Day 18 Monday 18 June
Villeneuve sur Lot, Lot et Garonne, Aquitaine, France. 46 km Total 970 km
We left our valleyside site with swallows in nests at the toilets, with nobody asking us for money. The fixed gear on the broken bike worked well, all along the valley to Fumel, where we had to climb impressively high to reach the town. All shops were closed and we were lucky to be able to buy yesterday’s croissants for breakfast. In this area plums are the big product, except they are ‘prunes’. The country we cycled through along the valley was lush fruit-growing land. I cycled past the giant water sprinklers hoping for stray spray
We decided to continue to the even larger town of Villeneuve, fortunately again along the valley bottom, located a pleasant campsite and in stifling heat, put the tent up and ate lunch. A group of French people with cycles and small tents are drinking in the shade and invite us to join them. We decline because we are on the way to town to locate a cycle shop. We find a large one, also closed for Monday. It is too hot and sultry to walk around much. We sit at a busy Portuguese café. Lorries rush past, noise and heat. It’s still too hot to eat at suppertime. I’m irritable and dissatisfied. We have cycled 50km today but in the wrong direction. Hopefully tomorrow we can make this up.
Clouds blow up quickly. A wind bends back the trees and shows white underleaves. A mist of dust from the building work behind blows across the site. Thunder. We get in the tent, enjoying being able to do this without being too hot.