St-Alban-s-Limagnole et Montauban

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Friday early morning heard the sound of rain, so I went back to sleep.
Awoke before 8am and packed. Having done some TaiChi exercises. No room for a full set. 

Rode off in blue skies with threatening grey. 
Took quite the time, about an hour, to get of Lyon and it’s environs. Some awesome sights of the city, as the road snaked up the hills.

Found a place for breakfast. An eclair (chocolate, very good) and an espresso. 
Also bought a pain-aux-raisins, but they used pizza dough. So saved that. 

Ran through awesome country-side. 
Stopped in Le Puy-en-Velay to checkout the HUGE statue (Sebastapol cannons courtesy of Russia).
Ate most of my pain-aux-raisins. The bit where the custard had moistened the pizza dough. 
Then rode on around the church on a 100m rock. Impressive. Then saw another huge statue, that seemed to on a smaller rock with another church.
Wikipedia made no mention of that. strange. 
Le Puy-en-Velay is the start of the French camino. So Rudi (yesterday’s Dutch biker) must have come through here, as he’s done the camino.
Must have pushed his bike and trailer up most of these hills!!!

The scenery became even more outstanding. 
Autumn in all her glory.
Weird rocks too. I say weird as I could not figure them out. Often looked like broken flint “pebbles”. Then I’d ride by a cliff to see what looked like twisted columns of lava flows, topped with the same pebbles. But usually, just the pebbles could be seen, even in most of the cliffs. These were lined up as walls to block off the lay-bys under the cliffs.
Valley was big enough to house a power-generating dam. 

After some ups and downs, reached what seemed to be a plateau. Reminded me of the ground around Hadrian’s Wall. 

Who says advertising doesn’t work?
After a while of seeing the signage, ended up in an auberge in St-Alban-s-Limagnole. Just knocked on the door and got a room.
After I’d provided some TLC for the bike and unpacked, went for a stroll. Ended up with this panorama……

Walked back down for supper. 
There I met Claude, a pilgrim with many grandchildren. It was a brilliant evening 🙂
Claude is a trumpeter. We started talking music. I mentioned CBC’s 12 Songs of Christmas, Whitehorse and Blues Brothers 2. Claude showed me what his band did (see YouTube) some years ago. Brill!!!

Saturday morning came soon enough. 
Lay in bed but could not hear the promised rain. So up, and blues skies 🙂
First parade on the bike.
Le petit dejeuner. Croissant and cafe au lait.

Then off for a glorious days ride. Blue skies. Back roads. Scenic vistas (Brecon Beacons writ LARGE). Bit windy. Then I checked the temperature. 4degC. But the sun is shining, and I am puttering along. No rush. 

Next event was the cattle drive. 
Evidently it is time to take the cattle down from their summer pastures. Cowbells and all. 
I stopped a couple of times, then lucked out as they drove most of the herd into a picnic area. Was able to creep by the remaining cows and on-coming traffic.

And as I rode into the lower elevations, the temperature rose to a heady 15degC. Think it was warmer earlier. Straight roads, mean higher speeds. And windchill. hahaha

Stopped off at a random village for lunch. Looked like a one-horse town, and the last horse was thinking of leaving. Pity. 
But a boulangerie provided the lunch. 
And the sun was shining. 

Rode on to Caussade, where I filled up. Realised I was tired. Cold weather is tiring. Stopped in downtown, for a coffee. No room in town (below 100euros).
Took a stroll into the church.

Found a room some 20km away and rode onto Montauban.
Found the hotel. Despite TomTom’s directions. And the trees obscuring the sign.
Booked in. Some convention in progress. 
Got the wifi to work for my laptop but the Swiss do not like BlackBerry!!!!! NB: Sign-in page failed to a “.ch” hence Swiss.

TLC for the bike. After I moved it out of the way for two blondes. Yea Gods. If Barry’s Toni had been driving, I would not have bothered moving the bike. Toni can drive tractors, so the gap I’d left would have been easy. But the fact these blonds asked, made me worry. Once I saw the reversing, glad I moved. 
Good news. I scored a primo parking spot. 

Looked up a possible restaurant and strode over. Meals only done for lunch. But still had duck confit…..

Could have been hotter. But a free beer, sorted that out. Thank you Mamo (bartender)

Then walked back via the cathedral and main square.

A stop for soup at a chinese…..

……excellent broth. 

And so back to the hotel. 

Where the big question is “To Pau or not to Pau?”