Friday 16th & Saturday 17th August 1991
Ferry, Roscoff to Auberge de la truite, Locmaria Berrien
ODO = 41.5
DST = 41.5
AVS = 05.5
TM = 07.25
MXS = 27
The weather was overcast but warm with rain threatening. We started the holiday by having to sleep in the bar of the ferry (unable to book a cabin) - we however were first aboard by one hour so were able to chose the best positions, unfortunately the night was marred by some very rude French people and some inconsiderate English!!!.
We docked in Roscoff at 0500 (English time) yawn!! It was still too dark to safely cycle(especially with all those GB cars about) so we waited half-an-hour for it to get light.
We had a very nice day across rolling countryside, with one or
two big hills, rising up to 250 meters after several hours in
the saddle we decided to bed down in Huelgoat, four Hotels in
town all complet (FULL). At this point we felt rather depressed
having cycled 40 miles, however no choice but to head for next
town 14 miles away. We set off down hill through a very pretty
gorge, full of tourists we did not stop as all we wanted was to
get to a hotel and rest up. After approx. 3 miles arrived at above
Auberge which on the discovery that they had a free room lifted
our sinking hearts!! End of a very long travelling day,
room pleasant in basic French manner, looking forward to a good
The restaurant was delightful. The meal was simple but good we
both started with Pate de maison - very nice(home-made) followed
by young cockerel roasted, we had half each!! Accompanied by haricot
verts - for once cooked correctly and saute potatoes, served in
a delightful butter sauce. This was followed by the cheese - Sally
had two Chris had at least half a dozen different cheeses all
very nice and tasty!! For dessert Sally had Breton gateau like
a rich Madeira cake nice but would have gone down a lot easier
with some Creme Anglais(custard). Chris had mousse du choclat
accompanied by a small sliced strawberry and dollop of cream -
very very nice mmmmmmm!! The above was accompanied by a passable
bottle of Muscadet. All toped off with cafe noir, Calvados for
you know who, and Armangnac pour moi. We then retired to bed tired
Sunday 18th August 1991
Auberge de la truite, Locmaria Berrien to Hotel le Brizeux, Quimperle.
ODO = 89.2
DST = 47.7
AVS = 7.2
TM = 6.30
MXS = 30
Sunny all day and hot!. Slept very well until 5ish when some sort
of horse race went by. Breakfasted at 0800 on road by 0910. Thank
God we did not go any further last night since the first thing
we encounter was a ghastly hill 3 miles long. Still we went up
it like a dream. Sally not moaning (much), Chris's bike developed
a dreadful squeak solved by application of lots of oil to back
wheel. Next 30 miles spent cycling through extremely pleasant
rolling countryside. Hard, Hot, work going over the Mountains
Noires. By-passed Gourin on new road, not much fun to cycle as
lots of fast cars. Arrived in Scaer at 1315 everything shut slightly
fed up!! continued on our way through very pleasant countryside
bit hilly beginning to get tired hills becoming a bind, last one
was a real bugger!!! still last 5-6 miles was gently downhill
to Quimperle. Staying in above hotel only hotel not full or closed!!
(perhaps we should have brought a tent) Poky room last one in
hotel, beggars can't be choosers. Decided to go out for a meal
as hotel is a bit seedy. Found a very nice bar for our end of
day largers, which we force down for medical reasons - to re-hydrate!
Having walked around the town have decided to try a Pizza.
Restaurant Le Rialto - couple of ordinary Pizzas better than English
type. Came with Yum Yum spicy oil - boy was it hot, Chris enjoyed
it. We finished off evening sitting outside bar mentioned above
with Pastis for Chris and larger for Sally.
Monday 19th August 1991
Hotel le Brizeux, Quimperle to Hotel L'Ostria La Trinte-Sur-Le-Mer.
ODO = 126.3
DST = 37.1
AVS = 6.00
TM = 6.15
MXS = 20
Sun all day even hotter than yesterday!! Started day with breakfast, as per normal. Rode out of town up a horrendous hill, after which it was a very pleasant ride along tree lined avenues to Lorient. Caught ferry from Port de Peche to Saint-Louis. The ferry was a wee bit difficult to find Chris had to use his French for directions and we got there with time to spare. Ferry pier was hidden in very smelly old dockyard. Had a very nice trip across harbour to Saint-Louis pleasant old fortified town at estuary mouth where we stopped and had crepes for lunch. Long hot ride in afternoon to Carnac which is full of old stones so much for culture, flatish countryside leaving English type green landscape behind and entering more southerly brownish with lots of pines. Started day feeling really lousy as day wore on, felt better slightly saddle sore hope this will not become a problem!
