Day 6 – Oberlängenfeld to Malcesine – 306 km

OK – it is official: I am out of superlatives. This trip is giving us day after day of fantastic scenery, food, roads and experiences. I have tried to describe these as we have gone along, but I think that I am at the end of being able to convey just how fantastic the experience is.

We had a wonderful time at the Aquadome, and were heading for the Italian lakes today. I had planned a ride up the Timmelsjoch pass, and down the Passo del Rombo into Italy. It is a tough ride, narrow and with many hairpins. I was worried about the Harley – with two of us riding, it is not the most nimble of rides, and it doesn’t turn very easily. I had done my research and was willing to tackle the high pass – both for the ride experience and the views – but the weather forecast was pretty shitty, and so I let discretion get the better part of valour for me, and we chose an alternative, easier route today.

We rode back down the Otztal valley to join the Inn valley, and then turned east once more and headed to Innsbruck. There, we headed south onto the Brenner pass, and followed this over the Alps and into Italy. It is a wide motorway, and carried a lot of traffic – it is one of the major alpine passes in use today. The scenery was still superb, and the Dolomites in view are spectacular.

The descent from the pass lasted about 60 kms, I think my brakes were pretty hot by then. We stopped for some fuel, and turned off the main road towards the northern part of Lake Garda about 30 km from our destination. We wound our way through some small towns, and then came to Riva del Garda – the northernmost point of the lake. Gouged by a glacier during the last ice age, it sits 65m above sea level. It is ringed by tall mountains, many over 2000m in height.

It was about now that I ran out of superlatives. checking in to our hotel, our room overlooks the lake. The hotel sits on the shore, and has a small beach for residents.

We had a quick and very good lunch, then donned our swimsuits and went for a paddle in the cool, clear blue water of the lake. We swam, sunbathed, napped and repeated the cycle for a couple of hours, and then walked into Malcesine, about 7 km from the hotel. It was pretty hot (32 degrees C), but not too humid, so the walk was bearable.

The views on the walk continued to take our breath away. We eventually reached the little town of Malcesine, dominated by the 13th century Castello Scaligero.

Using TripAdvisor, we found great little restaurant in the old town, and enjoyed a meal of local foods and wine, and a Tiramisu to die for. Tomorrow is a non-riding day, and we aim to come back and explore the old town further.

Buona Notte


Day 7 – Malcesine – 0 km

Another day without travel. We are taking 2 days on each of lakes Garda, Como and Maggiore, so that we can relax and enjoy the surroundings, water and local hospitality. However, it wasn’t quite a 0 km day – we rode in to Malcesine this evening for dinner, so in truth it was a 13km day.

After breakfast, we got the tourist bus into Malcesine. A couple of errands in town, and then we walked up to the cable-car station to take the cableway up Monte Baldo. A 2-part journey, you change cars part way up, at San Michele. The top station is 1760m above sea level (Lake Garda is 65m above sea level), and the views are, once again, special.

Cable car ascending Monte Baldo from Malcesine

The day was a bit hazy, but the visibility was OK, and we walked along the ridge line at the top of the mountain. In one field there were a bunch of paragliders preparing to take off, so we sat down to watch them.

Paragliders preparing on Monte Baldo

The gliders were waiting for the right wind conditions, and we sat for about half an hour without any activity, when suddenly a few of them took of in rapid succession. It was great to watch them leaving the ground and very quickly flying under their own guidance and power.

Lena watching a paraglider on Monte Baldo

We roamed around the peak for a bit more, taking in the various views in all directions. Garda is huge – it is almost 52km in length – and surrounded by mountains on all sides. We could see the northernmost tip, but could not see all the way down to the south of the lake.

After roaming for a while, we got the cable car back down to town, and returned to the scene of the previous evenings meal to have our lunch. I had a local dish – cold cuts and cheese with a local bread, and fried gnocci that had been flattened. Delicious. Lena had aubergine with parmesan and tomato ragu, plus some pork escalopes.

After eating we explored the town once more, finding a number of areas we had not seen before. It is hard for Lena to be in a place like this, with so many shops and so much tat to purchase, and not have space on the bike to carry any new stuff.

