Tours to Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine
Monday 13 October
My first stop this morning was the tourist office, as I wanted to see if they had cycling maps that were as good as those for Loire a Velo. They had some that would get me as far as Chatellerault, but they weren’t very detailed, but in combination with my road maps and Google, I’d be fine… Until I get to the roundabouts. I then went to the Cathedral for a quick look inside, and a stamp in my Credential. It was open, and there was actually someone scraping the wax from the candles who was able to give me a stamp – things were looking up for the bad pilgrim.
Leaving Tours, I managed to follow the maps until I crossed the river, then I hit several roundabouts and was soon disorientated and lost… Time for a bit of Google help. But Google wasn’t very helpful and kept telling me to make a U turn… I’d go a few meters, than be instructed to make a U turn again… I could have been there all day. I soon figured out where I was on the map… And continued down the road. Now the Camino signs were becoming more common, just when I thought I’d taken the wrong turn, I saw one.
Today’s ride took me through lovely rural villages and forested paths. I was riding up one of these when I noticed a figure in the distance, was it a scarecrow? Then it moved, I hadn’t encountered anyone else on these off road paths until now, and was a little apprehensive. As I approached, a woman came into view and she pointed to my shell and said that she too was following St Jacque de Compostelle… A pilgrim! She lived in a nearby village, and said that every year she did a small section of the walk. She then pointed out that the at place we had stopped was a small Virgin Mary shrine in the tree. She gave me a postcard as a souvenir, and we departed.
I continued on to Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine where I’d booked a hotel for the night, the first on my trip! It was an older style room, fairy simple, but comfortable, however the staff spoke no English and weren’t particularly welcoming. The attached resturant however was well worth the stopover. Mussel soup, followed by duck with figs, fromage, local wine, and dessert. A wonderful meal, although the service again a little brisk.