Arrived in La Trinte and once again had problems finding accommodation
(starting to think seriously about buying a tent) - no room at
the Inn, eventually found Hotel L'Ostrea 320ff per night O-la-la
still beggars can't be choosers are we beginning to abuse this
phrase. Go for a promenade looking for somewhere to eat as Hotel
The Hotel Commerce, after initial confusion - due to Chris (lies)!!
Sally had the 88ff menu whilst Chris had the 110ff menu (typical)
Sally started with Salmon pate - very nice Chris had a small bowl
of moules marinere (only 40/50 of them!!) followed by a fish course
(which Sally did not have as she was on the cheaper menu) Chris
with his normal generosity shared his fish with twisted old Sally.
For the next course Sally had Faux-Fillet grille (sirloin steak)
Chris had a large leg of duck accompanied by haricot vert and
pommes frittes, all washed down with vin de maison a nice blanc
de blanc. Finished meal with Sally having a citron sorbet and
Chris tucking into the fromage. Went for a promenade digestif,
coffee and then to bed
Tuesday 20th August 1991
La Trinte-Sur-Le-Mer to Hotel Les Gents d'Or Muzillac.
ODO = 161.8
DST = 35.22
AVS = 3.8
TM = 7.0
MXS = 24
Left La Trinte after breakfast at 0915 climbed up to bridge over estuary - not too bad! Over rolling countryside to Locmariaquer, eventually found ferry - large motorised rowing boat! The bikes were secured across the prow of the boat (using the word secure loosely which is how the bikes were secured!!!). We then crossed the Golfe du Morbihan to Port Navalo the boat rocked quite a bit and we both thought the cycling bit of the holiday would end in the briny. Port Navalo was full of tourists so we peddled off as fast as we could towards Sarzeau, all up-hill and hot. Sarzeau was also full of tourists we had an indifferent pizza - very little choice and next town too far away! Roads on this peninsular were very busy and remained so until we turned off onto D20 country side changed back to English-in-time-of-drought-type countryside, good cycling weather warm with breeze, pleasant to get a good long ride in after start-and-stops of beginning of the day. AMBON, Chris wants this in capital letters as this is the first time after numerous attempts over a number of years that he has finally managed to order and get a lemon squash in France. Shortly afterwards arrived in Muzillac had another squash just to confirm it was not a fluke. Looked for hotel outside town in pretty village of Billiers BUT, yes, you have guessed it that hotel was full, so back to Muziallac and as per norm got the last room!! Had our normal couple of beers.
Sally and I both now agree that when and if we do this again we
will bring a tent for the following reasons 1) we will not get
caught out by full hotels. 2) we will not have to plan to stop
and find a hotel, we will be able to stop when we won't to. 3)
will save money - we will not be forced into expensive hotels
4) and finally all the campsite's seem to have a pool the hotels
Sally had langoustine with mayonnaise - no it was fresh hollandaise's
sauce! Chris had Oyster pate which was OK. Sally then had Duck,
Chris had Guinea Fowl accompanied by pommes frites and a limp
green salad. We then had fromage which was so-so, to finish we
had a truly dreadful chocolate mousse (it had seen better days!).
All-in-all a very mediocre meal.
Wednesday 21st August 1991
Muzillac to Hotel Relais du Pont St. Brevin les Pins
ODO = 201.1
DST = 40.22
AVS = 6.1
TM = 6.27
MXS = 29
Left Muzillac and cycled up a horrendous hill 7 miles long!! (Sally
not at all happy) to Azal. Then we had a very pleasant ride across
undulating countryside to Herbignac, getting warmer as we go.
From Herbignac we headed for St. Nazair across marshes absolutely
horrible cycling very hot with strong head wind which felt like
we were cycling into a giant hairdryer. To-day we had our first
puncture Chris mended it in 20 mins. At St. Nazaire we had problems
finding the bridge across the Loire, took unwanted 5 mile detour
eventually found bridge and what a BRIDGE, it had a hell of a
hump and was the steepest we had ever seen. When we reached the
summit of the bloody bridge we hit wind again and had to pedal
down hill!! by now we both on our chin-straps. Headed for nearest
hotel which of course was full. Went round corner found above
hotel looked a real dive but room was really good.