Bus back to the hotel, a swim in the clear blue water, and then some pre-dinner snoozing and bloggery. We couldn’t (well, we could, but felt we should push our boundaries a bit) go back to the same brilliant restaurant 3 melas in a row, so we went for number 2 on the TripAdvisor list this evening, and we were very glad we did. A family run restaurant, Al Gondoliere has been open for 28 years. The proprietor was a great host, his wife runs the kitchen, and his daughter works looking after tables. The food was very good, and the attention was lovely. We are about to start packing our stuff that has spread out across the room over the past 2 days, so that we can get a clean start in the morning. We are only going 200km tomorrow, but we are taking the scenic route so I think it will be about 5 hours of riding. See you at Lake Como.

Nighty night.

Day 8 – Malcesine to Abbadia Lariana – 233 km

We have completed 1912 km on this trip so far, and have loved every kilometre of it. Well, I say that, but actually, today we didn’t love a couple of the kilometres that we travelled – let me enlighten you. But first, let’s get back to where we were.

We were up by 7 once once more, in our room overlooking Lake Garda. We were mostly packed up, so Lena went for a swim while I pottered about with our kit. Breakfast was at 8, and by then we had the bike loaded, and were ready to roll as soon as we had eaten. We did so from the hotel terrace, enjoying the special view a final time. We were rolling by 0830.

Our route took us back north along the shoreline of Garda, and we hugged the coast as we rounded Riva del Garda at the northern apex, and headed south down the western shore. Views were great, but Saturday traffic was not, and a number of the towns we went through were jammed.

Eventually we turned of the coast road. I had planned a route between Garda and Como that would be pretty and challenging, so we headed up into the mountains that sit between the two. The going was good, but after about 10km we went through a set of hairpins that were pretty difficult on my barge of a bike, and Jellybean got quite distressed by the experience. We stopped, and she downed a beer to steady her nerves while I replanned.

There was no way down from the mountains without some hairpin-ing, but we chose a route offering the fewest tight turns, and picked our way down into Brescia. An industrial town that seemed to be past its finest, we wound our way through it and joined the motorway to Milan. A boring 150km or so on the motorway on a very hot day was not much fun, but it got us towards Lago di Como without the need to traverse any more hairpin bends.

Our second stressful kilometre of the day came at a toll station on the motorway, somewhere near Milan. There was a lot of traffic, and while Italians are known for many positive attributes, efficiency is not one of them. The toll booth operators were very slow indeed.

Now my bike is many wonderful things. However, we have already discovered it is less nimble than most, which is why we were on the motorway in the first place. It also has a 1690cc engine, a few short inches from my legs, and on a day when temperatures were 35 degrees centigrade, and we were stopped for a long time, moving forward one car-length at a time for 20 minutes, that engine threw out a lot of heat, slowly roasting my legs.

A custom bike we met near Milan

I thought that I was just about ready to be able to add some peppercorn sauce to my calf and have a decent meal when we reached the toll operator, handed over our Euro’s, and could put my feet back up on the running boards and ride, delivering much appreciated cool air to my legs and engine.

We reached our destination, Abbadia Lariana, around 1300 ish. A small town on the eastern arm of the upturned Y that is Lake Como, our hotel once more offers us lovely views of the lake. We had to wait for our room to be ready, so downed a quick beer and went for a pizza (finally) at a restaurant next door.

Fed and cooled, I had my obligatory afternoon nap, after which we went for a swim in the lake. So far, we have done pretty well with our hotels, even the budget ones in France, and this is no exception. However, I probably wouldn’t choose Abbadia again if I were visiting Como. The beach was not that clean, and neither was the water we swam in. Cool and refreshing it may have been, but swimming past cigarette butts and other unidentified detritus is not my idea of relaxing waters.

Still, we enjoyed our swim, and cooled off on the grass lawns by the water. Back upstairs to our room for a shower, then a walk along the shoreline to explore the little town, and finally through a warren of small and ancient streets to find another diamond of a restaurant. Hidden in what seemed to be the back verandah of someones house in the maze of cobbled streets, our host runs a fine establishment, with great wine and excellent food. The homemade sausage was fab, and our meals were really good, as was the attention we got from the landlord and his staff. So good, in fact, that we have already booked for tomorrow evenings meal.

Lena is already asleep while I finish of my blog. The internet service is pretty slow here, so my 5 photos are still uploading – I will add them tomorrow. Until then, dear readers……..


Day 9 – Lake Como local – 0 km

This was definitely a zero kilometre day, though we a lot of travelling today. Quick and shabby breakfast in the hotel, and then we walked to the pier to await the 0928 ferry to Bellagio. The ride took an hour, and called in at various stops along the way.

