Fungus

I started the day with some pancakes. (I have now counted, and that is 2000kilocalories of glorious pancakes. Nice.)

IMG_3206.JPG
I proceeded by watching a movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
I discovered I had fungus between my toes, so after the movie I went out to the city as I had planned to get a new USB-charger, but now also a cream for the toes.
I left my phone at home as I wanted to test go without GPS. I used my watch as compass, and found the store Fnac without needing help. I could not find a charger I wanted though, so outside, I went to the pharmacy and fixed a cream for the toes. I then asked some random dude for help (actually, I tried to ask many people if they spoke English (I asked in french) but most were rude and just walked by), and he told me about Darty a kilometre away, so I went there. I found a charger with dual USB ports, so now I can charge all three things at once (battery, phone and speaker). Earlier at least I had two wall plugs, but one died after the yoghurt accident the day I left Paris.
I then went by a supermarket and bought some yoghurt and bread for an easy lunch and went home. I ate and watched Captain America: Winter soldier. Then, most people were home, and me, Gabriel and Raphaëlle ate together (some random sausage/tomato/rice/omelette thing, at least it was good!). We then played a game, Jungle Speed I think the name was. They had to do some phone talking after that, so I watched another movie, Need for Speed, and then it was time to sleep!

IMG_3215.JPG
Raphaëlle and Mikkal, Gabriel was sadly not on this glorious picture.

Toulouse or not to lose

I got a confirmed yes from my host in Toulouse, so now I was not far away from an indoor bed again. As she was coming home at 1730 and it was only 65 kilometres flat, I started pretty late.
I began with another 1500 kcal breakfast while surfing the web, talking with friends, fixing more music on spotify and writing for the blog. At one, I started biking, with another aqueduct bridge as my first goal, a couple of hundred metres away!

IMG_3196.JPG
Mainly two things happened along the canal today. I went by some sort of machinery used instead of a lock in the canal. This was in Montech, but sadly, they are not using it anymore.

IMG_3197.JPG
The other happening was that I passed a kayak guy, and I recognised him, as I passed him the day before. I stop for a quick chat, and he was going from west to east along the canal. Cool guy!

I came to Toulouse a bit early, even though I started late, due to maintaining high speeds. I went to Lidl and bought some chocolate, Pringles and snickers. I was just going to buy Snickers but did not have cash and you have to buy for at least 5 euros to use the card.
Outside, a beggar asked for something, so I have here two snickers (I had bought a six pack). Then, I went to my hosts place, who came there just a few minutes after me arriving.
I took a shower and put on some ordinary clothes, started a washing machine and then we went shopping. I learnt from yesterday, and bought two pizzas this time. I love how much I can eat while biking!
We helped Mikkal, one of Raphaëlle’s flatmates, to get his car going. We tried to push it, but I thought it would be easier to use jumper cables, and after stopping some cars a nice guy helped us.

IMG_3200.JPG
I had asked to stay for an extra day, so tomorrow would be a resting day!
After eating dinner and chatting for a while, I went to bed, watched a movie and then slept.

Slow ride, take it easy

I woke up and went to eat breakfast with the Dutch woman. I had bought cereal and milk the day before, so I ate half a package cereal and half a litre of milk. Apparently, that is 1500 kilocalories, so I was reeeeally full and went back to bed for another hour as I was going to take it easy this day (I knew there were a camping in 50 kilometres if I wanted to take it really easy).
I was looking through the info about the canal, and apparently Agen has an aqueduct bridge so the boats can go over the river Garonne. I felt that I wanted to see that, So I decided to return to Agen before continuing.
At one, I was leaving. I but the milk in wet socks to keep it cool (it works) and started with biking the 13 kilometres, and it was worth it! I stopped by a Lidl and bought some yoghurt thing to eat as snack so I took a brake at the lock in the canal.
Pictures from the aqueduct:

IMG_3176.JPG

IMG_3178.JPG
After that, I just continued biking. On the way I saw a french woman that seemed to have a problem, and it was that the rear rim brake was too tight so it was always on. I do of course have tools with me, so I helped her adjusting it and went on. (I also adjusted my own disc brakes during the day actually!)
This day I was actually going pretty fast, and my bike computer usually showed 26-28 km/h (I had a little bit of tailwind and knew there would be no hills). Someone with a mountain bike without any panniers or other bags tried to hold my speed, but I even managed to accelerate and lose him. It was nice to feel fast and good, and I am sure I have improved a lot since the beginning!
After a visit of the tourist office in Mossaic, I went to a camping that was 9 euros per night. It was actually quite good with a pool and all, but I did not have any bathing clothes and I did not really feel like swimming/having time either. I went into the city and bought a pizza and a desert thing for dinner.

