We left Amboise, climbed the out of the valley of the Loire and over into the Cher, which runs parallel to the Loire and would be what we followed for the rest of the day. First stop le chateau de Chenonceau, which is sits across a river on arches. I always thought this would be my favourite of the Loire chateau but again I felt disappointed. I think mainly because it so heaving with visitors, which, obviously we are too. (are you stuck in traffic or are you traffic?)
We knew we would have a hot day of cycling. 70km to our destination. We could see the city of Tour from afar, and the river gradually widened as we approached. Tour sits between the Cher and the Loire rivers but largely seems to ignore them both. We found it hard even to find a place to leave the river path and get up over the levee. We cycled into town hot and hungry and ended up eating expensive pizza. It’s one of those situations where you feel like you haven’t quite got this right and you pay through the nose for it.
I was pleased at least to have seen Tours, with its medieval centre. One of those places that I’m unlikely to visit again so pleased at least to be able to have put a brief experience to the name. But I was pleased to leave too. The way out, like the way in was not trop évident.
We cycled through the afternoon heat. We found our way to Savionières which had a ganguette. Coffee and ice cream while we waited for the heat to pass.
We were due to be staying in a garden further downstream, arranged through Warmshowers.com but as we cycled along we noticed a quiet, picturesque sweep in the river and wondered if we could wild camp. We picked our way through the trees and discovered we were at the point where the Cher river joins with the Loire. There was a beach we could swim off and a shelter point to sleep. We didn’t even need to put up a tent.
S and I went swimming in the Cher. The flow in the Loire looked a bit fast so we didn’t venture into its waters. Bright green frogs leapt out of the undergrowth. The water was so warm. Overhead egrets patrolled the skies and waded in the water. Opposite a whole herd of cows came down to the water and waded in the shallows. We fell asleep to the sight of bats a few metres overhead and the occasional rattle of trains on the Tours Nantes line crossing the viaduct opposite.