France - Day 17 : Ratrace
Around 9 o'clock, a man arrived to collect fees and clean the toilets. The campsite turned out to be only 3,40 euros for both of us. Then we left in search of a bakery. There wasn't any. We did find an epicerie where we bought 'miel de acacia'. After finishing the 0,75 kg of jam, we also bought a jar of 'gelee de coings'. It tasted fine, but we didn't really know what it was. After breakfast, it was already noon.
Today's route would be flat, so we could still cycle a good distance. We arrived in Chaussin just before 2 o'clock. We sat down at a fountain with a small pond next to it. Bram took his water bottle and filled it with water. I told him it wasn't wise to drink it. According to Bram it was just mineral water, it had just come out of a tap and was then aerated by the fountain. It also tasted fine. We continued eating when a homeless man arrived. He carried a shopping cart with all sorts of stuff and asked, 'sind sie fransoosich?'. I had no idea what he said. After three times, I realized he was asking in German if we were French. No, we are Dutch. Keësekopfen (cheeseheads) he called us. He didn't understand how we only had 'marmelade' to eat, 'keine käse, keine wurst'. He stayed for a while and then asked 'ik hoffe sie habe keine angst von tieren' meaning 'I hope you guys aren't scared of animals'. We were thinking, oh no, what is he getting out of his cart? He took out three rats and put them on the edge of the pond. Then he threw them in. I almost died laughing, not just because of the swimming rats and the guy, but mostly because of the 'clean water' Bram had been drinking from the same fountain. The rats were swimming there regularly. The man was constantly counting them 'ein, zwei, drei'. At one moment 'ein, zwei, scheisse'. The third rat was gone. After a few seconds, we found it walking along the bottom. The man quickly got it out and threw it on the pond's edge. The half-drowned rat stayed there for a while. Then the man noticed another had crawled into his tobacco bag and threw it back in the pond. We went to a supermarket to buy some clean water.
The remainder of the route seemed to only go downhill, because after the mountains every level road seemed easy. We had been carrying a bag of macaroni and a jar of tomato sauce for six days which we cooked for dinner. It was still 40 km to the next campsite. The road there was large, but included a steep climb. The campsite was in the village of Gray. Before arriving, we needed to cross an industrial area filled with felled trees. It didn't seem to be a nice town.
We found the campsite right away. The front desk was closed but there still was someone to help us. We were told to follow the 'jolie jeune fille' to register, the pretty girl. I pitched my tent right away, with some help from my bike. I had a good shower and brought an extra t-shirt to wash while showering. When I finished, I realized I had been washing my pants instead of my shirt. Fortunately, it dries fast. At night it stayed pretty dry.