It was inevitable really that this last bit of the journey would be a bit of chore. Leaving the Canal du Midi took us up through Bordeaux, along the edge of the Dordogne towards the Loire and then north to Dieppe. The landscape varies between the rolling hills of Bordeaux and the Dordogne and the flat agricultural terrain of central France. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this part of France, plus the sun shone and the roads were quiet, but I was getting homesick.
The bright lights of Brighton, which aren’t actually that bright, were calling and I was missing the beach and the World Famous Pump Room cafe and the philosophical debate and general banter. It’s all very well being on holiday, free as a bird under blue skies surrounded by lush green hills, but there are times when all you want is a good chinwag and a cup of coffee with soya milk.
As is generally the case when you really want to get somewhere, it took ages. The hills were pretty incessant, the tandem weighed as much as ever and my legs ached no less than they had on the whole tour, so progress was slow.
However, after many days of riding north, we eventually reached the Loire and pedalled along the river from Ambois to Bloir, a beautiful town with cheap camping. Thereafter, we headed due north to the Avenue Vert, where we started this whole escapade and the final 30 miles to Dieppe.
Standing on the deck of the ferry, I was as happy to see the cliffs of southern England approaching as I’d been to leave them behind 3 and a half months earlier.
When we got back, Brighton was hosting Gay Pride and all the colour and chaos of this great city by the sea was duly amplified by the multitude of characters on parade. It was good to be home.