1: Lots of Sitting, but not on a Bike

After an extremely hectic past two days (new windows-construction chaos & cleaning, appointments / work at the theater, work at home, packing, etc.) I am on the road!

I got to bed after 11pm and at 4:50 it was rise & shine! Amazingly enough, I accomplished everything on my to-do list and was out the door promptly at 6:30 and had enough time to stop on the way to the train station and buy a Butterbreze (a soft pretzel, sliced across and spread with butter, my traditional train-journey treat).

The weather Gods were also on my side – it was grey as I packed my bike and rode to the station and started to sprinkle in the few minutes I waited on the platform. Just as we got under way, about 5 minutes out of Augsburg, it started to pour down. I hope my luck continues like that throughout the next 12 days – the weather reports aren’t all that promising.

The TGV was either shorter than usual or the engineer spaced out, because it stopped way at the front of the platform and not where it was indicated. Which means of course that I had to trot down the platform pushing my bike with my packs all in my hand – I had already unloaded the bike like a good girl. Thankfully a nice man helped me load the bike onto the train and I was able to get quickly settled into my seat.

In Stuttgart I was joined by a nice French couple on the way back home from their Danube trip. They were very friendly and we exchanged a couple of travel stories and helped one another off the train when we arrived in Paris.

Once again, it was a hoot to ride through Paris. I stopped a few times to take pics and made it to Montparnasse in plenty of time to catch the train, although I must say, one should never cut it close when traveling from a new train station. First of all I had to find the track—turns out I should have come in a door on another street so that I didn’t have to take the elevator with my bike (and an irritated woman with a suitcase). When I finally got to the train, it was very, very long and my car was waaaay at the other end of the platform. Good thing I had plenty of time.

I changed trains in Angers (thank goodness they had ramps to the platforms) and was in Saumur and had arrived at my hotel by shortly after 4:30. By 5:00 I was out of the hotel and eating my first ice cream of the week—a really tasty caramel. Yum. I wandered around town for a bit and then paused for a celebratory Cremant de Loire on Place St. Pierre.

Dinner certainly revived my tired spirits! I found a bistro on a small side street and ordered a menu: A salad composed of cubed beets and Roquefort cheese topped with shredded basil and a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts (yum); 2 herbed lamb chops accompanied by oven roasted potatoes and braised carrots with cumin seeds (double yum!); followed by a modest portion of apple crumble (not bad, but my apple crisp is better).

After dinner I walked a bit by the river and appreciated the sunset and views of the castle, then back to the hotel for an early night.

Day 1

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