Walked 1.5 miles into town. This resort is obviously for the "lower
deck" French still very interesting sitting outside the cafes
having our largers watching the French on their Hols. Had a small
rain shower. Found restaurant Les Buluga Prior to our meal we
were both given a cooked Oyster gratinee Chris then had Moules
Marinere, Sally had Pate du Maison, for the main course Sally
had a Saumon steak with parsley type sauce and taglittelle, Chris
had a steak with some pulse sauce and taglittelle/pommes frites
we both had little bits of potatoes mashed and puree vegetables.
To finish Sally had chocolate ice-cream and Chris fromage then
coffee and digestif we then walked 1.5 miles back to our hotel
Thursday 22nd August 1991
St. Brevin les Pins to Hotel du Marche, Beauvoir-Sur-Mer.
ODO = 237.3
DST = 35.21
AVS = 5.8
TM = 5.56
MXS = 15
Said goodbye to that horrible bridge at St Nazaire, rode through
St Brevin to major road, weather threatening overcast, had one
small shower in town. Took main road to Pornic very windy which
made ride very unpleasant traffic very heavy. Turned off into
Pornic swapped inner tube on Chris's bike then rode along coast
road much quieter to La Berherie-Sur-Retz. Stopped for Sausage
and chips for Chris, Omelette and chips for Sally, then the rain
started and boy did it RAIN!!!! Eventually eased off rode short
distance to Bourgneuf-Sur-Retz, had a discussion on where to stay
tonight weather seemed to be brightening up so rang ahead to Beauvoir
to make a reservation. So off we set to Beauvoir 10 miles away
across the Mara de Machecoul(a bloody big marsh) heavy rain started
up again strong wind drove rain horizontally into us extremely
unpleasant gert big rats around here one squashed on road every
five feet or so!!! Arrived at hotel and dried out
Chris started with Moules de Maison (moules cooked in very nice
butter sauce) Sally had Jambon Vandee (local Ham) - very nice
and tasty, this was followed by murle in a buerre sauce for Chris,
Sally had Hake cooked in butter with almond sauce accompanied
by steamed potatoes. To end Sally had deux boules of chocolate
glace and Chris had fromage we both had coffee then off to bed.
Friday 23rd August 1991
Beauvoir-Sur-Mer to Hotel du Golfe, Bourgeny.
ODO = 293
DST = 55.7
AVS = 7.0
TM = 7.0
MXS = 18
Started off across Marshes once more, dead flat roads wind still
against us, as always. Getting fed up with the marshes so headed
for Seaside, had a very pleasant ride along the coast stopped
for lunch a little seaside port where we had a pizza. Good cycling
weather had a really good ride decided to crack on past Les Sables-des-Olonne,
to get a head start tomorrow on our way to La Rochelle for a rest
day. Once again had problems finding a room eventually found Hotel
du Golfe - bit posh. Sally and Chris fell OUT here! Sally had
lost Chris's scholls - we had words. Went into village for meal(hotel
far to expensive) after tour round attached holiday complex very
illuminating. We rode the bikes unencumbered with our luggage
- WOW, what a difference we really zipped along.
Chris started with soup de poisson a huge bowl Sally had assiette
de crudities, for the second course Chris had Moules marinere,
Sally had Pate, the main course followed with Chris having thick
slice of ham grilled with haricot beans Sally had Steak and chips
both Chris and Sally finished with ice-cream. A very nice meal
- Chris enjoyed it more than Sally!!!
Saturday 24th August 1991
Bourgeny to Hotel St. Jean D'Arc La Rochelle.
ODO = 347.1
DST = 54.02
AVS = 6.4
TM = 8.25
MXS = 22
Cycled back up to main road, weather overcast in the morning,
long straight and hilly. Road is very busy - decided to strike
out across country which is much more pleasant getting hotter
as day wears on we get to marshes again by midday road now dead
straight and very flat getting very hot and uncomfortable with
wind against us! Eventually turn south for last lag into La Rochelle
wind now behind us we both feel better. As we leave the marshes
for the last 10 miles into La Rochelle the temperature goes through
the roof, both of us now on our chin-straps each hill now a trial
by torture. Road signs give us wrong distance to go - very despondent.
