From Rochefort I followed the signposted Velodysee route to the south. On the way I saw some birds which I identified as ibises. Last time I had seen one, it was mummified and it had been dead for several thousands of years. An Egyptian boy had put it in my hands when I visited Hermopolis where in pharaonic times great numbers of these dead birds had been mummified to baffle later Egyptologists.
The campsite in Hourtin was in the forest and the deer were bellowing. Later in the night I heard noises not unlike someone throwing a couple of broomsticks on the floor. I wasn’t sure what that meant. Maybe it was just someone throwing broomsticks on the floor.
In the afternoon the wind picked up and I had trouble crossing a bridge because the wind kept pushing me to the sides, making it difficult for me to keep up speed and balance.
The next day I crossed the Gironde Estuary by ferry, on which I met Stephan and Corinne, a French couple on a short cycling tour. It was nice to talk to someone and they were also instrumental in the making of this photograph:
The third day I decided to have an easy day and cycled a mere fifty kilometers to Ares. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed it very much. The campsite had a swimming pool and since I was the only guest I could make full use of it. First time I had to unpack my swimming trunks.
The fourth day I made it to Saint-Eulalie-sur-Barn. Cyclists were passing by me and we yelled bonjour! They left me in a smell of washing powder. I occasionally rinse my clothes, but only if they get really dirty do I wash them with shampoo. In the evening there was more throwing with broomsticks..
The fifth day I cycled to Messanges. In the morning it started to drizzle and after an hour or so, it started to rain heavily. Later in the afternoon it cleared up and got quite warm. In Messanges I found a campsite that was closed but the manager let me pitch my tent for free. He warned me there was no hot water available, but it being balmy weather, I thought I’d brave a cold shower, which I did. From Messanges I cycled to the Atlantic Ocean and admired the might and roar of the breaking waves.
The sixth day I continued to Biarritz. Following the Velodyssee didn’t mean I didn’t get lost anymore. Every once in a while I missed a sign and cycled happily in the wrong direction. I asked directions of an elderly couple and the man explained I had to return to Souston plage, miming a swimming person to emphasise he meant beach. In Biarritz I checked in into the auberge de jeunesse. I thought it would be nice to sit on a chair for a while.
The seventh day is another rest day. As I’m writing this blog the temperature is 28 degrees Celsius. Summer’s not over yet.