Friday, June 30, 2006


Trip dist: 130 kms. Trip time: 8 hrs, 56 mins. Tot dist: 3,266 kms.

This was a hard ride with lots of hills, and the weather today was very hot. I already mentioned that the Bourgogne region is very pretty, with all its vineyards and fields, but it also has some nice and (at least for me), surprising treats: castles! In Italy, especially in the northern regions of Trento, you will find a castle or castle ruin as you bike or drive along every 10 kms or so. Here, they're not as closely spaced apart, nor are they that obvious (in Italy they're always atop hills dominating the nearby villages, like sentinels), for they seem to be hidden away in the midst of very tiny towns, but they are just as charming and pretty. It feels a bit like a little stroke of good luck, running unexpectedly into one, or spotting one in the woods in the distance, these French chateaus, also because, a lot more than the Italian castles, which you can tell from afar are mostly fortresses and towers, these castles look just like what you're made to imagine the fairy tale castles are supposed to be like. And it is no wonder, I think. Charles Perrault of Sleeping Beauty fame was French, after all.

I arrived, by the way, into Saulieu, 40 kms from the day's destination Avallon, at approximately quarter to seven. So I pedalled like a madwoman from there on because I was worried about dark aproaching. It just goes to show you, how the terrain suddenly cooperated (for the previous 90 kms had been very rough), when I arrived to Avallon only an hour and a half later at 8:30 p.m., right on time to watch Italy pummel the Ukraine and advance to semifinals (though you have to admit, Italy has been, more than anything else, a rather lucky team in this World Cup so far, don't you think?). That, and that adrenaline can be a powerful thing!


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