We love the slow pace of eating here in the mountains where we are. However it does challenge our bed time. I don't think we've gotten in and out of a restaurant in under 2 hours! Last night was an amazing meal on a porch with a great view of the L'Eyrieux river. But the bike ride home was in dusk and we werent asleep until 11 pm.
6.30 came a little to soon but we all got up and moving. Out of the hotel at 7.30 and eating our patisserie breakfast as the church bells rang in the faithful. Even on Monday. Well, off to our church, we climbed on the bikes and climbed up the mountain. It started well enough with a great grade on an old railroad track tread.
10 km later we left that trail for a quiet road the went through a few towns and the grade turned more moderate. As we went further the road became smaller and one older gentleman looked at us and said something in french which Andrew translated as 'something about mountains and steep' to which we said Merci and climbed up the ever-steepening road. Thankful the air was cool and the cloud cover kept it that way. Unfortunately the cloud cover thickened and the clouds started too rumble. What's that? A lake with snack bar? Just as we stowed our bikes the sky opened up and we sat down for coffee and watch the storm passes.
As we left we were looking at a short 10 km left but a stout 500m of climbing! We climbed up and up in to the beautiful national park here. We arrived at our 'caravan' cottage, the last of our prearranged stays, at noon very hungry. We dropped our bags and finished the last 150m of the climb in the rain to Gerbier de Jonc and the source of the Loire! And a restaurant! Another amazing 2 hour meal and then we climbed to the top of the Jonc to see the view.
And then we were looking at it, the source of the Loire. A small spring pouring out of the wooden pipe. We will follow it for the next 1020 km to where it empties into the Atlantic.
Back to our caravan for a nice evening and dinner by the purveyors. Hoping for an early bed tonight! All told 31 short km today but a hefty 1000m of climbing!
Heading out from Let Cheylard
Snack bar by a lake and out of the rain
The source of the Loire: good tasting water!
1020km - even the sign says so