21.07.2009 - 21.07.2009 33 °C
Unfortunately the stats for the day aren't much use as I forgot to turn the GPS on until we were well on our way and accidentally turned it off well before our endpoint. The map still shows the biggest downer of the day though...having to backtrack on ourselves in a 4mile round trip
Going the wrong way may rank as the highest gumption trap (see Delay on the Way from Calais) possible in a cycling trip, even worse than large, pointless hills, as at least then some ground is gained. In previous trips these had been fairly commonplace as a combination of sub-par maps and fast-and-loose continental road signs meant a certain amount of wrong turns were almost guaranteed. Maps do still have their uses for us, particularly in gauging elevation, but part of the reason for purchasing a GPS was to avoid these instances. Until today, we had had an exemplar success rate.
We managed to find our first and only full Piste Cyclables route this morning on leaving Luxembourg,and it was sublime. It somehow managed to bypass all the traffic, suburbs and elevation of Luxembourg city into Hesperingen,which naturally left me keen to find the Southern route to near our first objective of the border town Schengen. Instead an overland route took place. Hills slowly came and went. Winds increased. A fly flew in my eye. Then we ended up circling into Roeser where we had no option but to cut back on ourselves completely.
We arrived in Schengen on a dramatic hill overlooking the valley and the Moselle river. We immediately tried to size it for routes but all we could see was a steep descent, a motorway and several mudflats with no real connections between them. So, it wasn't as fun an entry to Aslace-Lorraine as it had been for Belgium and Luxembourg, but we were quick to find a cycle path which adjoined the river and began to follow it South to Thionsville. We felt so fatigued by this point with sore limbs, and asses especially, every push seemed a major effort. We'd forgotten the peculiar habit for French stores to close for the afternoon so had near no food or water on a very hot day. An old couple overtook us twice. We're now in Thionsville sunburned and considering cautiously the best way to proceed.
So, who knows where we'll be tomorrow - maybe Nancy, twinned with my University city of Newcastle, we'll just have to wait and see.
Ttfn from France's industrial heartland,