My roommate kept me up late last night, trying to argue about American politics. I usually direct conversation to local country policy, on the off-chance I run across someone with wildly different political views. Of course, he didn’t speak any English, so he kept typing what he wanted to say on my phone in Google Translate, which consistently failed to translate key words, making conversation difficult. Given that discussions seemed to involve America over-extending its military power, Jews, money, and something to do with Abraham Lincoln being part of some Jewish plan, I’m not sure the translation problems were all Google. I finally managed to convince him I couldn’t understand, and he gave up.
At breakfast this morning I broke the second of the two temporary fillings set by the dentist in Narbonne. As the tooth didn’t hurt, I considered leaving it alone, but given that I understand how dentists work in France, and that the costs are low, instead I changed the day’s plan. After breakfast I packed up and headed to Tourist Information to find a dentist – again.
The Tourist Information office helped more than any other in France. They called around to find a nearby dentist, and called the office for me to make the appointment, at 2:45 pm. When I asked what to do until then, they gave me a walking tour for the city, and bicycle maps for the region. On a second visit, they also looked up where I could find fuel for the stove; the woman who helped with the fuel cycle tours, including down the West Coast of the US. She knew exactly what I needed, and found a store for me, some distance outside of City Center. During the walking tour I found an outdoor store inside of City Center, which carried the fuel I needed. When comparing between the two fuel cartridges, I have more fuel than I thought, but two small cartridges works better than running out of fuel halfway through dinner.
Finishing the walking tour, I found the dentist’s office an hour early, and waited outside in the garden reading. Grocery shopping did not cross my mind as it should have, as I didn’t shop the day before. In pasta I carry several days worth of dinner, but I let raw calories run low. Instead, I focused on where I would cycle next.
I had planned to leave town in the morning, but with the dental appointment the soonest I would be around 4 pm. I decided to head to Cherbourg instead of Roscoff; both equidistant, Cherbourg runs more frequent ferries. I have intended to go to St. Malo on the way to either port. My former employer used to have an office there, and everyone talked about the beauty of the town. Internet reviews of the town left me less than impressed (jaded at this point from many towns). Mont St Michel on the other hand, 40 km to the east and more in line with the path to Cherbourg, looks impressive.
The map from Tourist Information factored most in my decision; Wikipedia describes the castle in Fogueres as one of the largest fortifications in Europe, and Fogueres falls in line for as possible path the Cherbourg. From Fogueres I can head north to Mont St Michel, and then on to Cherbourg (and, of course, whatever else I find along the way).
That decision meant I had 50 km to cycle starting at 4:00 pm, likely arriving around 7:30 pm. While the path north to St. Malo includes a half dozen hostels and even more campgrounds, Fogueres has one local campground, the next closest in line 20 km out, serving as a bailing plan along the way, but the campground in Fogueres needs to be open.
I had two student dentists at this public clinic, both young and looking more like dental hygenists than dentists. They spoke a little English, and in response to my query if the temporary fix would last until I get home, claim they fixed the tooth “forever”. Their teacher reviewed their work, and while I’m a bit skeptical, onward I go.
I passed the first campground at 6:00 pm, and decided to both press my luck and press on. A street carnival blocked the direct path to the campground; navigating around the festival took some time, but I arrived around 7:15 pm to find the campground open, the host quite friendly, free wifi, and a lovely spot to camp at the lowest cost so far in France.
I met a French cyclist at the campground this evening towing a trailer. He keeps his tent and trailer inside his incredibly large tent, just to keep the bike dry.
I have this to look forward to in the morning: