Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The toughest ride

Day 2 was the toughest. We traveled up North through some of the small winemaking communes of the Sancerrois and view village of Sancerre -a Protestant stronghold in the 16th Century and the site of many religious wars. Sancerre is now famous for its fine white wine.

I was coming down with a cold and was grappling with the gears on the bike and snot streaming down my face while struggling on the uphill climbs up to Sancerre village. All in, we covered 30 miles (66km) in one day. We were thankful for the perfect weather which was cool yet sunny throughout the journey.

For dinner, Michelle served escargots cooked in a cream sauce and pan-fried fish (plaice) that was tender and succulent. In the typical French tradition, we were offered a platter of cheese. I usually choose the mild ones like the Camembert which is a soft, creamy French cheese and Brie. Though this region is famous for its goat cheese, we're simply not used to the intense smell. Dessert was a tangy sorbet sandwiched between choux pastry.
This is where we started ... from a little village about 30km away from Sancerre.

An unused well.

We rode through some small villages along the way. You can see we were going uphill.

Another small village in the distance.
The vineyards of Sancerre.

Mostly white grapes are grown here for Sancerre is renowned for its white wine.
The steep climb to Sancerre hilltop village was tormenting. We had to get off our bikes. Of course the rest of the group rode all the way to the top. They admitted it was a really tough one, even for them.

Looking down at the valley below.



This charming medieval town offers steep and winding streets, several fine restaurants, gabled and turreted architecture, centuries-old homes, a lively square and Maison St. Denis.
We even spotted a pink Cadillac! It must have been the playground for the rich and famous at one time.


The old-world little town of Sancerre picturesquely situated on a hill in rolling country. An old defensive tower now serves as the belfry of the church of Notre-Dame. In the park surrounding the Château is the Tour des Fiefs, a 14th century keep which is all that remains of a castle of the Counts of Sancerre.

As you can see, it was quite chilly, we had to put on our windbreakers during mid-day.



On the way back, we rode past many sunflower fields. It was almost time for harvest and the flowers have all dried up. It must have been a blazing yellow stretch just weeks before.

We arrived back at the starting point just in time to see little kids going home from school.

After a long day of riding, we relaxed in the garden before dinner, enjoying a glass of wine. I was reading about Apremont, the place we were riding to on friday. Ok, the book's in French, so I just looked at the pictures.

9 comments:

JYankee said...

**sigh** it's all so beautiful....

The World According to Me said...

Your pictures are telling a great story! I'm hooked, I can't wait for more!

Nick Phillips said...

Looks like you had a great time. Nice pictures.

Dan said...

I am so proud of you. You're fit! This'll be an experience you never forget!

Gorgeous photos!

Random Magus said...

It's so picturesque... I want to be there so bad. Thank you for such a great collection of photos...

HollyGL said...

Blur, That picture of the door with flowers on either side could be a poster. ...and the food just sounds heavenly.

Blur Ting said...

yes, the places are so gorgeous, you all could take a nice picture anytime, anywhere!

Yah Holly, I particularly like the postcard looking one. I have so many such photos now cos I'm just so crazy over beautiful flowers!

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