Back on the road, from St Etienne and John Laxton's place (old Uni friend, shared a room '68-'69 at Leeds) to youth hostel at Lyon, whence this blog.
Lovely to see John and his delightful Eng/Am Lit professorial partner Denise after so many years, and especially amazing to be treated by them (thanks!) to THE most extraordinary, indeed exquisite French nouvelle cuisine meal at the Les Iris restaurant in Andrezieux last night.
Lionel Githenay is the chef there, see pix above, and if you've seen the new Disney/Pixar cartoon Ratatouille, this was IT. (And if you haven't seen the film, do – it's brilliant.)
John, Denise and I were treated to the most amazing fare, presented as highest order works of art. A sweet for example mixing chocolate and mushrooms! With twirly bits that melted in the mouth. Again see pix – with thanks to the staff for letting us into the kitchen to capture the artistry on picture.
French shopping and opening hours may be a challenge, but you can see why this place leads the world in culinary imagination.
Right – quick summary of the technical bits today. Lovely ride, and good to be back on Raven and settled into the now supplest of compliant Brooks saddles. (It's bum sweat and pressure that breaks the leather, I've decided, and it takes 500 miles. Worth the agony).
Three hours 56 mins in the saddle. 46.78 miles at average speed of 11.8 mph – thanks to payback tailwind and most of the distance to Lyon being downhill. Max speed 34.4 mph – not a patch on what Sue and I can get up to, thanks to the extra weight (nothing personal, dear), on the tandem.
And total distance since leading Cirencester on Easter Sunday, 753 miles.
The really encouraging thing about the last three days is that I am now back, unexpectedly when I set out, on the real Camino de Santiago, heading backwards from Le Puy along one of the medieval arteries of this pilgrimage to Budapest.
Krakow in Poland was another medieval starting point, and I'm tempted to swing through there on the way back. After all, having got the authentic Credencial with Sue from Santiago in 2006, I count as a real pilgrim, not a fraud at all…
What a trip.
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