Find a sign (eventually) with correct distance on - still this
seems one heck of a long 10 miles - where is La Rochelle? we ask
ourselves ? eventually top a hill and "thar she blows"
we are both really pleased, coast down through suburbs to the
centre first three hotels full par for the course, find Jean D'Arc
overlooking harbour entrance, nice room. Have a cool larger and
go out for wander round town which is heaving with people
Had a good look around Sally chose a very nice restaurant, as
soon as we sat down it began to fill up, Chris started with soup
de poisson with cheese croutons and hot paprika? sauce very good
indeed, Sally had a crab salad, we both had Kir aperitif, for
the main course Chris had crayfish casserole with rice and potato,
Sally had cod in (parsley) sorrel sauce!! Chris then had fromage
we both finished with ice-cream, went back to Hotel and raided
fridge! Drank 1/2 bottle champagne/brandy/whisky (later two were
miniatures!!) then to bed!!
N.B. Sally replaced Chris's scholls - brought him a new pair of
sandals from a quaint old fashioned shoe shop
Sunday 24th August 1991
Miles Travelled no mileage rest day
ODO = 293
DST = 55.7
AVS = 7.0
TM = 7.0
MXS = 18
Woke up felling a bit shaky!! REST day to-day hooray! We have
cycled 109 miles in two days to get to La Rochelle, so feel we
deserve a rest. Spent a very pleasant day, walking, eating, strolling,
and just watching the rest of the world go by. Had a pizza for
lunch which helped us feel better then we took a siesta, woke
up and went for a cool larger. Booked ferry for tomorrow's trip
to Ile D'Orleon anything to avoid trip across marshes
Kir aperitif for two then soup de poisson for Chris - will he
grow gills?? Sally had Assiettes de Crudities - OK but not brill.
For the main course we both had steak, Chris had a green pepper,
sauce Sally was plain, meal so-so have had better, then ice-cream
and off to bed early start tomorrow.
Monday 26th August 1991
La Rochelle to Auberge Normande, Ronce-Les-Baines
ODO = 386.01
DST = 21
AVS = 5.4
TM = 3.51
MXS = 23
Up early to catch ferry, so that we have an easy days cycling.
Catch ferry to Ile D'Oreleon via Ile de rai and Ile de Aix where
we had to swap to a different boat, had a 2 hour wait so, cycled
around Island and had lunch after which caught ferry across to
Ile D'Oreleon, getting very hot, difficult landing, very narrow
jetty crammed with people none of whom would get out of the way,
so we pushed our way through, we then found ourselves on a beach
with no road in sight, extremely HARD, HOT, work pushing laden
bikes through soft sand. Came eventually to road and cycled down
to bridge easy bridge not too high just very hot! Around coast
flat countryside to next bridge - a bit more of a hill Sally not
too happy and winging about everything. Arrive in Ronce-Les-Baines,
first hotel full, surprise, surprise, found little Auberge which
had a room. Then we had our end of day largers, the thermometer
in bar was reading 90F and this is 1730 when its starting to cool!!!
We had the 68ff menu Chris started with plate of mixed sausage
meats Sally had 1/2 dozen large prawns, to follow Chris had Moules
marinere!! Sally had Ham of the mountains all very nice. For the
main course we both had roast chicken in a cheese sauce - very,
very good we then had cheese or what was left of the cheese after
the Germans had got their hands on it, we finished meal off with
ice-cream all washed down with a very nice rose - nicest meal
Worth a return visit for the meal therefore gets one Carr *
Tuesday 27th August 1991
Ronce-Les-Baines to Hotel L'Arberet Vendays-Montalivet
ODO = 409.9
DST = 41.79
AVS = 6.1
TM = 6.43
MXS = 29
Early start made from Ronce pleasant ride through forest with
a couple of nasty hills just what Sally loves first thing a nice
hill to warm you up, her and her big mouth, still a good ride
- took a detour, trying to be clever, at La Palmyre riding along
beach all very nice, when suddenly we arrive in an army camp!
Get back on road then soon after, find cycle track we were looking
for which takes us through the coastal forest to Royan, ride through
town and straight onto ferry not bad going, 1/2 hour crossing
Gironde. Stopped for lunch soon after, getting very warm took
cycle track from here along old German railway to Sonlac-Sur-Mer
(from start of day to here we have been passing old German block
houses and fortifications all part of the much vaunted Atlantic
wall all very interesting - all now returning to nature) we had
a nice sea breeze very good cycling from Sonlac the last few miles
were through wooded countryside dead straight roads and getting
very hot. Arrived in Vedays at 1530ish attractive hotel so decided
to stop for the night.