ON the ferry from Bellagio to Como
Views on lake Como

Bellagio is at the centre of the inverted Y of Como, and is pretty fabulous, if not a touch over priced and over self-important. Still, it is a joy to explore, and we did for a couple of hours. After a pleasant lunch, we hopped onto the slow boat to Como, and spent a couple of hours trekking south down the western arm of the Y, stopping at little towns along the way, until we arrived at Como.

Lena in a Bellagio alley
Como approaching from the lake
Como Cathedral

The lake is pretty populated, and there are houses, villas, hotels and palaces pretty much all along the way, on both side, from Bellagio to Como. {Insert impressive celebrity name here} owns a place on Como, and I can see why. The town after which the lake is named is quite large, and we walked around, visiting the Cathedral (which is fronted by statues of Pliny the Elder and Younger), and various other sights. A nice ice-cream later, the obligatory pair of earings obtained, and we were back on the fast ferry (45 minutes this time) back to Bellagio.

A couple of pints of beer, than the last ferry of the day from Bellagio back to Abbadia Lariana. Quick refresh, and then we went to Il Vicolo, where we had enjoyed such a lovely meal the night before, to return to the scene of the crime. Tonights meal was just as enjoyable. Tomorrow we visit lake Lugano, on the way to our final Italian lake of this trip, Lake Maggiore. See you there.

Day 10 – Abbadia Lariana to Baveno – 217 km

Lake-hopping today. Or, the title of todays post could be Italy/Switzerland/Italy/Switzerland/Italy/Switzerland/Italy/Switzerland/Italy.

Breakfast outside this morning was accompanied by the staff fussing around us, as they said rain was coming, and suggested we eat inside. We held off, but as we finished, the heavens opened up, and a deluge the likes of which have not been seen since Noah hit Lake Como.

Our bike was under covered parking directly accessible from the hotel, so we packed up, and retired to the room with iPads and laptops to wait out the storm. An hour later, and it was still raining, lightening and thundering, so we gave up waiting and headed out. Aiming south again, we re-traced our steps to the south of the lake, and then turned west.

After half an hour, we took the Lake Como motorway, and headed towards Como, but followed the road up to Chiasso, where we crossed into Switzerland. North and a bit west-ish, and we hit lake Lugano, which we crossed by bridge. We rode along the shore for a while between Paradiso and Lugano, and meandered cross-country until we got to Lake Maggiore. We crossed between Switzerland and Italy about 4 times during this bit of the day, and lost track of which country we were in.

We intersected with the east shore of Maggiore at Luino, and then hugged the shoreline heading north. A nice lunch at San Nazzaro, and then rounded the north pole of Maggiore and trekked south along the shore to Baveno, where our lovely hotel is situated. Another immensely pretty lake, every bend and turn offered new and stunning views. And again, we have got amazing views from our room balcony, and entry from the hotel garden directly to swim in the lake.We are looking onto 2 islands in the lake, Isola Superiore, and Isola Bella. They are indeed beautiful, and superior.

We got here late-ish for our “usual” – about 4pm. We had a lazy afternoon swimming, sunbathing and beering. Now it is time to consider an evening meal somewhere in the magical land of lakes and peaks. Laters….

Lena on our balcony overlooking Lake Maggiore
View from our room, Baveno, Lake Maggiore
View from our room, Baveno, Lake Maggiore
Crossing Lake Lugano
Maggiore view

Day 11 – Lake Maggiore local – 0 km

Another bike-less day on our biking holiday. Last day at the (Italian) lakes today, and it was a glorious one. The sun shone, the skies were blue, the birdies sang and the cotton was high. We had a lazy morning, skipping breakfast to chill, swim and browse the webs. Late morning we got dressed, and walked into Baveno, about 1.3 km away.

Baveno as viewed from our hotel

Baveno is actually further from our hotel than our destination for today. Isola Superiore o dei Pescatori lies 713 metres from our balcony (according to google maps, and google does know a thing or two), in the middle of Lake Maggiore. So, in order to get there, we could swim (nope) or get the boat, which goes from Baveno – hence the trek.

It took us 20 minutes to walk to Baveno, and then 5 minutes to ride the ferry to the island. With a population of 57, it is the only Borromean island that is populated all year round. Trip advisor shows 17 restaurants on the island, which is only 375 metres long. Along with a few hotels and a lot of tourist stalls, we saw a church and not much else.

