Limeray to Tours
Saturday 11 October
It had rained overnight, but I was dry and warm in my lovely lightweight tent, but wanted to wait for the sun to dry it off before packing up. Unfortunately the sun was reluctant to oblige, so I packed up the wet tent and rode towards Amboise. I was on the wrong side of the Loire for the marked path today, but crossed over the bridge at Amboise, to rejoin the Loire a Velo path and visit the Chateaux. Amboise was famously the home of Leonardo da Vinci, and is the place he died – I saw his grave in the small chapel at the Chateaux, and enjoyed the lovely gardens there, and procured a stamp, before looking for a place to have lunch. There were many restaurants in front of the chateau, and I should have been warned by the menu being in French AND English, but had the most average and expensive meal so far. It wasn’t bad, just not the quality I had come to expect in France. Next time I know not to eat directly outside a tourist attraction.
Meandering along, I road past a house that had hundreds of coffee pots decorating the fence dotted with broken religious statues, proving that their are crazies in every corner of the world.
Arriving in Tours, I stopped at the cathedral for a quick photo with my bike, I thought I would have a look inside later, once I’d unloaded. An old man approached me, asking which was more important, the cathedral or the bike? – I said perhaps the cathedral, but he said I wouldn’t be at the cathedral without my bike… He said that even though Tours is a major stop on the Tours route, he rarely encountered any pilgrims, either walking or by velo, and that I was an odd and rare species. I bid goodbye, and headed towards my host’s house.
I continue to be extremely lucky with my CouchSurfing experiences, I arrived at a huge converted warehouse, with another fascinating host – a middle aged gentleman, with his (rather odd) wife. He was disappointed that I was only staying for one night, and convinced me that there was lots to see and do in Tours, so I agreed to stay for two. I think he wanted some company. He had another CouchSurfer staying, a crazy young Persian from Iran, who was studding in Paris, who continuously took photos. My host commented that he was like a Japanese tourist. Our host cooked us a delicious vegetable stew for dinner, accompanied by wine, then the fromage course which included the famous Tours goat cheese with a straw in the middle. He then took us out for a nighttime tour of the city, stopping in at a contemporary gallery opening across the street, before taking in the old city.