Lying in one’s bunk under a blanket, reading for most of the day while the rain lashes around the boat with the temperature feeling a lot lower than the mid teens the thermometer insisted that it was, gives plenty of time for contemplation.
We awoke with the urge to move that had been brewing since yesterday still with us. To satiate that urge that we left Verdun this morning before the weather took its turn for the worse, with a few bits remaining to be seen, happy to have a reason to return at some future time.
Now we are in a what appears to be the middle of nowhere, in a conservation reserve with mooring facilities built by the village of Vacherauville. This happily, is located less than a kilometre from the route of a stage of the Tour de France in a few days’ time at a place where the Tour begins to wind its way up through the hills and the significant battlefields, graveyards and memorials surrounding Verdun. This route has been planned as part of the first World War centenary commemorations, presumably to bring the world’s eyes to the region, and it will be interesting to see how vast commercial interests can convey their gratitude as the circus rolls past half a million graves.
The cyclists will cover two hundred and thirty-five kilometres on that day.
Two hundred and thirty-five racing kilometres. They won’t be tucked up in bed reading if the weather turns a little iffy. They’ll just plug ever onwards at fifty kilometres per hour.
Embarrassingly in the face of that statistic, our own peregrinations have covered exactly one hundred fewer kilometres than that since leaving Lagarde three weeks ago. One hundred kilometres fewer in three weeks than a bicycle race covers in one day.
Today we travelled for eight kilometres and felt quite satisfied with that.
I wonder how many books those cyclists get through in a day.