Aperitif to start, Chris had Pastis, Sally a Kir both of us started
with soup de poisson (a first for Sally) Sally thought it was
OK but did not taste very fishy accompanied with large crouton
soaked in garlic oil. Second course Chris had Moules marinere
yet again!! Sally had Assiette d'hors deuvers(very nice). Third
course Chris had Oysters(x3) gratinee cooked in their own juice
with garlic and onion, Sally had pate an enormous amount!! Fourth
course Chris had gigot de muton with pommes frittes, Sally had
Coq au rouge with pommes frittes and a green salad all excellent.
Fifth course both Chris and Sally had a lovely creme caramel which
ended the meal perfectly. All above washed down by a bottle and
a half of Cote de Provence (a very nice rose) for digestif Chris
had Calvados, Sally an Armangnac and coffee for two. The meal
was the fixed price menu for 78ff.
This place gets two Carr **, well worth a return visit
Wednesday 28th August 1991
Vendays-Montalivet to Hotel de la Plage, Lanton
ODO = 461.7
DST = 57.85
AVS = 7
TM = 7.14
MXS = 13
No hills to-day!! Started the day early after a very nice breakfast,
could not finish all the bread or coffee, jam not so hot but then
you cannot have everything!! On the road by 0845, very pleasant
30 miles across flat, but interesting wooded country (better than
the blasted marshes!!) to Lacanau where we had lunch a very nice
pizza, starting to warm up so girded up our loins for the last
15 miles or so across similar terrain, except less trees ergo
less shade, now getting really hot. Arrived in Arres nothing there,
everything seemed to be shut cycled on to Andernos-les-Bains same
story - is it early closing. Unable to find a Hotel, 15 miles
stretched to 27 miles!! passed a Pharmacy at 1544 hrs which was
flashing 39c (102f) thats in the shade - damn hot. Turned off
to Taussat which also appeared to be shut. Cycled on and found
a pleasant Logis, nice room cool and airy looking forward to the
bar opening and our meal
Sally started with salad Nautilus - basically lots of different
sea-food mixed with rice, served up like a prawn cocktail, Chris
had seafood gratin, to follow we both had salmon in a brown butter
sauce with rice and chips finished off with fromage for Chris
and profiteroles stuffed with coffee ice-cream topped with cream
and almonds for Sally, OK but all a bit ordinary. After dinner
we went for a walk.
Thursday 29th August 1991
Lanton to Hotel L'Atlantic/Taris, Mimizan
ODO = 511
DST = 48.07
AVS = 5?
TM = 9.30
MXS = 19
Had breakfast on the terrace nice and sunny, not too hot. By the time we leave (0945) after loading the bikes it became overcast still keeps it cool for cycling, arrived in Bianos, stopped to go to the Bank starting to rain we had done about 10 miles, it got quite heavy in places but not enough to put on our capes. Eventually got clear of clouds, Sun came out and it became very warm and sticky (high humidity to stay with us for the rest of the trip making nights especially unpleasant) countryside very pleasant flatish and wooded very enjoyable cycling!! The going improved getting hot and sunny with a breeze. Arrived in Mimizan much smaller than we had expected. NOTE in to-days travels we saw many English cars all Volvos is there a convention of Volvo owners in the area? most peculiar.
To-night we are staying demi-pension a first for us, also the
Hotel has a pool - ahhhh what bliss!!!.
Started off with sea-food gratin nice but small helpings, this was followed by roast chicken in a cheese sauce with stir fried vegetables very nice, we finished off with fromage (extremely small portions)
the meal tasted OK just minuscule helpings spoiled it. This is
the first time we have left the table still feeling hungry - this
hotel is all show and no substance very superficial - this hotel
qualifies for no star, only the booby prize. We then went into
town to get a decent dessert. We should have eaten out, we will
not go demi-pension again!!!!
Day thirteen as far as Mimizan is concerned came true, a place we will avoid in the future!!!.
Friday 30th August 1991
Mimizan to Hotel Le Biarritz, Biarritz
Miles Travelled to-day the cycle computer broke - Damn.
ODO = 575
DST = 65 approx.
