European Cycling Adventures

A Typical Day

Morning has come and you have slept soundly.  Yesterday had been busy and exciting, much like the other days.  At last night's gourmet dinner, everybody agreed that they would leave at 9:00 this morning.  You are torn between the comfort of this 16th century room and the anticipation of another glorious day riding.  So you quickly pull on your clothes and head down to breakfast.  There is the usual assortment of bread, jam and croissants, cheeses, eggs and hot and cold beverages.  But today you are confronted by a strange contraption next to the eggs.  It turns out you have to boil your own eggs in it.  Everyone gives you advice about how many turns of the egg timer are required to cook the egg.  They have all failed to cook theirs long enough and want you to succeed.  But this morning, eggs were not in the cards and yours is too soft as well.  Not to worry, everything else is fresh and tastes scrumptious.

What was supposed to be a 9 o'clock departure turns into 9:30, but no one seems to care.  The day is still young and we have all day to ride 40km (24 miles).  One of your fellow adventures was out early and has discovered a market close by where lunch fixings can be secured.  At the store, some people go inside while others stay with the bikes.   The only thing this store does not seem to have is baguettes.  So a couple of people head off to find the boulangerie.  They return a few minutes later, bread in hand, and report that today is market day in the town square.  Everyone agrees that this is something that shouldn't be missed.  The vendors have everything from hardware to fabrics to jewelry to baked goods and are happy to bargain with us.  At 11, you are finally riding into the countryside.  Spirits are high after this unexpected diversion.  How the time flies!

Yesterday, the hillsides were covered with vineyards, but today, there are only white cattle, green fields and again, few cars.  Ahead, there is a small town and a sign for a Chateau.  None of the material you have mentions this place, but you decide to take a look.    When you reach the chateau, it is small and needs to be restored.   But the old pear tree by the road is full of ripe fruit and everyone gets an unexpected treat.

The pear whets your appetite and awakens your hunger for a lunch long past due.  It's not hard to find a peaceful picnic spot.  Bread, a variety of amazing local cheeses, fresh fruits and wine purchased while wine tasting yesterday rounds out the picnic.  People recount the fun they had trying that Grand Cru; how we smelled it and then held it in our mouth while the flavor changed; what complexity; what finish; ahhhhh.  Suddenly everybody is laughing about how we are all becoming connoisseurs.

It's already after 3 and you have only ridden 15km!  The scenery continues as before and you pass through town after town, through the lush fields dotted with cows and medieval buildings,  stopping occasionally to regroup and look at this church or that view.  At 6, you arrive at your next stop; a Chambre d'hote (B & B) in a former 15th century cloister.  You are warmly greeted by the owner, Madame Lequime.  Madam and her husband have lovingly renovated and imaginatively redecorated the large rooms we are in.  She serves us tea and cakes before we clean up and go off on our own to explore the town.

Tonight, some of the group has decided that they need the comfort of pizza and go to a local Italian restaurant, but you and the rest of the group go to the recommended restaurant which serves typical Burgundian food.  The sommelier, who helps us make perfect wine selections, is very friendly and you find out that he lives in the same building you are staying in.  What a small world.  After the fabulous dinner, there is some discussion about which of the dinners thus far was the best.  In the end, you decide that it is impossible to pick the best.  They have all been superb, but different enough that each qualifies for that distinction.  An after dinner walk leads to thought of the day and anticipation of tomorrow.  Can it already be 11?                                              

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