More flatlands to La Rochelle


We woke to a foggy morning in Les Sables d’Olonne and took the small ferry across the harbour so we could walk along La Grande Jetee. There were men fishing for crabs off the high stone jetty and lots of fishing boats going in and out. The little ferry was electric, carried pedestrians and cyclists only and continuously zipped across and back.

The day’s ride took us through beach holiday towns, forested paths, marshes, grassy and dirt tracks and sparsely populated farmland, low lying and probably subject to tidal inundation in the past. At Jard-sur-Mer there is the Jacques Tati Public School! Everything is pretty quiet as it’s not holiday season, but the tourist facilities are scaled up for the big crowds of July and August.

We encountered quite a few other cyclists including a Belgian pilgrim, clearly identifiable as such because of the scallop shell on his luggage and his flag. He was also wearing a high-viz jacket and had a horn mounted on his handlebars. I then remembered having seen him last week making a spectacle of himself in St Pol de Leon in Brittany by riding around the church square parping his horn. We decided to steer clear of him, but encountered him and his friend on the route later in the day and almost got chased down by them at one point.

We shook him off properly by taking a short cut and arrived in La Rochelle at 4.30. After a drink we watched a concert band that was playing beside the harbour before finding our Warmshowers host Loic at his tiny apartment in the old city. Loic works as a bicycle mechanic on the Île de Ré, joined by a bridge to La Rochelle. He is also a keen backgammon player and knitter, self taught via YouTube.

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