Sunday, 14 November 2010

September 22nd - The foul sausage and Oradour-sur-Glane

Well rested, we were packed and broke camp at 8am. The weather was typically English, and a far cry from the climates of Spain and North Africa we had been treated to.
We lit out of camp, and hit the N10 to Bordeaux.
It was a little over 300 miles to Oradour-sur-Glane, and I figured with a steady ride, we could be there by late afternoon.

Feeling peckish, I pulled over at a motorway service cafe at Lilaire, and went in search of food inside. ordering a mixture of salads, croissants, (which Shadwell was determined to call Krassonts), and a lovely looking French sausage.
The sausage was awful, it smelled foul, and seemed to be made up of intestines, or offal of some or other description. I've had sausages in various other countries, but this had to be the worst stinking sausage I'd ever come across, and even Daz, after taking a bite refused another helping.

Refuelling, and getting a caffeine fix, we were back on the motorway, and having passed through Bordeaux, we were heading for Angouleme. Tiredness hit all at once, and again, I found myself dozing off behind the bars, jerking awake suddenly, convinced I was on the wrong side of the road, and having no recollection of the last 10 miles or so.
We factored several roadside stops into the ride, to combat the fatigue of the last few weeks that was slowly beginning to take its toll.

Back at camp last night, Shad had heard that Alan had left Marrakesh, and was riding non-stop through to Cueta, had made Algeciras, and was blasting through Spain, very much the same way we had done, and was determined to catch us up before we got to St Malo in two days time.
Hats off to him, he's a great rider, and was very much missed on this last leg of the journey, and I reckon all of us were secretly hoping he'd pull it off.

The route through to Oradour was uneventful, and uninspiring, but I had always known that that would be the case. After Oradour, we could take a leisurely ride through the back roads to St Malo, but for now, I had a single minded purpose to get to this martyred village, and had convinced Shad and Darren that it was well worth seeing.

We arrived at Oradour-sur-Glane at 5:30pm, only to find that the village had closed at 5pm. Not to be deterred, Darren and myself jumped over the wall, and went exploring.
Within a few minuted, I was accosted by a French guide, who politely told me that the village was now closed. I pleaded my case that I had ridden several thousand miles to get here, and would be gone in the morning.
She took pity on me, and told me that they were locking the church up in 15 minutes, so I best see that first, thereafter, I was free to wander through the village, but needed to leave the same way I entered.

I felt incredibly lucky, not only was I eventually here, but we had the village to ourselves, not another tourist in sight, and with the sun just setting, it made it a truly humble, and unforgettable visit. Thank you Mrs French lady, whoever you were.

Darren and myself spent about 90 minutes walking around, taking pictures. Shad had elected to stay behind at the bikes, and to go off and recce a possible campsite for the evening.
Our visit at Oradour over, we headed out of town, through the back roads in the direction of Confolens, and Ruffec.
We found a superb campsite in the woods at Champagne-Mouton, and were greeted by the Dutch owner, who supplied us with Beer and fresh bread as we set up camp. A delightfull end to the day, and some gorgeous scenery. Darren and Shad retired to their tents at around 10pm, I had another redbush tea and a smoke, then, after not too much thought about it, went off to the "bloc sanitaire" and had a shave.

With much lathering and shaving, three weeks worth of beard disappeared in 10 minutes. I felt refreshed, and smiling smugly to myself, retired to write the daily diary.

Tomorrow, the plan is to be near Nantes, were we are to have lunch with Shads brother.

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