Overnight Chris was eaten alive by mosquitoes- hardly touched
Sally, we awoke at 0600 to sound of thunder (oh no) got up for
an early breakfast 0720 and early start. Glad to shake the dust
of Mimizan off our heels, NOT a place we would voluntary go back
too! One mile outside the town and the heavens open so on go the
capes, rain for the next ten miles countryside very pleasant green
with moderate hills, nice ride, weather improving getting more
hilly as we approach the Pyres, part of the ride is along a very
pleasant cycleway avoiding the worst hills, we turned off the
main road into Cape Breton where we have the nicest pizza of the
trip. After meal we decide to head for Bayonne - slowish going
(we both have that sluggish after meal feeling) as we approach
Bayonne traffic becomes worse as it all funnels into one narrow
stretch of land. One or two very nasty hills just prior to Bayonne.
DISASTER in centre of Bayonne Cycle computer broke at 60 miles
on clock, unable to fix. We cycle on another 5 miles at least
into Biarritz, £5 a foot step and town is very cramped, cycle
on through to the southerly outskirts where we find our hotel
(an expensive one) went for a walk and find a traditional French
hotel about 1/2 mile down road where we decide we will have our
evening meal - our hotel is too expensive. To-night will be our
last night in France, France is a comfortable known quantity,
Spain is somehow different, unknown and slightly threatening,
still all will be revealed on the morrow.
We ate at the Hotel Milady overlooking the beach. Sally ate from
the 95f menu du jour, Chris ate a la carte Sally commenced with
a very nice asparagus tart (quiche), Chris had soup du poisson
both very nice, for the main course Chris had fillet steak with
Roquefort sauce pommes frittes and mixed vegetable, Sally had
Salmon en papiotte with sliced boiled potatoes and a ramekin of
minced spinach - all excellent all washed down with a bottle and
a half of local (Basque) rose, Chris then had fromage, for sweet
Sally had an apple tart with armangnac Chris had ice-cream three
boulles vanilla, cassis and lemon sorbet, we finished the meal
off with coffee (expresso) and very generous dollops of Armangnac
for both of us.
Above restaurant well worth a return visit, therefore is awarded
three Carr ***
Saturday 31st 1991
Biarritz to Hotel Zarauz, Zarauz Spain.
ODO = 619.5
DST = 49.5
AVS = 8
TM = ?
MXS = 26
Left Biarritz weather overcast, pleasant riding conditions, heading for Spanish border. Hills and more hills Dr Kahane you were wrong it is NOT flat to the Spanish border!!! The final hill in France was long and hard 400 feet straight up (we arrived in France two weeks ago to be met by misty overcast weather, we crossed into Spain with the same weather).
What a difference a border makes, lovely houses on French side,
Spanish side looks and smells like a slum - obviously the servants
quarter for Biarritz. Initial impressions of Spain - its dirty,
smelly and poor. We take the road to San Sebastian, going up one
of the several mountains between the border and San Sebastian
the heavens open - phew what a storm God certainly turned on the
tap and just when we thought it could not get any worse he turned
on the other tape plus the shower, we got soaked. In between the
worst cloud bursts Chris fitted the new cycle computer he purchased
in France. Weather improved after an hour, so off we jolly well
went, lots of Spanish cyclists about did not think they went in
for it, you live and learn. We arrived in San Sebastian, very
swish town, so all of northern Spain is not polluted and ugly.
We left San Sebastian behind and once again headed into the mountains,
all the pleasant towns are on the coast with the connecting road
going inland over the hills. Passed many Spanish company towns
squeezed into the valleys pushing out horrible things into the
air and rivers, in between the otherwise very beautiful Alpine
type countryside. The last hill of the day was the worst a 9%
gradient, Sally totally dis-chuffed, Chris encouraging and very,
very supportive!! Arrived in Zarauz, found the one hotel, booked
in and headed for bar for our end of day largers.
Chris had chicken, chicken and even more chicken!! To start we
both had clear chicken soup, Chris then had thicker chicken soup
with vermicelli, Sally had assorted vegetables - mixed veg and
boiled potatoes. The bread rolls were rock hard. The main course
followed, which was chicken with chips and a pepper stuffed with
mixed veg and mayonnaise. Asked if we would like wine, we of course
replied in the affirmative, and expected wine list to appear,
Oh no it did not we just got a bottle of Rioja plonked on the
table. We ended the meal with cheese, a soapy old bit of mouse
trap, this was quite the worse meal of the whole trip - not an
auspicious start to our Spanish part of the holiday.
Sunday 1st September 1991
Zarauz Hostel Zabalburu, Bilbao.
