|Journal for 28-August-2004 : Provins|
Left late this morning amid the endless European drizzle after a lengthy struggle to get the hotel bill corrected (to reflect we'd paid a deposit through the internet booking agency).
Navigation in France is proving difficult, despite our excellent (if expensive – at least compared with the freebies from the AAA) Michelin maps .
France is *very * densely settled. We past 5 or 6 separate towns/villages in the space that would occupy just one farm in Australia.
Picked our way around a section of closed road – which might have otherwise added to our navigation difficulties
I trod in some muddy road base, and it took half an hour to clean it all out of my shoes and cleats.
After a couple of hours we stopped in the parking area of a section of state forest (0.5km across – the forest, not the car park), he closest thing we could find to a public toilet.
Got some directions, mostly in sign language around Meaux.
France is criss crossed with an incredible network of paved bike paths, linking every small town with every other small town. It is well sign posted and pretty well maintained. The only drawback are the cars, as these bike paths double as the French road system.
The afternoon seemed to drag on as it started drizzling again. We almost outran an approaching storm until a serious headwind kicked in. Got dumped on by the heaviest rain of the trip so far for the last 20ks to Provins. If there is one thing they don't muck about with in Europe, it's rain!
Provins a real tourist town. It has a lot of history, even for a French town, with a very old old quarter and the remnants of the city walls. We managed to arrive on the day of the annual town fete, and there were people absolutely everywhere.
No luck finding a room to dry out in. We spent 2 hours riding 10km, bumping over the cobbles and getting lost every 2 blocks. We eventually cycled up to the campground (and by up I do mean up a hill) and got the tent erected just before it started bucketing again.
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