IMG_3184.JPG
When going to bed I actually felt a little bit hungry, so note to self: buy more next time!
I showered, and it was really nice with warm water. Even if it was not perfect (many people using warm water at the same time) it was a big improvement!
Also, per request, here is my tan so far!

IMG_3191.JPG

IMG_3188.JPG

IMG_3189.JPG

IMG_3187.JPG
After dinner and bed, I sent out some requests to Warmshowers, and I got an answer! After that I went to sleep, and tomorrow, Toulouse!

Trying to rest, but failing

As there were still no one there, and I did not really feel obliged to pay as I did not use the electricity or dumping my toilet (well, I do not have one), I went from the camping without paying. Eight euros saved, I guess!
I went into the city to find some internet and rest some more as my body felt pretty dead after the two hilly 100 kilometre days. I bought a bag of pain au chocolates in a nearby shop and talked with friends and family. I also gathered information about the canal, as I was going to bike without using the GPS.
At eleven-something, I started. The canal were really flat and offered a better view than car-filled big roads.

IMG_3163.JPG
It really is a touring cyclist high way though, I have never seen as many touring cyclists, so it was fun to see all the difference in gear choices, age and how far they seemed like they were going (how much they were packing)!
There were some random art along the canal, for example a car and a X-wing:

IMG_3165.JPG

IMG_3170.JPG
Other than that, I biked pretty slow a as I did not feel good. At half past one I tried to find a shop, but the one nearby opened again at three. The shop in the next city was closed this Monday, so I had to go to Agen, and in the end I did not get to eat lunch before 1600. At that time I had already done nearly 60 kilometres, even though I wanted to take it really slowly. I chilled out and just relaxed, and after more than en hour I decided to move.

IMG_3172.JPG
I went to the tourist office and asked about campings, but most of them were in the wrong direction, closed or expensive. I went out to take a look at the internet and found a map over camping van parkings, so I decided to stay at that again!
I went south nine kilometres to Layrac, and found the place. There were no toilet but water. I did not really care, and pitched my tent and was going to make dinner. I met a lovely lady there, Yvonne, who were travelling with her two dogs, from Holland. We had a nice chat, and I got a small micro-fibre cloth to use as towel if needed. I forgot my towel and shorts at the last hosts place on the dry line, so the Finnish guys took it with them, but how I will get the stuff is a later problem.
As I was going to my tent, I saw some people at the entrance of the gymnastics hall. I went there and asked if I could borrow the shower, which was no problem, so it was really good I just got a towel! The water did not want to get warm, though, but hopefully I did get a little bit clean!

More hills, still pushing

I was pretty tired since the day before, and went up by nine. I still managed to start biking at 1040, after planning a telephone meeting with my mum at 1800.
I continued pretty fast, with speeds around 25-26 before lunch. There were even more hills today, so after a long hill into a village, I decided to take my lunch break. I found a place with a toilet, water, bench and shadow and made my lunch camp.

IMG_3152.JPG
It started getting even more hilly close to my planned sleep-location (100 kilometres) so I stopped at 95 in a small gathering of six houses and managed to find wifi. After trying to help my mom find some things in my room (where it is a mess – all stuff from 60 square metres cramped into 16) I continued at 1930.
I came to Marmande, found another “camping” (for camper vans actually) and put up my tent there. I felt like I wanted to take a shower, but as there were no shower, I used the ice-cold tap with drinking water instead. It really was cold!
Also, the public toilet nearby were really disgusting , and at the camping there was a sign saying “8 euros per night”. There were no one there, and a pair of people I asked said you pay in the morning. Oh well, at least I had a place to sleep at!

Let’s go!

After the morning routines and saying goodbye to those partially awake, I said goodbye to Nico and his nice little farm with new energy. Now I did not have any hosts or planned stops, so I just biked as far as possible.
I actually held speeds around 25-28 kilometres per hour, and I think I really felt the difference between the first day and today.
I put as much energy as possible in my body through chocolate and peanuts, and stopped for lunch at two (cous-cous, peanuts and oil).

IMG_3140.JPG
As it was Saturday I did not only shop for the evening, but also the next day, as many shops tend to be closed on Sundays.
I continued, and after 90 kilometres or so I refilled my water to try to find a good place to sleep at. It was not really late yet, so I continued to find a really good spot. In a village I saw this sign:

IMG_3145.JPG
I checked it out, and talked with some Portuguese people with my broken Spanish. Even if it was just a stop for motor vehicles, they assured me it would be OK to pitch my tent on a nearby lawn. It was a good place, pretty quiet apart from the funny-sounding derp-pigeons, with water at the cemetery 100 metres away and a public toilet 200 metres away. I made my dinner (some ravioli) and went to sleep really early, after a day of 102 kilometres and hills, with an average around 23!

