


It has been great to visit sites like Spike Island and learn more about Irish history and the part Britain played in it. Although the pass-over of Spike was a peaceful and apparently jovial affair, I know the handover of most of the other Irish territory by the British was not so convivial! Since learning more about Irish history I feel a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t known much about it before. I have felt the same kind of feeling when visiting other countries on the trip such as Myanmar and Iran. I’m no historian and I know we can’t necessarily link the British occupation with the civil war that happened after – or everything that happened during the troubles – (the same is true for Myanmar and Iran), but I can’t help thinking had Britain not been so god damn greedy and arrogant in the first place, world history would look a lot more peaceful today. 

I bring this up now because visiting Spike Island was an important part of my learning about past British foreign policy. This has been a really important strand for me throughout the trip. Questioning what it means to be British in an international context, and my relationship with my home country when learning history through new perspectives; the other side of the lens as it were. I think we still have a terrible knack of glorifying and justifying the British Empire at home. I certainly remember being fed the positive rhetoric of the Empire in school – looking at a world map, half the landmass stained red, to show just how ‘powerful my country once was’. 

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that we Brits have a lot to answer for, and I don’t think we are very good at knowing the full truth regarding our past political actions abroad. I’m not justifying anti-British sentiment in any form – more that it’s our duty to understand our link to certain situations – such as why the border crossing between north and south in Ireland is such a sensitive topic for the Brexit negotiations currently or why it’s so difficult for Brits to get an Iranian visa. Visiting Spike Island and learning about Paddy’s grandad and great uncle was an invaluable milestone for me in all of the above. 

Week 1 – Roslare to Cobh

So off we went from Roslare and headed south to Waterford and the mouth of the river barrow where we crossed on a short car ferry to Passage East. We decided that the village provided a good spot to set up camp. We absentmindedly ignored the ‘no overnight camping’ sign because Paddy insisted no one would care and that the Irish all have a tendency to not do as they’re told anyway. I had been invited for a Skype interview scheduled for a few days time so Paddy offered to set up camp and cook dinner while I spread out over the picnic table and started researching and note taking. 

It was a stunning evening and we woke up early to another killer clear blue day. With a 6:30am start we were well on schedule to reach Dungarvan by mid-afternoon where we were meeting up with Paddy’s parents for dinner in a fancy restaurant called The Tannery. They had also booked us into the luxurious hotel opposite and we had a lovely evening with them. 

Sunset over Passage East
Early morning
Tasting menu at The Tannery

The next morning we needed to get to Cobh but after our lazy start a bus was needed to help us along on our way. We got dropped in Midleton just north of Cobh and Cork and met a friendly Dutch family who were also cycling around Ireland for three weeks. We would stop in Cobh for four days staying with Paddy’s uncle and aunt Ger and Christine and catching up and meeting lots of Paddy’s family. Cobh (formally known as Queenstown until 1920) is a lovely city, which sits on its own island (Great Island) in Cork Harbour -the second biggest natural harbour in the world (after Sydney). The town tumbles steeply down all the way to the water’s edge where a long high street runs the length of the town full of shops, restaurants, pubs and small fishing harbours. The harbour is so large and deep that cruise ships, car carriers and naval vessels are able to berth right alongside the town’s long quay. So the water is constantly bustling with little boats and slow moving cargo ships. The town is famous for it’s emigration legacy – it was Titanic’s last port of call before it’s infamous maiden voyage.

We had a fantastic time with Ger and Chris, they are super company and we enjoyed our evening sea swims and wholesome dinners. Chris owned her own hair salon for many years so I enjoyed a haircut on our first evening too. 

Statue of 17 year old Annie Moore and her brothers – the first immigrant ever to be admitted to the USA though the new administration centre at Ellis Island.

