Leaving the campground in St. Symphorien, I found the day’s supermarket within 100 meters – convenient! It was later in the day I realized that with tomorrow being Sunday, all of the markets would be closed, so mid-day I stopped at another supermarket to increase my food supply.
I passed two castles today. The second was closed to the public. The first more a restored city wall than a castle, used to lure in unsuspecting tourists to the restaurant on the other side. I ate lunch in the courtyard, and watched a steady stream of tourists drive in, park, see no other attractions, and decide to eat at the restaurant since they were already there. Well-played.
I cycled through the city of Bordeaux, as much to find fuel for the stove as anything else. Two camping stores later, still no fuel. One sold the stove I have and no fuel for it, the second or third time I have run across that on this trip.
In the process of wandering through Bordeaux, I learned I don’t like it. Homeless people linger on street corners, benches, and store entrances, hassling those nearby for money. No real historic district exists, just a metropolis cluttered with modernity. The main strand of the city looked more like Istanbul than a normal European city, packed with people.
In Bordeaux far longer than planned, a long push remained to get to the campground. 9 km before the planned campground, another campground marker appeared beside the road, for a campground not indicated on my map, pointing back towards the bay. I started to turn, but decided to continue to my original planned destination. The original municipal campground had another campground nearby as a backup, and was 9 km closer to my eventual destination. The municipal campground would likely be cheaper. The original target named Camping Municipal de la Citadel might also have factored in that decision.
Upon arriving at the campground, I found a medieval festival underway in the adjacent field, and registration for the campground closed before I arrived. Careful translation of the sign instructed to find a unreserved place, and pay in the morning. Only after wandering around a bit did I realize an additional sign likely indicated a full campground. I found what appeared to be an open spot, and asked the adjacent folks if I could camp there. While they agreed, I couldn’t determine if I was in fact in someone else’s reserved space, so set up the tent, but didn’t unpack and settle in until well after dark.
Many, if not most, cycle tourists often wild camp. I don’t because a campground provides a shower, a toilet, and a quiet place I don’t have to worry about being disturbed in the middle of the night. In this case I had only two out of three.
I’ve decided 7:30 pm is too late to arrive at my destination. Dark sets in earlier now than when I started the trip. That late doesn’t leave a lot of time to deal with issues that arrive; earlier and I would have moved on to the other campground. Overall I’ve been rushing, and it’s getting old. I’d rather spend more time exploring, so time to mix things up a bit.