Le Salvetat sur Agout to St Affrique

Stopping short yesterday means that we can’t get to Millau today, where we had planned a rest day tomorrow. But we will get close today and have a half day cycling tomorrow.

A cold front followed yesterdays rain so that at 900m altitude we needed warm clothes this morning. In town over breakfast we met our first English cycle tourist – a young lad doing Biarritz to Munich. This was his only section on his own and he looked fed up after yesterday’s weather.

I was delighted to find that the large lakes that we passed today were indeed the ones I had seen from the plane on the flight out. I had been confident from the plane that they were on our route, but checking google maps afterwards made me doubt the identification because a large island was not shown where I had seen it from the plane. I was thus very satisfied to turn a bend and see the island right where it should have been. Never trust google maps!

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This was Sunday morning and there was nothing open for coffee in Murat. I bet they didn’t have that trouble in the Tour when it came through a few weeks ago. We climbed again to over 900m and then entered the head of the gorge du Dourdou. This was a beautiful descent into a small tranquil valley with a tiny road along it.

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Lunch was calling and, after a succession of closed and deserted villages, we decided that we stood more chance of a decent restaurant by following the Dourdou downstream rather than by deviating to Sylvanes Abbey as intended. Food or culture? This paid off handsomely with a fantastic meal in a packed local restaurant in Camares. We were squeezed in amongst the locals in a very friendly atmosphere and really enjoyed the food and the rest.

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After dinner it was straightforward down valley cycling to St Affrique. By this time we were back to busier roads – the first since Caumes Minervois. But the town was a good one. We picnicked at the campsite and then drank beer in town till it got dark.

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