France - Day 17 : Ratrace

Around 9 a man arrived to collect fees and clean the toilets. The campsite turned out to be only 3,40 euro for the both of us. Then we left in search for a bakery. There wasn't any. We did find an epicerie where we bought 'miel de acacia'. As we had finished the 0,75 kg of jam we also bought a jar of 'gelee de coings'. It taste 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 smart 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 sort of stuff and asked 'sind sie fransoosich?'. I had no idea what he said. After three times I realized that 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 pont. 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' that Bram had been drinking out of 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 edge of the pont. The half drowned rat stayed there for a while. Then the man noticed another one had crawled in his tobacco bag and threw it back in the pond. We went to a supermarket to buy some clean water.

The remainder of the day 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 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 of 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.


Today we cycled fast over large roads.

We also had enough food which helped us to cycle a large distance.

Daily distance 173,33 km

Average speed 24 km/h