Isola Superiore o dei Piscatore – view from our hotel
Our hotel (the orange/ochre coloured one on the water) – Hotel Romagna – seen from Isola Superiore
Little cove on Isola Superiore
Looking north to the snowy Alps – we are heading there tomorrow

This little island is rather pretty, and offers great views in all directions. The Borromeo family began acquiring the 5 islands in this part of the lake, but now this one is the only island that does not belong to the family. It is still referred to as one of the Borromean set, though. Itt’s name refers to the fisherman who have traditionally populated the island.

A typical lunch awaited us at one of the seaside eateries. I particularly loved the Bresaola which is local to this area. YUM!! We then strolled around the island in about 15 minutes, which included about 13 minutes of (not me) browsing stalls for souvenirs and junk and postcards.

A bit of a relax in the sun, and we then boated back to Baveno, and walked back to our hotel, where we continued the long-standing days tradition of relaxing in the sun and swimming. Episode 1 of Series 7 of Game of Thrones was view-able despite the low-rent internet connection, so I watched that before we walked back to Baveno for dinner.

Lena swimming in Lake Maggiore from our hotel

Tomorrow we head up the Simplon pass to Switzerland, and will end up tomorrow eve at the top of the Great St Bernard Pass, in the 1000 year-old inn which gave its name to the mountain rescue dog breed. It was 32 degrees today, I think it is due to be about 5 degrees at the top of the Swiss Alps tomorrow – quite a difference. See ya in Swiss dreams.

Lena on Isola Superiore, looking north at Baveno and up to the snow-clad alps of Switzerland

Day 12 – Baveno to Great St Bernard Pass – 243 km

We awoke to another idyllic day. The lake was clear and still, the sky blue and crisp, the weather warm and inviting. We had breakfast in the hotel, watching the boats ferry folk around between the towns and Islands. After we had eaten, Lena wanted another swim in the lake before we left, so she went off to do that, while I packed up our gear, checked routes and satnav settings, and got into my travelling gear.

We loaded up and got ready to leave – I had a wobble as I was backing the bike out of the parking spot, and nearly dropped it. It weighs 408 kg without any gear or petrol, or me, so it does not need much of an angle tip to want to lie down. With help from Lena and one of the staff who happened to be passing I managed not to drop it, but cramped up my left calf in the process.

We road south along the lake shore for 3 km to Stresa, the next town along. Lena had fallen in love with the sparkling red wine we had discovered in Baveno, and there was a specialist wine dealer in Stresa that we hoped would stock it. I am not sure where we would have fitted any bottles on the bike, but the dealer did not have any, so we left disappointed. Heading back north now, we rode alongside Maggiore for 7 km, then turned west and headed up towards the mountains.

The Simplon Pass awaited us. Sempione in Italian, Simplon in French/German, it is 2005 m high, and connects this part of Italy with the Rhone Valley. The climb was pretty, and easy on a wide road. We stopped at the top of the pass, and had a very expensive lunch (welcome to Switzerland). Then down to Brig, in the heart of the Rhone Valley.

Simplon Pass – 2005 metres above sea-level
Top of Simplon Pass

The Rhone rises at the Rhone Glacier, some 35km north-east of Brig. We travelled through the Rhone Valley in France 6 years ago when we did our first big bike tour – you can read about that day here. Today we rode along a much more timid version of the Rhone as it first gathers momentum and is still tentative, before turning into the massive body that powers the industrial areas further west and south.

Here the Rhone Valley was up to about a kilometre wide, and surrounded by high mountains on both sides, and punctuated by efficient-looking, but  unremarkable and non-aesthetically pleasing towns. We rode through this valley for about 80 km or so, and then at the approach to Martigny we turned north and headed up towards Italy, via the Great St Bernard Pass.

Much higher than the Simplon pass, the route takes you through very spectacular scenery. A few twisty hairpin bends, but nothing we couldn’t handle as they were reasonably wide. There is a tunnel that takes you through the final 6km of the traverse, but if you are heading to the actual col, where the Hospice and Inn of the order of St Bernard sit, then you take the narrow road leading up there, just before the tunnel starts.

We are staying at the Inn tonight, so we took the route up before the tunnel starts. The road climbed high, and fast, and offered some – much more challenging – twisty roads and hairpins. We navigated these safely enough (I am getting better at these 2-up sharp corners on the Harley), and found ourselves 2473m above sea level, at the Inn and Hospice.

