From Charente Maritime to La Gironde

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Le chambre economique was good enough but came with disappointment when the proprietor claimed we hadn’t requested breakfast (we did) and then cheerily whacked us an extra 10 euros for storing the bikes inside overnight! In these situations we say Hoopla and move on.

The weather was cool and drizzly this morning. We arrived in Rochefort in time to observe a ceremony at the war memorial with flags, stylised saluting and a recording of La Marseillaise. It is the 350th anniversary of the city which was established by royal decree to teach the people in La Rochelle a lesson as they were not behaving properly.

Our next discovery was the fortified town of Brouage, the walls built to provide protection from the bad Protestants of La Rochelle. Now it is a tourist attraction with creperies and souvenir shops.

In Marennes we saw a most unusual method of human powered travel – a man on roller blades pushing a one wheeled rig carrying all of his gear.

We had two big bridges to cross today, one over the Charente just out of Rochefort and the other over La Seudre after Marennes. French engineers seem keen on making a statement with their bridges and take any opportunity to build one and make it as big as possible.

Today we have ridden through barley fields, more marshes, cow pastures, sand dunes, coastal forest paths and holiday resorts. We had to reach Royan to take a ferry across the Gironde estuary and timed our arrival perfectly.

We are now at Soulac-sur-Mer, have observed the grey windswept waters of the Atlantic and befriended a German caravanning couple who are transporting their bikes around without riding them at all!

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