Day 18 Sweating it out
Woke up a bit early to make sure we got an earlier start as today is supposed to be warm as well, although not as bad as yesterday.
We indulged in hotel breakfast as it was the last of our anniversary gift to ourselves. Usually we skip it and spend ¼ as much on coffee and pastries from the local shop. They had a great variety and it was nice to enjoy a few alternatives to croissants.
The night never really cooled off (I think record high low temperatures were set across Europe last night) and we were immediately noticing it. However, we still wanted to stop and enjoy Chateau Villenadry gardens which were the most extensive and beautiful we've seen so far. It was a nice hour long walk through them before we were finally on our bikes headed downstream again.
A strong headwind greeted us and we formed our goose flight pattern to help speed us along. We focused and pushed hard for an hour and a ½ and were slowed by the wind and the smoke blowing up out of the south from the fires in Spain and southern France. We never imagined we would be dealing with heavy smoke and bad air quality on the Loire. Global climate change cannot be denied.
As we sped along the dyke, a rider pulled up alongside us and nodded in appreciation at our effort and asked if we were french. Once he knew we we were American he said 'Welcome to France' as he gestured proudly around him at the beautiful scenery and good biking. Welcome indeed!
View from our room
Shortly after, we noticed a distinct change - the wind felt cooler as it shifted from the south to out of the west! In the matter of minutes, we were enjoying a much cooler day and clearer air! The weather has turned!
We pulled in to Turquant and found a great crepes salad place, got settled in a very cool old hotel and had an amazing view of the chateau that was old enough to be part castle. We spent the afternoon exploring the caves where we had a tour of a mushrrom farm in them and also went on a wine tasting in the caves. There were a lot of reasons the caves were built but one of the main ones was for mining the limestone used throughout the Loire to build the chateaus. Now people have repurposed them largely for wine production and shops.
Cave wine tasting
We also toured the chateau turned contemporary art museum and realized there is a large difference between modern art and contemporary art. Turns out I like modern art and and maybe more selective of what contemporary art I'm a fan of.
View from the top of chateau back at our room. Sara is in the hotel window as she needed a break from all the art.