Hairpin bends on the way to St Bernards

The views down both sides are pretty, and the southern view is spectacular, with snow-topped giants poking the clouds. The pass has been a major route for thousands of years – both Julius Caesar and Napoleon led troops over the pass. The Great St Bernard Hospice was founded here in 1049, and has been in existence since then, but there have been inns and buildings here since Roman times.

St Bernard dogs were originally bred here, strong enough to plough through the snow, and with a keen sense of smell to find lost travellers. The snow can get 10 metres deep on the pass in the winter, and the road is closed from November to June. We haven’t seen a real St Bernard dog here, but there are plenty of posters, and souvenir toy dogs everywhere.

After arrival and decanting our bags to our room, we had a bit of an explore. There is a small tarn just south of the Inn – apparently it does not thaw fully in some summers. It was pretty windy and cold (about 3 degrees), so we stayed out as long as we could before heading back to the inn for a couple of drinks before dinner.

St Bernards Inn and Hospice
2473 Metres above sea-level
Looking south from Great St Bernards pass
Cheese fondue for dinner

We are now in bed after a lovely cheese fondue dinner, updating our blogs and listening to the wind howl through the narrow pass. Tomorrow – mountains and lakes once more, though in France this time. Night night…..

Day 13 – Grand St Bernard to Annecy – 217 km

We did some lovely miles today, and saw some lovely mountains too. Breakfast at the Inn was simple, made and served by the monks who still inhabit the Monastery at the site. It was quite cold, only a few degrees above 0C, but the sky cleared a bit and the blue added to the great views. We packed up in our (by now) well practised manner, and headed back down from the col towards the tunnel to Italy.

The hairpin bends awaited us, but we are getting more practised, and actually downhill is easier, so we practically sailed through them this time. 6km down the valley was the entry to the tunnel itself, and we turned back up the mountain to cross yet another border.

Over and in to Italy we went, without much fuss or ceremony. Then down the long roads towards Aosta we flew, looking up and down the valleys. At Aosta we turned westward, and headed up towards the Mont Blanc Tunnel. By far the highest and most snow-covered mountain of our trip, Mont Blanc rises 4810 metres above sea level – just about double the height of last nights Alp. It is magnificent to behold, and dominates the area.

The way through Mont Blanc follows a series of 6 or 8 “pre-tunnels”, each 2-3 km in length. This then leads into the Mont Blanc tunnel itself, 11,600 metres in length. The tunnel cuts through the mountain at around 1400m above sea level, and is 2,480m below the midi peak at one point, meaning that there is a lot of rock sitting on top of your head when you are riding through it.

Out the other side and you are in France, heading down some pretty steep roads, with some lovely sweeping bends and grand views.

Bike and view of Mont Blanc, from down on the French side

Travelling in an arc, in roughly 80km we reached Lake Annecy. This is Europes cleanest lake, officially, and has been subject to close management and legislation to ensure it maintains its pristine nature. We are staying close to the town of Annecy, and have just got to our room to sort our stuff out.

I booked this hotel using points from BA that I have gathered over the years. It is an ageing spa hotel, seemingly past its best but offering what seems to be some nice facilities and views over the lake. The hotel have cocked up our room with a lake view, so we are getting a free massage each tomorrow morning in the spa – can’t complain about that. For now, we will have to enjoy our view of the car park! At least I can see the bike, so I know it is safe.

We are now off to enjoy the spa facilities. See you laters, mes pitites fleurs.

Day 14 – Lake Annecy – 0 km

Well – you could say we had a lazy morning, We certainly did not get up for breakfast, but stayed in bed late. This holiday has had many long and exciting days, and maybe we just deserved one where we could relax and do very little. Or – and this is just a theoretical alternative – you might assume that we had a great meal last night, preceded by a beer, a lovely, chilled bottle of local rosé wine, as well as a champagne cocktail with our first course, and a well-proportioned bottle of red wine to accompany our meal. Also, you might postulate that the sommelier gave us a glass each of the Genepi to finish off with – a local liqueur made from wormwood. And that, in this theoretical universe, we were a little bit hung over and unable to fully function this morning. Anyway – I will let you be the judge.

Eventually, at around 11ish, I dragged myself out of bed, had a quick shower, put on a bathrobe and wandered down to the spa. I mentioned yesterday that they had given us each a free massage as compensation for messing up our room booking, so off I went to collect on the offer. Lena was unable to take advantage of her offer, still feeling a bit under the weather, so I took her massage as well, and ended up feeling relaxed, invigorated and ready for my day by the time the lovely French masseuse had finished with me.

