Time to leave France…

To summarise a few things and update you…

Days since we left: 15

Kilometers cycled: 1024 (636 miles)

Average daily distance cycled: 80 km

Baguettes consumed: 29

Whole cheeses consumed: 17

Canned meals eaten: 10

Bike falls (owing to clip-ins): Imran 6/ Mikaela 1

Well, leaving Bordeaux was never going to be easy, but it was a departure made easier by one of Polo’s lovely housemates Arnaud who generously suggested we stay with his parents on the next leg of our journey. Somehow the incentive of a bed and shower led us to cycle 120 km across hilly terrain reaching the warmth of French hospitality in a village called Lavardac by nightfall. Feeding us with a fantastic feast and insisting we try a local digéstif, we settled down to sleep with absolute contentment. The next day, in spite of the bum-suffering, we continued to cycle through the Lot-et-Garonne and past the Landes, known as ‘France’s lungs’ as it’s composed entirely of sand and pine trees.

Nérac

We were relieved however to reach Toulouse and the beginning of the Canal du Midi, a beautiful stretch of water listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and running for 240 km from Toulouse to Séte .

Mikaela in Nérac

Canal CrossingsThe original purpose of the Canal du Midi was to provide a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding a long sea voyage, a hostile Spain and Barbary pirates. The canal has a rich history including the story of the thousands of labourers it took to build it, of these many were women who came from the Pyrenees specifically for this work. These peasant women were mainly of Roman descent and their knowledge of water systems was apparently vital to the construction of the canal, which in its era was a feat of engineering never seen before.

We followed the path of the Canal du Midi for just under 200 km, passing Europe’s largest medieval fortress in Carcassonne. Our time by the canal had its advantages given that it was of course very flat, but the ground was broken, uneven and seriously bumpy. We were slowed down by the difficult terrain and tired of camping in the cold we decided to take a slightly different route and made our way to Montpellier to stay with friends. Once again we have been shown huge generosity and when we catch our ferry this evening we’ll be sad to have only stayed one night. But the new leg of our journey begins soon, crossing continents from Europe to Africa on the 36 hour ferry from Séte to Tangier putting us another step closer to Mali.

Naptime in Montpellier

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11 responses to “Time to leave France…

  1. Hi guys
    Good stuff, funny statistics, keep up the energy, you will recharge your batteries on the ferry. I’m in Benin – tricky connectivity and usual hassles, but I love the food and cold beer.
    love Pru xxx

  2. Thanks for the update, the next leg will be really exciting. I don’t think Tangier will be as user friendly to cyclists as France !!! Good Luck….

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  4. Keep it up guys! Loving the updates. Imran, don’t worry you’ll get used to the pedals lol. 6 times though?! lol 🙂 I want pictures of the bikes! Though I must say the pictures on the blog are truely incredible!
    Bums get tougher too, I promise! 🙂

    Best of luck and loads and loads of love and respect for you two wonderously special people!
    Joe xxxxxxxxxx

    • As soon as we are in Morocco we’ll get some nice photos of our babies (the bikes of course) and post them esp for you Joe. Thanks for the encouragement- next leg will be tougher so going to need all the luck we can get! XXX

    • what happened to you eh Joe? Hope your good, we are home soon… you want some cake.. (I still owe you coconut and lime)????????
      Mikaela X

  5. C’est fantastique, merveilleux, incroyable, génial, foufoufou, oh oui, que d’effusions de joie, et bravo. Profitez-en bien!

  6. Grim and Grumps

    We are enjoying reading about your adventures and mishaps hope your bums are not too sore, probably better when they get numb instead. lots of loveXXX

  7. where is the helmet that should be 0n Imran`s head?
    xxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. Sophie_Junglist

    Keep going guys! You’re doing so well. What you’re doing is so amazing and if anyone has the perseverance to do it, it’s you two. Also, wear your helmets at all times! Tut tut. Loads of love xxxxxxxxxx

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