Tour de Blois

The sun was back today, more so than we’d expected from the forecast, so we set out to ride one of this region’s excellent cycle routes that was new to us. We’d head across La Loire and into Blois. Since that would take us close to a local McDonalds (at Vineuil), although it would mean an unwelcome additional load of the laptop strapped to my back, it would provide an opportunity to start the blog postings using McDonald’s excellent free McWiFi service. We loaded up and set off.

We hit McDonalds around lunchtime. It was busy, absolutely McHeaving with swarms of McRugrats. Still, needs must so we invested a couple of Euros in a matched pair of McEspressos and got our brief Internet fix. (Why doesn’t McDonalds do espressos in England? I thought they were big on universal menus. Curious.)

La Loire and Blois cathedral “I survived McRugrats” medals firmly in place, we escaped back to the relative clam and sanity of the piste cyclable and headed into Blois, pausing for our own lunch on the south bank of La Loire. (Be honest, you didn’t really think I was going to eat a McPants burger now, did you?)

Big towns are much more readily visited and explored by bicycle than by car and we soon negotiated the Blois traffic system and found the chateau. We were intrigued to notice an odd recurring emblem on and around the chateau: a porcupine carrying a crown on its spines. Porcupines not being at all common in France, I was curious as to the reason for the symbol. Our Rough Guide helped little but does say the porcupine is associated with Louis XII’s wing. There is apparently also a salamander associated with that of François I. Not sure how many salamanders there are in France, either.

We continued back heading east along the north bank of La Loire, crossed back south over a bridge at Muides-sur-Loire and returned to our camp site feeling very self-righteous having taken the laptop for a 34 mile ride. Someone’s legs are going to ache a little in the morning.

Oddly, three bottles of Heineken didn’t last very long at all.

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