Ok, so the ride down to Macon was an easy one, according to the wisdom of Google maps. Make of that what you will, needless to say the bike is getting seriously fed up with gravel and boulders, but is hanging together admirably.
However, the kind of scenery more than made up for it and compared to the previous day it was easy overall as the distance only clocked up to 40 miles.
Some seriously disrupted road surfaces didn’t massively obstruct me and I rolled into the campsite at Macon in mid afternoon. By then it was seriously hot. During the ride it had hit 39°c and was only two degrees less when I grabbed a pitch and started to set up.
It was far too hot for ginger cows. I spotted this lot seeking shade under a tree
Must play havoc with their freckles.
I must have smelled English as within seconds of arriving, a couple from Manchester with their camper van in the next pitch wandered over and introduced themselves by handing me a cold beer direct from the fridge. Those are the kinds of actions which give you faith in humanity!
During the night my tent was sorely tested. Luckily, with good weather forecasting, I’d battened down the hatches and was only awoken at 4.30 by the thunder rolling towards us. I was pretty much awake from there on in, but sat in the tent watching the storm blow over was amazing. It was seriously violent but only lasted around an hour. All good fun and no leaks in the tent.
So I was up pretty early for my pre-ordered breakfast (this has become a standard for me now) of three pain au raisin and as much strong coffee as I can get hold of.
After that I felt good enough to hit the road for Lyon. The first part of the ride to Lyon was more of the same. In fact, the surfaces were worse and the bike got caked in mud after the early morning downpour.
A false turn led me down a dead end, but thankfully only about quarter of a mile to get back onto the right path!
Even when I did find the right path, the route looked a little precarious;
But the scenery along the river continued to be amazing;
I kept expecting to see the Paras firing sten guns and charging German machine gun nests, dodging from pillar to post as German sappers desperately tried to blow the bridge. This maybe a reflection of the number of WWII films I watched as a youngster.
By late morning I’d had enough of dirt tracks and altered my route slightly to get up onto some hard surfaces. I passed the museum to Nicéphore Niépce, who is generally now accepted to have invented photography in 1822.
Obviously I had to take a photo.
After this point the ride was truly amazing. Only one big steep climb and the views from the top were worth it;
I was by now seriously regretting the decision not to say hang it to the additional weight and battery issues and bring my Nikon with me. The camera on my mobile, which is responsible for all of the photos on this trip is OK, but I don’t think it captures just how beautiful the views were.
Having cut across country a little to get away from the dirt track I returned to the river bank around 15 miles outside Lyon – nice hard surfaces here too. I was glad I did, the ride into Lyon from there was beautiful;
I stopped about 10 miles outside and booked myself into a hotel for the night (wonders of modern mobile technology) and arrived at the hotel about an hour later, having coasted down the river bank admiring just how pretty this part of France is.
Only 54 miles from Macon to Lyon by my route, but I was so glad to step into a hotel room with a bed and air conditioning! I laid down on the bed for a second and all of a sudden it was two hours later……
Having showered and changed I went for a wander round Lyon;
There is some gorgeous architecture here – the main square in front of the town hall boasting a fountain by F.A. Bartholdi.
There are simply too many tourist attractions here that I’d love to go and see. There’s a well preserved Roman amphitheatre and the amazing looking Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere sat up on the hill overlooking the city
There is definitely too much here for someone passing through. But I’ve seen enough to know that I’d like to come back here and spend some quality time in Lyon.
For dinner I headed to a wine cellar in the back streets, not far from my hotel.
An extremely charming place, run by an expert somellier and ably assisted by his daughters. Nothing was too much trouble for them so I sat drinking Crozes Hermitage from the fridge whilst tucking into a plate of meat and cheese.
Only in France can someone hand you a plate with a slightly mouldy sausage on and you be more than happy to tuck in.
Tomorrow is on towards Valence. Expecting hills…..