I have to say that Tours was a bit of a let down. It’s a city built besides the Loire rather than on it. You might expect large merchant houses, an adjacent square with a big statue and other riverside paraphernalia like fountains and spectacular bridges. Tours plays at this with most of the city on the south side, and nearly all of the houses on the river modern built with an attempt at grandeur. The old town is, well, neither a town nor very old. There a one or two half timbered buildings, but nothing on the scale that many French towns have. I’m not sure if it suffered in the war (it’s quite far south) or it had its life sucked out by the expense lavished on all of the surrounding chateaux. Perhaps.
It does have a wonderful botanic garden which we found by accident. A beautiful and varied arboretum with well stocked ponds, inspiring flower beds and loads of sixth formers trying to revise for the upcoming exams, but losing themselves with flirting and sunbathing. It was a buoyant and joyful scene that made up for the rest of the city which was more workmanlike.
Thankfully the fifteen mile cycle into Tours was wonderful, and the return the same. Mrs Sun was with us throughout, and the cooling wind actually made the journey pleasant, especially on the way back in. We saw a couple of deer prancing round a field escaping the wrath of a big red tractor and, maybe a once a year sight, the down from local trees falling like snow and leaving the corner of one field white like Christmas.
Other than one barred cycle route where Gypsies (can I call them that?) had littered the pavement with broken glass to stop cyclists entering their ghetto – the council had provided another route for us, which was good of them – the Loire Cycle route that we used was lovely. A perfect tonic for the stresses of…ok, so we have no stresses, but it was a tonic anyway.
Back at Doris C topped up with UV whilst I listened to TMS. C then went for a run and I skipped badly and gave up. I think the cycle, which I did almost exclusively without power, had taken its toll on my legs’ ability to jump. It was more standing than skipping. We then walked round the small village and settled into our routine.
Heading further north again today. We have some foraging to do and want to get closer to Calais for the final push. If you’re a teacher have a great half term (especially Bex and Steven), and for the rest of you a relaxing Bank Holiday.