After our wet and windy cycle to Amboise the next day it was still wet, but thankfully not raining and there was no rest for us. We only had two nights in Amboise and the plan was to cycle to the Château de Chenonceau, we'd seen a sign the day before so roughly knew our route. And if you remember I said that it was all downhill into the centre of Amboise, so our route out of the town was all uphill. And it was hard going.
I managed to cycle enough uphill to get approving glances from the locals out for a chat, as you do. Well I think it was approving glances, maybe it was the usual madness of the English look. Who knows! We retraced our route which was thankfully less wet and windy than the day before.
We turned right and followed the Loire a Velo signs towards Chenonceau eagerly anticipating what the new part of the route would bring. It wasn't long before I spied a log pile in the distance. And it's amazing what can make me pedal harder but, sadly, a photogenic log pile is one of them. And this reminded me of our trip cycling in Bavaria, but as I found out bigger!
I told you they were bigger!
Having left the bike I was patrolling up and down in awe of the log pile, when I spotted a lone foxglove. I told you they were photogenic didn't I?
As I was heading back to where I'd left MOH and the bikes I realised the field behind me - although log pile free - was equally as pretty.
Before long we were back on our bikes, we'd passed through a small village and got slightly confused with the signs. We headed off confidently, but after four or so kilometres and no more signs MOH agreed we might have gone wrong. So back we went. That was eight kilometres we weren't expecting.
By now, despite having a large breakfast I was starting to fade. So it was time for a stop. Back in the village where we went wrong. I was hoping for some of our packed lunch, but MOH whipped out some gel bars and gels.
Ah well, they did the job and I amused myself at why there was a picnic bench and some bike racks in a random field in the French countryside. But I was oh so glad there was. The bench, like the bike racks were concrete and the lichen patterns were fantastic.
After a much needed break, and a much longer cycle than we'd expected - it was 23 or so miles there - Chenonceau was in our sights. I'll admit I wasn't looking forward to the journey back. As we parked and secured our bikes, the rain that had been threatening throughout our cycle made its presence known so it was a quick scramble to don our waterproofs and for me to cover my saddle with a plastic bag!
And then we headed into Chenonceau, only to be refused entry because we had a picnic. We could either leave it in a locker or go out and eat it, so that's what we did. I understand why they wouldn't want the place littered but it seemed a bit OTT to me. Later on we discovered the prices inside the chateau grounds were way higher than those by the entry points, and that just felt a little too mercenary.
Before I finish this post I'll leave you with our first glimpse of Cháteau de Chenonceau, which from this angle doesn't look quite as special as I'd expected, but don't worry more was to be revealed. I'll also tell you that our cycle back was a lot shorter than getting there, at closer to fifteen miles. It turned out we'd been on a circular route and had gone the scenic way first, which I think on reflection was the right way round!
More soon on the gardens at Chenonceau - there are three - and of some more usual shots and a look at the sumptuous interiors. It really was a great chateau to visit, and I'm glad I'd arranged the trip to include this one.
Have you been, did it live up to your expectations?