Feasting on Milly Filly dessert
Salon Chris

The next morning I had my job interview over Skype and we headed into Cobh where the internet speed is better. P’s aunt Miriam and uncle Danny had kindly offered their house up for me and after I was done Ger and Christine took us into town to take my mind off the ‘result’ later that day. Cobh town centre was heaving as the whole town was celebrating what has become to be known as ‘Australia Day’ – The day when the biggest Australian cruise ship docks in the harbour and 2000 Australian tourists pour out into the shops and pubs. At 4pm I got the call to say I’d got the job and with no further excuse needed we all piled into the local pub for a few ‘scoops’. Miriam and Danny joined us a bit later and it ended up being an hilarious night with much dancing to live music and Chris getting the whole pub singing… 

Swimming
Outside the famed cathedral with Ger and Bren, Paddy’s friend from Dublin who just happened to be over visiting from New York.

Ireland Country No.24!!!! 

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that my tardiness in posting our Irish blogs reflects any negative feelings about our three weeks there. On the contrary, it was possibly some of the best weeks we’ve had. 

Unfortunately mundane things like work and house viewings have prevented me sitting down to write up all my notes. And thank god I did take notes too because it has ended up being over two months since we disembarked from our French ferry (the ‘Oscar Wilde’) and pushed tandem into Roslare harbour.

Suddenly and for the first time we were in a country which was incredibly familiar to one of us and fairly new to the other. Apart from the holiday to Doolin in Feb 2013 on which Paddy and I first met, I have only ever visited Dublin. So I was delighted to have such an in depth opportunity to learn more about Paddy’s Irish heritage not to mention having time to spend with members of the extended family. 

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that I too have Irish blood running through my veins. That my great great great grandfather came over to London from Ireland to work as a weaver probably sometime in the mid 19th century has always been a source of interest for my dad’s family. We have been able to track our genealogy back this far but the tragic fire at the Dublin public records office in 1922 has meant we haven’t been able to dig any further.

For Paddy it was special to come home for this length of time and cycle through all his old childhood haunts – it is nearly a decade since he spent such an extended period in Ireland. The plan was to head to the south tip from Roslare, down through West Cork largely sticking to the coast with a few island hops in-between. 


Then to head back up the east coast hitting Doolin for a trip down memory lane before catching a coach from Galway back to where we started before our ferry to South Wales. Paddy acted as my official tour guide and there ended up being a few surprises along the way!! 

When most people think of Ireland they think of rugged coastline, green fields, mist & rain, Guinness in cosy pubs, traditional music, extremely friendly hospitality… and of course leprechauns! All of the above we encountered in abundance during our time there… even the leprechauns… 

It would be fair to say that I was more than mildly concerned about the weather. But we were incredibly lucky and enjoyed back to back sunshine for the majority of the time. It wouldn’t have been an Irish holiday without a few ‘grand soft days’ (misty, damp, rainy days) but they were few and far between and they added to the whole Irish mystical charm.

Orleans to Cherbourg – staying with Trappist Monks and reaching the beaches of Normandy

After our string of 100km days we felt we deserved a restful morning so we didn’t leave the campsite until the afternoon and we used the time to sort out a few things for when we move to Cornwall in late August. Thanks to a good tailwind we manage 60km despite the late start and followed more cycle routes before camping in a lovely spot on the banks of the Loir again. We’ve been passing lots of French chateaus. They litter the countryside around here with their quintisensial round towers and many windows.

Chateaux!

Comical penny farthing photo along another cycle route!

The next afternoon we reached Orleans giving ourselves enough time to visit a dentist because Paddy’s filling, which he had done in China (along with the root canal), fell out. We’ve had good weather in France but the next day was spent dodging the thunderstorms as we skirted round the bottom of Paris towards Normandy. We managed to find shelter for the majority of the downpours and just got the tent up under the shade of a great oak tree before the evening rain started -we were forced to cook our pesto and ravioli in the vestibule followed by delicious French eclaires in the tent.

This part of France has been pretty flat and we’re both starting to tire of looking at the miles and miles of golden wheat fields. They were fun to start with and we enjoyed making this video about Theresa May. 

