After breakfast in town we crossed the Truyere (the wrong way on a narrow old stone bridge) and carried on down the Lot gorge. This became steadily more remote until we reached the tiny hamlet of Decoursavy. Here we turned left, back south, and began to ascend a side valley. First stop after coffee was Conques. This is a top tourist spot, famous for its mediaeval golden icons.
The golden artefacts were indeed beautiful, and the church had some interesting carvings, particularly over the door. But it was a busy place and we decided to find somewhere quieter to eat. So we were delighted to find a roman bridge and sat down on the roadway. Only to find that it was still open to cars (just fitted with wing mirrors folded in) so we had to move mid picnic!
From Conques it was a serious climb back up to Rodez on the plateau. Half way up we stopped at Salles la Source to see a waterfall, not unlike those closer to home.
These big climbs are becoming routine now. But entering large towns is not. This is our first since Girona. I had plotted a cunning route on back roads. But it turned out that the main road in to town had a good bike track, so we followed it – only to find that it ended in a rubbish dump. We ended up having to ride the main roads, and climbing steeply to the old, hilltop centre. Here we booked into a nice hotel near the cathedral and we’ll have our first day off the bikes tomorrow.