Saturday, 27 June 2015

Day four Chateau Thierry to Epernay 65km 4.5 hours

Cakes: 1 croissant each; 0.5 pain au chocolat; 1 eclair; Coffee 2 x each

Today was a peach of a day!! It felt and smelt like a summer day. A pot pourri of the scents of flowers, hay, dust, and a little je ne sais quoi of something else.

A short post today, as it has been a tiring one. As well as an increase in distance, we also did some reasonable hills, and the temperature got up to 25 degrees. Toward the end of the day we were both a little on the 'glowing' side, and John was starting to go nuclear to the point where we had to have an emergency shop stop for chips (aka crisps), cookies (aka biscuits), and water.

The day's cycling was outstanding though. We started out following the river Marne, then headed off for Vincelles, Roncheres and Champoisy for a bit of a scenic detour. Vast swathes of arable land covered the top of the plateau, interspersed with tiny villages, each with a different type of church, and all with a sign with the name of a village, and flowers planted beneath the sign.

Our lunch spot was idyllic. A small tree offered shade, and our vantage point meant we could see for miles. Lunch was fabulous. Fresh baguette, local cheese, a tomato, a nectarine, and a shared eclaire...sheer heaven.

After lunch we cycled through a deliciously shady forest, followed by a  full on decent through vineyards with names we recognised having imbibed, and enjoyed, their produce on many occasions! Once back down and following quite roads parallel to the river, we continued to pass through tiny towns, often with ruins, and sometimes with massive statues pointing out over the hills. There were also a couple of challenging climbs.

Needless to Epernay was a sight for sore eyes, and a respite for tired legs. Our accommodation isn't quite as exciting as last night's, but comfortable, and with wireless so can't complain. We had a sublime meal in the Restaurant Theatre, accompanied by our first glass of champagne in the region. Roll on tomorrow. 

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