Day 6: Rochefort-en-Terre to Caurel (125 km)

Community Highlights Europe Day 6: Rochefort-en-Terre to Caurel (125 km)

I had an especially hardy breakfast this morning ate it while talking to the hostess. We talked about a variety of topics including my dinner last night and her journey to opening this BnB. Although the details are different, the motives are the same as Gwen who owned and ran the BnB in Pont-Aven—a quest for a simpler, slower happy life.

I loaded the bike and rolled out of town under party sunny skies. I took a picture of some sheep which I assume are the ones I could hear from my bedroom window. The trip back to the canal was largely downhill and the rushing air made the cool temperature outside even chiller. My first view of the canal was of an amazing reflection of the morning sky. I entered the canal at a different place than where I left it yesterday afternoon. The path is now paved. Rather than keep you in suspense I will tell you now that it was paved the for the first 100 kilometers and a mix of old pavement and gravel for the last 25 kilometers.

After biking a few kilometers, I meet a man on a tractor and when I turn around to see that he is sweeping the path with the same kind of mechanism you would see for street cleaning. I have seen a variety of canal maintenance activity—mowing, fallen tree and branch removal and later in the day I see a couple men with specially built machines for taking weeds of the canal.

The day is a mixture of sun and clouds—and yes rain and wind. No tempest, but enough intermittent rain to get me periodically wet. The periodic rainy episodes are somewhat brief and I am to dry off pretty quickly. I make sure to take pictures when the sun comes out, but most of the day is cloudy and I am not complaining. While today is let wet than yesterday it is windier which makes the biking a little harder. The wind does make the leaves on the trees rustle, particularly the poplar trees rush, which reminds me of growing up in Michigan and the rustling leaves of the poplar and cottonwood trees that grew not too far from the house. There is a lot here that reminds me of Michigan—the coolness at night and in the morning, the water, some of the plants and trees and in general just the smell of the of farms, hay, cut grass, flowers, weeds, etc. It is just the combined smell of the country and it smells fresh and green. On of the things about riding for hours is that you notice so many things that go unnoticed—sights, smells sounds. Of course, I can do this at home but the business of everyday life seems to drown out those things. These trips always remind me to take time to take notice and enjoy the little things.


Then canal has amazing sights, but it is a working canal. I saw several boats going through the locks and watched as the lock keeper manually cranked the four separate cranks to move each gate. Quite a ways into today ride I came to a section where the canal crossed a high ridge. I had to ride uphill and there were more than two dozen lochs in a row—I actually lost count. They just continued to stair step up in quick succession. After a while I notice the path going downhill and another series of locks which the water flowing in the opposite direction. I hadn’t noticed the source of all the water but now the water was flowing west and not east.

One of the best parts of cycling the canal is something I have noted in other blogs. When I am cycling in Europe I just seem to blend in and go unnoticed. There is nothing special about what I am doing. I passed dozens of French people today cycling for fun, exercise or just to get somewhere. I love that almost every person I meet on the canal smiles and says “Bonjour.” Cycling lets me travel a little more unnoticed.

After going to dinner I wanted to say a little about that experience. There is only one restaurant/bar that was open tonight. I walked in the bar and said I wanted food and they pointed to a door which I opened and it was an empty restaurant. I was the only person there. I sat there for several minutes before a waitress came at which time I asked about the menu as she didn't have anything in her hands. She asked what I wanted to drink and what I wanted to eat. I was a little confused and said that I didn't know what they had (it might have been written somewhere) but later I got the idea that it is a repeating men for each day of the week as Friday is fish and chips with mushy peas. She spoke in French and a few English words so I could make out some of what she was saying. For the entrée it was goat or tabouli. I asked if it was goat cheese and she indication no and said more French words I didn't understand. I chose the tabouli. for the entrée. For the main coarse there was only steack with peas and carots or potatoes. I chose steak with peas and carots. Despite the limited menu the food was fine and will also be a meal I remember.

This featured blog entry was written by guylch75 from the blog Brittany by Bike.
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By guylch75

Posted Thu, Jun 13, 2019 | Comments