If every day started with a breakfast like this one life would be truly grand! In addition to wonderfully fresh baguette and brioche, there was homemade yoghurt, honey from the farm, homemade jam, fresh squeezed orange juice, a large pot of coffee and steaming hot milk to pour in it. Sublime!
Shortly after 10 we were on the road, managing to navigate back into town without any problem. (Much easier by daylight!)
On the main square the Saturday market was going full steam so we naturally stopped for a prowl around and ended up buying provisions for our evening dinner. [map style="width: 300px; height:300px; float:right; margin:10px 0px 0px 20px; border: 1px thin #777777;" gpx="http://saras-bike-travels.de/wp-content/uploads/gpxFiles/20130824_day1_reduced.gpx"]
From there we headed the couple of blocks down to the river and easily found the “Loire à Vélo” signs which were to be our guides for the next two weeks. We followed the signs (and the gps in my smartphone) and headed southeast towards Briare. The route was pleasant but not spectacular, taking us through countryside and little villages over rural roads varying from teeny to really teeny and the occasional dirt path.
There is something inherently cool about a canal bridge crossing over a river. Since I had already experienced a couple along the Canal du Midi I wasn’t so astonished as Werner, but the bridge at Briare is truly a sight to behold. It was constructed in the 1890s and includes Gustave Eifel among the list of builders, so as you can imagine the architectural detail is fantastic. At 662 meters, it was until 2003 the longest aqueduct in Europe.
We spent a goodly amount of time photographing from all possible angles and naturally pushed the bikes across (it was a little too scary to ride – only about 1 meter wide with no railing on the canal side). After our lunch at a café adjacent to the bridge we decided to head back – it kept looking like it was going to rain.
The route back was uneventful – thank goodness only a few drops, no cloudburst. When we got back to Gien we visited the tourist office and then toured the faience museum (the town is famous for its glazed pottery). Before we headed home we visited the supermarket to stock up on water and wine for dinner.
Dinner that evening was a picnic made up of our treats from the market. Since we were both still tired from the previous day’s long drive, we made an early night of it.