ODO = 683
DST = 63.2
AVS = 8
TM = 7.10
MXS = 27
We Left Zarauz, having made an early start followed coast for
a few miles, very nice easy cycling, to Zumaia then, inland and
uphill to Pictre 225 metres and hard climb. Down hill to Deba,
through pleasant Alpine type countryside and awful Spanish towns
then, another long, long slog up to 325 metres the highest point
of the trip and a real bugger of a ride!!!! Then it was a gentle
descent into Bilbao, through mountain meadows and every so often,
those horrible industrial towns, eventually arrived in Bilbao,
both exhausted, after walking round centre for an hour, found
above hostel, really good room very palatial.
Having wondered around for another hour found an authentic Spanish
bar/restaurant. Ate a la carte advised by the waiter (don't take
advice from Spanish waiters their tastes are very different from
ours!!) on his recommendation we had asparagus salad followed
by Fish fritters washed down by a passable bottle of Rose, for
sweet we had ice-cream. Meal cost £15 reasonable. Though
Chris would have preferred what everyone else had, not, what the
Tuesday 3rd September 1991
Laredo to Hostel Paris, Santander.
ODO = 753
DST = 34
AVS = 10
TM = 3.2
MXS = 47
Left Laredo weather overcast and chilly - went down a very nice
hill good start to the day. First few miles easy going nice warming
up period . After this it started to get hilly and warmer. Countryside
very pretty, towns not as bad as they have been rivers still very
smelly!! Traffic heavy and unpleasant all belting out oodles of
fumes. After a days good ride arrived in Santander - END OF THE
ROAD!! Santander did not look at all like its pictures in the
Brittany ferries brochures, we cycled around until we found the
place in the brochure - the nice part of town, found the Hostel
which is a big rambling old place set in a sunny tree filled square
all very Spanish, went and had a dreadful pizza then off to ice-cream
parlour for pud.
After looking around found a nice bar/restaurant. Chris started
with Spanish ham Sally with assorted meats - we shared them between
us, for the main course Chris had an extremely nice piece of roast
lamb, Sally had tenderloin of beef also nice. The meal was washed
down by an extremely nice bottle of white Rioja, finished off
Wednesday 4th September 1991
ODO = 753
DST = 0
AVS = 0
TM = 0
MXS = 0
No cycling to-day!! Spent an extremely pleasant day doing absolutely
nothing at all! Caught a bus into town wandered around the centre
window shopping, brought nothing - just looked. Took a boat trip
round the harbour then walked back to the Hostel by a circuitous
route and then had a siesta.
We returned to the same place as last night Chris had the assorted
cold meats, Sally had Garlic prawns - both very nice. Sally then
had the roast lamb, Chris had a steak the meal was accompanied
by a Rose Rioja, not very nice at all!. We then spent a couple
of hours sat outside a cafe chatting, watching the world pass
by, drinking coffee and enormous brandies a thoroughly lazy self
indulgent day - we then staggered happily off to our bed.
Thursday 5th September 1991
Santander to Ferry port to SS Bretange.
ODO = 763
DST = 10
AVS = 8
TM = 1.0
MXS = 26
Got up, cycled round the harbour to ferry port, watched all the
vehicles come off the ferry, took ages! After a couple of hours
we embarked. Bikes put into a special room all securely tied down.
Wandered around boat being generally nosey. Then found cabin very
nice with T.V. fridge with complementary drinks all very luxurious.
As soon as we had cleared port went and purchased our duty free,
we bought some champagne for later in the evening - to celebrate
the end of our holiday. Then we had a siesta.
Went to the restaurant and ate a' la carte Chris started with Foie de Gras, Sally had Salmon Charlotte very nice but a little too rich, we both wished that we had swapped - to late as all finished! The main course was Tornados for Chris and Turbot for Sally - both very nice, finished with Sally having tarte tartin warm apple tart with warm cream, Chris has coffee souffle ice-cream yum-yum. The meal was accompanied by a very nice Pouilly-Fume.
Retired to cabin after walk around the deck cracked open the poo
and watched video Red October, finished with a nightcap, a couple
of whiskeys, then Sleep.
Friday 6th September 1991
Had breakfast in the cabin, sea a little choppier Bay of Biscay
was like a mill pond. Now just the waiting for the Holiday to
end - BIG SIGH.
Final thoughts, on reflection a super holiday from which we both got a real sense of achievement. If someone had said two years ago that we would spend a holiday cycling the length of France I would have said they were crazy, still, we have done it and it will be a trip we will not forget. Where to next year??