My beloved, however, was not quite ready to face her day just yet, so we rested for another hour before we were both ready to face the day. We walked about 25 minutes to the charming old town of Annecy. It really is lovely – old, narrow streets, a pristine river and canals, quaint buildings and a ton of atmosphere. We would have happily eaten a scabby donkey, so hungry were we, but we lucked into a decent, if slightly touristy restaurant on the riverside, and devoured our tasty meals with gusto.

Lena and Vieille Ville Annecy
Palais de l’Isle from behind
Memorial Plaque in memory of 4 students from the school where this plaque is located – the students, aged 11, 11, 6 and 8 were removed from class by Nazi soldiers, and all perished in Auschwitz
Palais de l’Isle, and venue for lunch (restaurant on the left of the picture)

After feeding time, we ambled about the old town, enjoying the sights, shops and buskers. Our ramblings eventually took us down to the lake itself, and we hopped on to a motorboat for a half hour tour of the lake. The views form the lake were just as pretty as those looking onto it, and the water is clear and inviting. We traversed the upper quarter of the lake, visiting Beau Rivage and Veyrier, before heading back to the mouth of the Thiou river.

Returning to the town of Annecy after a boat trip on the lake
Views north on lake Annecy
Lena, lake and mountains
Our hotel, seen from the lake
Lakes and Mountains, Annecy
Mouth of the River Thiou, heading into Lake Annecy
Our motorboat for the trip on Lake Annecy

A bit of shopping for food supplies (and toothpaste), and then we stopped for a lovely coffee at a local cafe. We sat out in the sun, enjoying the sounds, sights and senses of La belle France. Finally we built up enough steam to climb the 25 minutes back to our hotel.

It is now 19:20 in the evening, we are laid by the hotel pool in glorious, fading sunshine, drying off from a swim and updating the blog. In a bit we will head back to the room and feast on our local meats and cheeses and fruits that we bought in town, and then do some re-planning of routes for tomorrow. We were given some suggested routes to get great views of the lake, and Lena has some ideas about activities on the way, so I need to make sure our route is ready – and that our gear is ready too.

Brad by the pool, blogging

Bonne chance, mes amis.

Day 15 – Annecy to Langres – 404 km

Another day in paradise. This holiday is an amazing privilege, and we are certainly aware of how lucky we are. We woke up in our lovely room overlooking Lake Annecy, and packed while we ate the remainder of the market foods we bought yesterday.

Once we were eaten and ready, we checked out and loaded up the bike, then set off south-bound along the shore of the lake. We stopped for a nice coffee about 15 mins down the road, and then rode another 25 minutes to Doussard, at the landing site of a number of local paragliding clubs.

Lena had booked herself a tandem paragliding experience, and so we found her pilot, and off they went to the launch site. I waited at the landing site, and as they set off it started to rain. Lena texted me to say they were waiting for the rain to stop, and eventually she did her flight but landed at a different field, and one of the school went off to collect her and her pilot – she really enjoyed the flight, and her pictures are amazing.

The rain had pretty much stopped when she got back, so we saddled up and set off north-bound. We rode up the same side of Lake Annecy, and then headed in the direction of Geneva. We got a good view of Lake Geneva before turning westward. We rode through some beautiful scenery towards Nantua, and then slowly turned northward in the direction of Dijon.

Today was a hot day, and even travelling at 130 km/h it was quite warm on the bike. We stopped for fuel and drinks a few times, plus a lunch. Our destination today is Langres. I had seen it on our previous trip in 2011, and had always wanted to visit – see link here. We finally found the small town around 7pm.

Today was their annual food fare festival, and so getting the final few hundred metres to our hotel was a challenge as the streets were closed, and full of stalls. We slowly picked our way through the pedestrians, and got to our hotel without incident. I was in need of a shower, which followed shortly, as did a cool beer. We then went for a walk through this pretty old town, and enjoyed the buildings, streets and views. This was followed by yet another great meal, in the hotel restaurant. The restaurnat is named after Diderot, one of the towns most celebrated sons.

Our hotel, Le Cheval Blanc, is a really old building, It was a church for at least 1,000 years (earliest written records identifying the building date back to 834). After the Revolution, the building, like so many other church or nobility owned property, was sold. A builder called Huin bought the place, and turned it into an Inn, which has been in operation since then.

Just FYI – by the end of today we have ridden 2,993 km.