Thankfully the golden fields soon turned into forests of oak trees as we reached the Normandy border at La Luppe and cycled through the north section of Parc naturel regional du Perche. The thunderstorms made a come back that afternoon and we stop at Abbaye de la Trappe to fill our water bottles at the healing spring there dedicated to St Bernard. We have to wait in line – clearly it’s the done thing for local worshippers to fill large 5l containers with the water to take home with them! While we refill we get chatting to a nice Frenchman from Paris who invites us into the Abbey’s art gallery where his Japanese wife has an exhibition of her paintings. 


Needing no excuse to stop and hide from the rain we gladly follow him in and really enjoy chatting with them and looking at her work. By the time we were ready to get back on the bike an extreme downpour had started. Resigning ourselves to another damp camping spot we prepare to mount the bike. 

We end up not having to camp though. Within the hour we’re settled in the private sleeping quarters of the Abbey’s monastery instead. It’s a long story which involves some very nice French ‘Trappist’ monks who essentially took pity on us and offered us a place to stay for the night! 
We’re offered the use of the kitchen and a hot shower and shown to our own room by the head monk – a cheery man of 80 years who looks a bit like Albus Dumbledore in his long white robes and matching beard. 

The view of the ancient Abbey buildings from our bedroom

While we’re preparing dinner we notice the cathedral service times on the wall and decide to head along to the last service of the evening. The monastery complex is very beautiful and the Cathedral itself is an amazing building. After the short service we head down to the lake and walk around the forest grounds. The skies clear and we laugh at the fact we probably could have camped after all… We will definitely miss finding ourselves in these random situations once we are back! 

There are a few other people staying in the same building as us – mostly worshippers who have come for a few nights. We get chatting to a nice guy called Sebastien who is here with his son and godson for a few nights -in the morning we find a little handwritten note from him tucked into our frame bag inviting us to stay on their Christmas tree farm. We leave the abbey feeling very humbled and glad that we have found people in Western Europe just as kind, friendly and open minded as they are everywhere else we’ve been.

They wear the same outfits today
The Abbey’s Cathedral


The next day was another rainy one but we managed to hide from the worst of it by sheltering in various farm buildings. Sometimes the farmers catch us munching our lunch next to their tractors but they don’t seem to mind, in fact they are normally very amused. We reach a town called Falaise and I decide to check the warmshowers ap to see if there might be any hosts in the area who might be able to welcome us on such short notice. Jean-Marc answered our plea almost instantly and so we end up having a lovely evening with him discussing everything from cycling to politics. We are well looked after considering we gave him just 30 minutes notice!! 

The next two days we have some long days in the saddle as we head west and into the Contentin peninsular. The World War Two landings and military action which took place here are heavy in our minds as we head towards the coast where we decide to stop at one of the landing beaches – Utah beach. 

It’s a stunning day and it’s hard to believe that this peaceful, sandy long beach was once a place of such atrocity and suffering. While we walked around the various monuments we also come to terms with the fact that we have finally reached the English Channel. 

With only 35km left to Cherbourg and our ferry not leaving until the evening the next day we felt it was fitting to check-in to a nearby campsite and celebrate properly – we had done it! We had reached the other end of the Euro-Asian landmass!

Ireland here we come! 

Utah beach

Stunning view from the waterside restaurant
Celebrating with fresh oysters and prawns
Boarding our ferry ‘The Oscar Wilde’ to Roslare
Paddy finishing the last of the brioche to make room for the brack, black pudding and soda bread which we will soon be storing away in the panniers.

France! number 23 and our last foreign country!

We reached the summit at Montgenevre by lunch the next day and we were soon crossing into France. It had been quite a stiff climb to get here with a few very long tunnels to climb through – especially the very last – we were glad to have got up here. France here we come! This would be our last foreign country and we both felt it was a bit surreal crossing the border. The views were fabulous and I got quite emotional!

Celebrating with still a bit to climb!

We needed to get to Lyon by the evening of the next day so I could catch my flight back to the UK for another interview. Although we had reached the border we hadn’t finished climbing yet – we still needed to cross Col du Lauteret which would be our last pass over 2000m. 

