So I am blogging as Bryan reads at a table in a restaurant in Sète, a port city on the Mediterranean coast. I had spaghetti and Bryan had Boulabaisse – the famous fish/seafood soup. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I tried a bit and it was okay but while I like seafood I tend to not like fish. The spaghetti was good comfort food and hopefully the feel good feeling will stay with me as I climb the tremendous hill to the hostel we are staying tonight. When we were pushing our bikes up the beginning of the hill towards the hostel we said “Hope it is worth it”. When we turned the last corner onto the street leading to the hostel that feeling was reiterated as our previously steep slope just doubled in intensity. It took a lot of effort to push a fully loaded bike up the hill. And then we reached the gate and there were these long flights of vertical stairs that kept on going. We ditched our bikes just inside the gate. Guess they will stay there for the night. Was it worth it? Well, the view is great but the room is cold and sterile. Perhaps I’m feeling just a little bitter about the experience and it shows. The rest of the day was otherwise perfect.
Today we woke to a fabulous day for cycling in the South of France. Clear skies, a little bit too much of a wind, but relatively warm. We passed a sign around noon that had the temperature at 14 degree Celsius but by then Bryan and I were already in shorts and short-sleeves. It did get a bit warmer too as we approached the sea.
In Narbonne we started the day with touristy stuff and were surprised to see some stores and a large canal-side open market in full swing at 9:30 in the morning on a Sunday. Strange. Very strange. We stopped to view an old piece of Roman road. Bryan hoped that it was a little bit smoother during the days of its use. Nearby was the Cathedral which in one book was described as “a freak but a magnificent one”. It simply consisted of the choir section of a huge gothic cathedral – the nave and remainder of the church having been left unfinished after a dispute arose between the church and town. In order to complete the structure, the town walls needed to be moved which was never agreed upon. So the cathedral is basically a third finished but what stands there rivals Amien’s and Paris’ Notre Dame in scale. The height is even more emphasized by the truncated length. So yes, a freak. But pretty impressive.
After our tourist duties done, we hit the road. Our path today took us through mostly flat farmland (grapevines of course) and ended with a 20 km long ride with the Mediterranean on one side and marsh on the other. The traffic was busy as obviously people were out enjoying the weather along the beachfront. We stopped to dip our hands in the sea and watched a British family dressed in wetsuits play cricket on the beach.
While cycling through the city of Sète we passed another cyclist well ladened who had flagged down a car to ask directions. He was going the direction we just came from so we asked him if we could help. Bryan had correctly deduced that he was German. Oliver was making his way possibly to Gibralter and had just traversed the Med. We exchanged some pointers on the journeys, snapped a few pictures and we went on our separate directions. Now I feel like I’m travelling light. Even if it was almost impossible to push my bike up that hill. And speaking of hill, now I have to haul my tired ass back up that hill so that I can go and make my bed. Au revoir et bonne nuit. J’éspère.