My lovely canal boat trip being over, it was time to get back on the road. Heading south from Agen towards the Pyrenees was a study in riding perfection. The bright, but hazy weather combined with the smells of harvest and autumn to give the countryside a dream-like quality. Oddly, it didn’t make you want to stop and lay in a haystack, instead it just made you want to ride gently along forever, savouring the sights and smells of a season drawing to a close… Gently, until the rolling hills stopped rolling and started crashing up and down the road, eventually forcing it to wind its way between them. The haze had hidden the approaching mountains until I was weaving my way between their toes and playing scales with the gears. I was in The Pyrenees.
As the day was getting on and I was in the middle of nowhere hotel-wise, it was going to be a camping night. Riding off the beaten path can make hotels hard to come by, so the municipal campgrounds in France are wonderful. Every town seems to have them, they’re cheap, they’re well located, and they all seem to close for the season on October 1st. My first night in the mountains would also be my last at one of these amazingly handy sites. The night didn’t dissapoint- the manager made his own excellent apple cider, the town had a little shop that sold all the basics along with local products in mismatched containers, and the only other camper was a pleasant, but unobtrusive, Australian who was pedal biking the area solo. Needles to say, I had a great sleep!
The day started much as the last had ended, with mist and haze concealing the view. Still, the Transylvanian image it projected wasn’t a bad way to start the day at all.