2nd story: Freiburg to Biarritz (23.07.04 - 01.09.04)

We crossed the German/French border on July 23rd –after 1771 km.
France was new to us since we both hadnn’t been there a lot before.
We were lucky since we managed to get a special bicycle map before (scale 1 :100.000) but it turned out that there were no campgrounds shown on this map. For only 6 Euros we bought a book full of maps covering all of France. The scale was 1 : 250.000 which is not ideal for cycling but at least it was showing the campgrounds. We got along fine and followed page by page throwing away the used pages in order to save weight.

First we followed the river Doubs through the Jura Mountains towards Besascon. We tried to follow mostly secondary roads in order to avoid traffic. We follwed the river Saone and passed trough the cities of Dole and Chalon until Lyon where the river Saone joins the river Rhone. The landscape was fairly even which allowed us to cover quite some kilometers each day. In Vienne (on Rhone) it was the first time our map was wrong : the campground shown on the map simply didn’t exist any more ! Since it was already pretty late and since we were able to spot the place where the camground used to be we decided to use the campground nevertheless. Of course the sanitaryblocks had long been gone but at least there was a creek.

We follwed the river Rhone and passed trough Valence and Montelimar. Then we turned west to drive along the Ardeche Gorge. The river is popular and famous for canoes- and kayaksdrivers. We started really early in order to avoid traffic and the summer heat. Though we had to go up and down all the time it was really worth it because the views were spectacular.

We managed to arrive at Hendrik’s relatives’ summerhouse right on my birthday. There we spent three wonderful days visting the area. We also visited the famous Roquefort cellars.
By now we must have already eaten tons of this great cheese.
It was in the small village of Lunas that we first encountered a sign of the famous pilgrims’ way St. Jacob. There is a whole net of ways all over Europe which get united in Spain to lead to Santiago de Compostela.

We went further through the central mountains of France and reached the Canal du Midi and Carcassonne. Finally we were able to see the mountains of the Pyrenees in the distance.We biked a stretch along the river Garonne and then headed towards Lourdes. Right after Lourdes we met the first real pilgrims on their way to Santiago, a french couple. Since the women had problems walking the husband had build a stroller to push her. Oh la la !

Nach 1600km in Frankreich und bei 3371 km gesamt haben wir am 26. August bei Biarritz den Atlantik erreicht. Hier ruhen wir uns nun etwas aus. Am 31.8. kommt unser Freund Bjoern aus Luebeck, um dann mit uns die 3. Etappe, den Jakobsweg zu fahren.

We reached Biarritz at the Atlantic on August 26th- after 1600km in France and a total of 3371km since Hamburg.
Here we are waiting for our friend Bjoern from Luebeck who will cycle to Santiago with us.

The bikes are still okay, The only thing Hendrik wants to replace is his chain.
The recumbents are ideal for communication: There has been a lot of positive feedback and a lot of people stop and talk to us. That helped also a lot with the French language.

>> 3rd story: Biarritz to Santiago