Also, this is the wear on my front respective rear tire so far, after approximately 3800 loaded kilometres:

IMG_3147.JPG

IMG_3148.JPG

I guess it is time to change the rear one in Barcelona!

The resting day of resting days!

I had actually not really spoken to Nico much before arriving, so I did nothing about the place before. It was one of the most relaxed places I had been at in a long time!

IMG_3130.JPG
It started by Nico proposing to me to make pancakes, as we had spoken about it the day before. That was an awesome start of the day!

IMG_3129.JPG
I was pretty tired, and apparently my body needed some rest. I was pretty much by myself just surfing the web and actually playing a game on my iPhone (can’t remember when I did that the last time). I felt a little bit boring, but the others did not seem to mind, and even when trying to I could not really be social. I guess I needed some alone time!
The others invited me to go to the beach after noon, so I joined them. During that trip I learnt not to put my GPS on Short when in car-mode, but in Fast, as Short really mean trying to take almost the same roads as the bike.

IMG_3132.JPG
We saw some happy sunflowers though!

IMG_3135.JPG
The beach were nice, but a bit windy. It was really fun to play in the waves, and the water was not too cold!
We went home again, and I went into my little introvert relaxation mode again. Talked a little bit with the others now and then, ate another awesome dinner and then went to bed. Now I would start taking some kilometres!

Good winds, good people, good food

After having breakfast, saying goodbye to Gonzalo and after departing leaving the key to Alberto, I biked south-south-east. The winds were really good, so the 76 kilometres went by fast.
In Rochefort, I bought some pre-made lasagna from Lidl.

IMG_3124.JPG
I just put it in my kitchen and stirred it while heating it, and even if it does not looked like lasagna, it tasted like lasagna, and was actually really good!

IMG_3125.JPG
When arriving, my hosts were not at home, but some other people was. As I understood it it was a small farm where woofers could come by and work at, but they also had some friends there. I pitched my tent and took a shower before borrowing a computer, fixing some administration for home.
There were one woofer (working at the farm-person), and five other people, apart from the two living there. Four of the friends staying there were Finnish, and two of them also knew Swedish.
It was a really nice evening, and two if the Finnish people seemed to know how to cook, as they made some really good food. After a really nice evening I went to bed, and was not that sure if I would continue tomorrow!

IMG_3128.JPG
My host, Nico, playing the piano

A rainy resting day

I did not really feel like I wanted to bike when I woke up, so I took a resting day. I was pretty slow, but I put some repair glue on my bag, made lunch and slept during the day.

IMG_3122.JPG
I was going to see the towers in La Rochelle, but I went there too late, as they closed the doors for new visitors half an hour before closing time. I went to Gonzalos office and looked at another art exhibition. I was pretty tired so I did not follow them out afterwards, but instead went home and made dinner. Sleepy day!

Adventure trail

After a good breakfast, they gave me both bread and cake for the day. I continued on my trip, and this day was planned for 91 kilometres, a little longer than the last days!
After just a few kilometres, my GPS led me in on a road that looked like a tractor road. After a while, it began to look like this instead:

IMG_3100.JPG
I am not the type who tries another way just because the road seems bad, and I did have lots of fun, even if a mountain bike would be better. I had to walk a bit with my bike as I did not want to fall in this:

IMG_3102.JPG
I got with me much to eat, so combined with the snacks and jams I already had it was enough until I arrived at the last place. This is some of the food I ate!

IMG_3103.JPG

IMG_3105.JPG
At one point, my GPS thought this was a good way:

IMG_3104.JPG
And I also rode on this, which felt pretty cool as there were no nearby houses, cars or any other thing, so I felt like I was riding alone!

IMG_3110.JPG
After riding 91 kilometres, I arrived at Gonzalos work. I had some hassle finding the right door, but then I found the art exhibition he was working at.
He did not quit until 1800 and the clock was only 1630, so after some talking I went to buy repair things for my pannier that got a rip in it. I found it in a big sports store Gonzalo tipped me about.
When he had quit work, we went on a small tour around the small city. Went to a bar where we met two friends of him, one who is mute. I actually understood more of what he said than when people spoke french, and it was fun trying to speak with him.
We went to a bar where we met up with his flat mate to look at a football game. When we left, I had eaten two whole pizzas by myself, and I could have eaten a third one.
I also learnt to play on glass this evening, thanks to Eve!

Nice evening!