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Day 10, Who needs a smartphone?

Big day today as it started with a ferry to cross the Gironde estuary. Destination then just beyond Lac de Hourtin, outside village of Carcans.

First to breakfast, even before the hotel owner, so dining room door locked and place in complete darkness. Immediately worry I've missed something like the clocks have changed or Putin has nuked Europe. Went back to my room to contemplate my next move.

Fortunately heard noises downstairs - he's just late. Breakfast is pretty basic, but still getting over a serious 3 course jobby last night, so probably not a bad thing. However, whatever I say about splendid lunches and dinners here, the fact is the French are totally rubbish at breakfast. Whether we're talking porridge or the full English, there's got to be a business opportunity bringing these here.

I'm also the first one at the ferry terminal. It's all locked up, I'm an hour early. After a few minutes another cyclist turns up - a young Frenchman and he starts asking questions about how/where do you pay. Given I don't have a clue about most of what is going on here, I'm amazed locals think I'm an expert. Unless it's a bit of a game - let's ask the old idiot a question and see what rubbish he comes out with. Anyway this person becomes my mate of the day and we have a long conversation in a mix of Franglais on all matters cycling. We part company after the ferry crossing as I've got a new strategy on navigation. I'm now in a quiet part of France, I'm pretty sure the minor roads will be largely traffic free, they go straight between places which might have food and drink on offer. The entire route only involves two different B roads. I can manage this in my head. Google is consigned to the bag. No meandering today.

The day goes to plan until the end.

Coffee stop after the first hour in a very pretty village square, Soulac Sur Mer.

The big white navigation mark in the sky is doing its job.

Lunch stop is in Hourtin. Now this has a personal connection as there's a massive fresh water lake nearby - we're talking so big you can't see one end from the other. We brought Kate here when the Laser 4.7 euros were on and she was in the Team GB junior squad.

Timed it just right for a lunch 3 course menu of the day in a restaurant in the town square. I wanted to sit outside so I could keep an eye on the bike. The waitress wouldn't agree - too much effort for her to walk outside. So I tried to sit inside right by the door with all the other customers. Instead she directed me miles away into this back room. I'm wondering if its got something to do with my aroma? Trouble is my strategy for washing your kit every night in the shower doesn't work when the weather's so crap and it won't dry by the morning. So I think I might be starting to smell. There's no choice and I don't understand the menu, but decide what the hell, let's see what comes. Whereas in Spain I know this leads to disaster as a prehistoric fish or hoof of a pig turns up on your plate, my experience of France is that these menu meals are excellent. This turned out to be the case again. I don't know what it was and don't want to know, just in case I then decide I don't like it.

Boosted by a full stomach I set off for the accommodation. I think I've booked a room in a small hotel. I know the name and google thinks it is on the main road I've been following for most of the day, so how difficult can it be to find it? I'm cycling along a dead straight road through a forest. Google thinks I've arrived. I know I'm looking at a forest. There's no habitation in sight for miles. I ring up the place. I ask him where he is - he asks me where I am. This is not going well. Turns out it's not a hotel, rather I've rented a kind of mobile home / prefab in the field of some place that you can't see from the road because its hidden by all the trees. Would be helpful to have a sign - he seemed to be lost on the benefit. Obviously missed out on his customer service course.

The place is actually all right. I have my bike inside by my bed. Downside is there's nothing here, no breakfast available, so after depositing my baggage I cycle off to see a bit of the local area. First thing I immediately notice is that without all the luggage, the bike is amazing. It's actually enjoyable cycling along. You won't believe the difference a few kilos of baggage makes. I go to the lake for a bit of a jaunt down memory lane. Like everywhere else it's all shut up, except one cafe with terrace in the sunshine looking out on to the lake. That'll do nicely. There's a big sign advertising smoothies, with pictures, so I think that'll help with my 5 a day. There then follows a long and awkward conversation with the waitress, which I think was around I asked for a banana smoothie, but she only had a banana milkshake, but I could have a smoothie with other fruit, just not banana. After about half an hour we got through to each other, it amused the other customers. On the cycle back I checked out local options for breakfast, including a boulangerie open from 6.30am. Right I'll be there knocking on the door.

I was just thinking today is ending well when a mossie just flew past. I hope its using google to look for a hotel room somewhere, and will bugger off to annoy someone else, but this could be bad news....

Distance today, including the sightseeing at the end 88km.

Total so far 922km


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