This last weekend, which was also my first full weekend here, in our new city, Nevers, was A-Okay. And a good part of it was spent on our bicycles out in the country side. Pretty nice. If I do say so myself. There is something so freeing about being surrounded by all that fresh open space. The small stone farm houses that are scattered up tight along winding roads, are so picturesque, amongst the farm animals as well. Life is good out there, on a bicycle.
On Saturday we biked across the old stone bridge, and out of town to Emmaüs, which is located in the middle of no where, unless you think a race car track is somewhere. I don’t, but there is one of those near Emmaüs, where you can hear the car engines scream. Other then that, it’s just farm fields out there. The bike ride is only about 17 miles, round trip.
Emmaüs is a second hand store (France’s version of Goodwill, sort of, but not as clean cut), where Marie and I find everything for our apartment. Our mission that day was to find a couch, a desk, and a chair for the desk. Good news, we found it all, and for quite a good price. The couch is even a pull out one, so if we ever have visitors, they’ll have a bed to sleep on. It’s a pretty nice one. Since we only have bikes for transportation, our new furniture will be delivered, for a small fee, a week from Tuesday.
On Sunday, we planned a longer bike ride, about 35 miles round trip, to a supposedly beautiful town called, la Charite-sur-Loire. I say supposedly because we never made it. We had it all planned out, except for the exact directions, we knew we had to follow the Loire River north, and that there was maybe a bike path along it. Adventurous, I know. The ride started out as we planned, biking out of Nevers, to the next town over (where there is an alright Sunday morning market). There, we bought some supplies for a picnic, which we planned to have once we made it to la Charite- fresh fruit, cheese, a baguette. It was also in this town where we ran into the river.
There was a path along the river, at first, but it was hardly a bike path. We took it anyways, without really knowing if it was the right one. Luckily, the path led us in the right direction, but after some time, an hour or two, the path got more rugged and muddy, and we have road bikes. Then the mosquitoes found us. Those little fuckers.
Shortly after crossing a road in a small village, we surrendered to the idea that this was probably not the bike trail we were supposed to be on, so we went back to the road we had just crossed. Now lucky again, back on the road in the small village, there happened to be an old man biking by, which Marie stopped and asked for directions, and luck would have it, this road would lead us to where we wanted to go. We were only about nine miles away, said the old man.
Riding on the road was so smooth and the scenery superb, but unfortunately, it didn’t last long. For as we biked, only a short distance, we heard an enormous BANG! Dogs started barking from all directions. Were we being shot at by some crazy farmer? No, of course not. It was just my back tire that exploded and we were literally in the middle of no where, with no tools to fix it. But again, lucky for us, we could only laugh at our situation, and turned around for the long, long walk home.
Most of the walk was enjoyable, and we both took in our surroundings. Marie was kind enough to stick with me. But after over two hours of walking my feet were killing me, and Marie was on her bike, riding slowly in front of me. When we reached the town the market had been in, we stopped at the train station, and lucky for us, there was a train we could catch the rest of the way home. The weekend was coming to a close.
Since we never made our destination, la Charite-sur-Loire, we now have plans for next weekend. I’m gonna fix my flat tire, so we’ll be back on our bikes. It turns out that there is a bike trail that will take us there too, but it’s not along the river. There is also a canal, just west of the river that runs parallel, and that’s where the trail is. Go figure. We were pretty close though.