Yesterday’s blog posted today, as we had no WiFi last night! Another longish day, 15 or 16 miles, so we decided to forego the pleasure of breakfast at our Airbnb and headed off early with the plan of picking up something in Beaugency. This gave us a lovely cool 90 minutes of walking in golden, early morning light – first down to rejoin the path then along the river to Beaugency.
This turned out to be a good plan. We picked up an excellent almond croissant and pain au raisan to eat in a sun warmed square of this pretty village, plus an emergency baguette in case we find ourselves caught short again at lunchtime. We resisted the patisserie, for now…From Beaugency we followed a mirror-smooth Loire to Lestiou – through shady woodland at first but later through large fields of maize and other less easily identified cereals. I must try and work out what some of these are. There are plenty of signs telling us that the woodland around the road is preserved for hunting, though what we’re not sure – wild boar, maybe? Large plantations of birch carry huge balls of mistletoe on their branches but I can’t believe they are grown solely for that!
With blisters appearing and the temperature climbing we decided to cut off a bit of a corner and, instead of following the bend in the river onwards to Mer, walked in a more or less straight line through a series of pretty villages – Avaray, Courbouzon and the gloriously-named Herbilly. We’d hoped one of these would provide an opportunity for lunch but French villages are curiously-deserted places around midday, so no luck. We did manage to scrump a few tasty figs to keep our hunger at bay. By the time we got to the pretty town of Mer, around 3pm, we were pretty desperate for both proper food and a rest.I left Rosie and her blistered feet on a roadside bench and foraged in the local Intermarché for tinned sardines and salad to go with our baguette (very ‘Swallows and Amazons’) and stopped at the patisserie on the way back to pick up a ‘Paris Brest’ to share. These are choux pastry buns filled with praline which Rosie’s been keen to try since they featured in Bake Off.
We couldn’t get into our Airbnb until 6.30 pm but finally found a shady central square to doze and read until it was time. Tonight’s accommodation featured some very blingy decor and one bedroom with a shower built into one corner but no complaints. The friendly host wasn’t much bothered by our lack of French comprehension and chatted away regardless!
We’d decided pizza might be the best food on offer and, though the only trattoria in town was closed, we got very acceptable pizzas in the end from the local pizza/kebab/burger joint – eating outside in the square, watching the world go by, is always fun!