Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 3: Côtes du Rhone

I've fallen a bit behind in my blogging. Our days are very full and we don't always have great internet access at the places we are staying. But I shall try to keep up. I enjoy blogging. Sometimes, however, I feel it is a jealous mistress, and I just want to chuck it and sit downstairs like everyone else is doing right now. It's the end of an afternoon (5:45). We had a hard climb today (Thursday), and people are having happy hour. But we have a tour meeting at 7:10, followed by dinner at 7:30, followed by bed, followed by getting up in the morning and starting all over again. So, if I am going to blog, I have to do it now.

Looking over routes for the next day

So enough whining.

We started out yesterday (Wednesday) morning in Annecy and had an immediate challenging climb up and away from the lake. 

"Chez" means, "at the house of" in French. So, this sign literally means "at the house of the gays."

Stopping for a reconnoitre 

On the way up to another col in late morning. When we reached it, we were in the middle of a wide spot in the road with farmhouses and barns bordering the road. I thought, "Geez, all that work and no view. Then, we rounded a corner and the Lac du Bourget came into view (below).

We stopped for lunch in a little village called Chanaz

Mark and I had take-out quiche and a sandwich on a bench in this square while most everyone else had a sit down lunch under the trees.

During one of the (many) times we stopped along the way to consult our maps, I looked down and noticed this black cat resting in the shade of the monument. I thought it was humorous because the sign above it pointed out the way to the Col du Chat (the pass of the Cat).

In mid-afternoon, we entered the lovely landscape of vineyards on the slopes rising from the Rhone River.

It was lovely.

After a long day (6670 vertical feet, 74.2 miles), we arrived at our hotel in the little village of Champagneux. The above photograph was taken from the balcony of our room of the village church. At 6:00, the church bells rang the hour, then there were two series of three bells, then it seemed as if the bell tower was going nuts, ringing away. It was beautiful. I wondered about the pealing of the bells, then a thought occurred to me today: the bells were ringing the Angelus. I heard the same pattern today as we were passing through a village at noon, and that's when the thought came: church bells have historically called parishioners to recite the Angelus at 6:00 a.m., noon and 6:00 p.m.

The dinner at the hotel where we stayed last night was fantastic. Apparently, our cycling tour company has been coming there for well over 15 years.

Pre-appetizer, featuring snails, lots of garlic and other things. It was good.

Appetizer of salty ham and cantaloupe. 

The group

Somewhat blurry, but these are the two other couples from Salt Lake who are on the tour.

Main course. Delicious.

Dessert was a choice between Crème brûlée, apple tart and ice-cream cake with meringue icing. I opted for the cake. OMG. So good. 

While we were eating, I slipped away to take these pictures of the sunset hour.

View from in front of the church near our hotel

View from the front of the church near our hotel

Detail of the parish church door at sunset

So there you have it. It's now 6:25. I've been working on this post for over 45 minutes. Such is the life of a blogger.

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