Marshlands

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Just after we posted last night the hotel owner’s goat jumped onto the window sill of our room. I think it would have come in had we opened the window.

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In still calm weather we followed several cycling routes simultaneously today including EuroVelo 1, Velodyssee and VelOcean. At other times we found our own way. Early in the morning we passed a decrepit dolmen (Monument Megalithique du Predaire) on a bluff overlooking an oily-smooth Atlantic Ocean.

Much of the day was spent riding through low, flat, marshy land marked with many canals, dykes and polders. These areas have lot of small-scale fishing activity including oysters farms and stilted net-fishing huts on the muddy beaches.

We passed an extended morning tea break in the church square in Isle de Bouin (no longer an island since a sea wall has been built and the land drained) while Rosalie tried, with limited success, to photograph old codgers on rusty bikes carrying baguettes.

We lunched on bread and cheese from breakfast and later shared a large (3-scoop) glace in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie which energised us for the final 25 km along an unsealed path behind the coastal dunes to Les Sables d’Orlonne.

Les Sables d’Orlonne is a busy commercial, fishing and yachting harbour lined with restaurants, bars and cafes. The channels are narrow and winding with alarmingly large ships coming and going at high tide with no tugs helping them.

On the waterfront we ate a formule seafood dinner including fish soup, oysters and fresh fish (dorey and hake) with a carafe of vin blanc de maison. From our limited observations, vin de maison comes from wine casks (a South Australian technological contribution to the world thanks to Thomas Angove).

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