We’ve finally managed a proper short day! Only seven or eight miles to tonight’s destination and we arrived in time for a late morning coffee. It’s been much cooler today too, so easier all round for blistered feet and pink limbs.
We rejoined the GR 655 path south of Blois then followed it along the edge of beautiful beech woodland belonging to the Chateau de Beauregard estate. I loved the random board someone has put up beside the path to illustrate the relative distance between the planets.
A string of pretty villages followed, as we climbed the hills south of the river – we haven’t seen it at all today. There are plenty of cyclists on the path; cycling frankly looks a very appealing mode of transport on these clay, quiet roads. Some seem to start their drinking very early (this was around 10 am!)Before we knew it, we were on the outskirts of Cande outside the Boulangerie/Patisserie Rosie had found on Google maps. Coffee first, then a sourdough sandwich and gallette for lunch, with macarons, home-made biscotti and more coffee for afters. We have to replace all those calories we’re burning, somehow!
The prize for the oddest sight of the day goes to the half a dozen circus camels grazing placidly in a field on the edge of town. The grass everywhere looks very parched after the extraordinary heatwave earlier this summer. Our Airbnb is lovely, with a big, airy upstairs room with lovely views and a host happy to let us use her washing machine and clothes line this afternoon. Hurrah for clean clothes without having to handwash in a tiny sink and drape damp clothes around the room. Rosie’s knee is sore so she spent the afternoon reading in a horizontal position (aka on the bed!) I relaxed too then had an amble round the village, scoping out the start of tomorrow’s route and the two tributaries of the Loire which bond the village.
We headed for dinner to a Portuguese restaurant we’d been told about just half a mile or so out of town (why would you not?) It turned out to be a bizarre place – deserted crazy golf and children’s play park with a smart looking restaurant, complete with piano and dance floor, in the middle. There were only two customers apart from us and the food was a bit disappointing; reheated in a microwave, we suspect. The Vinho Verde was good, though. Our Airbnb host told us afterwards that Blois has a large Portuguese population, who flock here at the weekends when the ambience is completely different.
We are headed for Amboise tomorrow night but that’s at least a 20 mile walk, so I think we’ll be making judicious use of public transport for some of it. It’s too far for Rosie’s knee in its current state and I’m not sure my blisters can face it without company. I guess the lack of flexibility is the disadvantage of booking ahead in Airbnbs rather than using the pilgrim hostels we used last time. The level of comfort for not much extra money more than compensates though!