We celebrated reaching France in typical style by feasting on fresh baguettes, three types of French cheese and a bottle of French wine for lunch. Then we started tackling the climb and managed to brake the back of it by 7pm. 8km from the top we found a great camping spot off the road on top of a disused tunnel and we finished the wine while lapping up the view of the glacier dominating the mountain range across the valley.

The next morning we set off early as we had to reach Grenoble by mid-afternoon so we could catch a train to Lyon. It was a beautiful day and we stopped for a quick picture at the top. It was still early but the hotel and cafe was packed with bikers and cycle teams and there was a celebratory good atmosphere.

Cheese and wine!
At the top! Glorious morning


We enjoyed the downhill after that before reaching a reservoir where we had to endure another short climb before zooming down to Grenoble. The temperature climbs as we drop down and by the time we hit Grenoble it’s well over 30 degrees. The whole of France is experiencing an intense heatwave right now. 

Amandine and Jean were our kind warm showers hosts in Lyon and despite them having just moved into their new flat they were super welcoming. We enjoyed a dinner with them when we arrived and loved hearing about their cycle trip in Africa which they had completed a few years ago. 

The next day I flew home to London and started my epic journey down to Plymouth for my interview. Paddy enjoyed his few days in Lyon despite the weather which reached into the high 30s. It was the summer solstice the evening I returned and Paddy and Amandine had been out partying -enjoying the street music festival which takes place all over France every year on the longest day.

The next morning we had a late start as I was super tired from all the travelling. Paddy literally had to kick me out of bed in the end. It was incredibly hot and our departure was delayed because we left the battery pack in the flat… Paddy managed to retrieve the house keys from where we had just deposited them in the letter box by using the magnet on our tent lamprey. We managed 44km before pulling the bike up a wood lined verge where thankfully there was a running stream nearby for us to cool off before climbing in the tent. 

We managed an early start on the bike the next morning and we were cycling by 7.45am. I doubt we’ve been cycling this early since our dash across Turkmenistan… After an 8km climb we were soon crossing into the Loir region and making our way to Roanne. It promised to be very flat from now on so the 80km day average we have to keep to ensure we reach Cherbourg in time shouldn’t be too challenging. 

Day 3 saw us complete a 103km the first of what would turn out to be a string of 100km plus days! We’ve been following the canal routes and are enjoying teaming up with the great Loir river every so often. We see lots of birds of prey hunting in the fields many many herons and the canals are home to many ducklings who we spook out of their reed nests as we cycle past. 

There’s quite a few people holidaying on canal boats and we pass some impressive barges and boat houses. Soon we reach our first locks and enjoy watching the boats come through as we stop for lunch. We’re both tiring of the soft cheese and are dreaming about Irish cheddar already.

The good weather continues and we have been doing well at getting up early so we can escape the Suns high point for a long lunch. Even if the morning is cloudy the sun has been burning away the clouds by noon every day. There are lots and lots of camping grounds along our route but we’ve just been camping on the side of the canal mostly. Locks tend to make a good spot as there is always a patch of grass to pitch the tent and even sometimes toilets. 

By day 4 we were making really good headway and decided it was time for a shower and charging session. We keep getting caught out by Sunday’s in France. Everything closes on a Sunday and we were low on food and diesel. Annoyingly France has been the first country to impose a minimum fuel allowance at petrol stations – 5l – which means we have to wait for a diesel car to turn up and ask if we can pay them to fill our 75ml fuel bottle when they re-fuel. Luckily Paddy has enough French to explain why we need it!

We met up with the Loir again and found a beautiful campsite right on the banks of the river. Because we hadn’t been able to find any open food stores we had to just cook what we had in the bottom of the bag and the meal wasn’t the most appetising but we did wash it down with a lovely crisp bottle of white wine which we procured from the friendly campsite owner. 

Stunning evening on the Loir

Spinach pasta mess – not one of our best meals!

From here we head to Orleans and into Normandy!