We are overwhelmed by the friendliness of the French people we have met. Our B&B hosts at Torreilles made us so welcome in their charming home with its balconies and ivy clad courtyard. Home made apple flan for breakfast was a first for us all but would be happily repeated! We have only to stop for a few moments to consult a map before either a motorist or passerby will stop to offer assistance, other cyclists offer a cheery wave or “bonjour” as they pedal by.
On Monday’s ride to the south, along the Mediterranean coast, we were amazed to see a large group of Capybara, large members of the rodent family native to South America, swimming and playing on the banks of a river right on the edge of town. Apparently they are descendents of escapees from fur farms in the 1930s. The terrain is very flat here with a maze of dedicated cycle paths over land reclaimed from marshes and the sea. Wide sandy beaches dot the coastline of this holiday mecca, still early in the season, they are not too busy yet but it is easy to imagine how it must be in the summer judging by the number of campsites and hotels. Collioure, our destination for this day ride, nestles prettily in the northern most extremes of the Pyrenees, dotted with ancient hilltop castles, which makes for a stunning backdrop to this quaint coastal resort.
Gavin earned his ‘navigators’ badge yesterday as he successfully guided us through a complicated network of cycleways, towpaths, roads and villages across lagoons and peninsulas, whilst avoiding the busy towns of Perpignan and Narbonne, to get us to Vias. Although a long ride of 73 miles (113 km) the terrain was completely flat and the weather benign, not too hot and very little wind. We heard our first cuckoo of the year aswell. The lovely lady at our final, country house, B&B took pity on our tired legs and drove us into town for our supper then came and collected us afterwards. Vias brings us full circle, as it is very near to Beziérs airport, for our flight home on Wednesday afternoon.