The right way

After a hostel-prepared breakfast, I headed up to visit the church at the top of the hill. Thanks to Adrien’s tour the night before, I identified this church as one of several places to visit during the day before I left Lyon. The hostel agreed I could leave my fully-loaded bike until the afternoon, so I didn’t have to bike up The Hill.

Historically, whenever a crisis threatens Lyon, the people of Lyon pray to St. Mary, and promise when she averts the crisis they’ll build a church. They built Our Lady of Fourviere Basilica in response to her protection of the city during the Franco-Prussian War. The ruins of a Roman theatre rest outside the basilica.

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After the basilica, I found myself atop the city. A tram quickly brought me back to the heart of the city, and I wandered my way to the Musee Des Beaux-Arts. No particular piece struck me, just a general reminder that Lyon holds a very strong Christian heritage, reflected in much of the art in the museum.

I still needed a map of France, so I pulled up bookstores on my GPS, and headed to the two closest. In France bookstores don’t generally carry maps, and I regularly see that regions of a country have local information, but not the larger picture or other regions. On the way to the third bookstore, I stopped in a tobacco shop for a SIM for the phone, but the micro-format my phone uses meant more directions to another store, which I fail to find. I still need to convert my remaining Swiss francs to Euros, but delayed due to terrible exchange rates. I did pull more cash from an ATM; even with high adoption of credit cards in France, cash is still king.

With everything visited or attempted, I headed back up to the hostel. As I made the final turn to the hostel, I passed a shop which looked like a bookstore / newsstand, and picked up a national and regional map of France. From there I headed out of Lyon.

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I could see the cycle path on the GPS, but no signage along the road. I made the usual slow process out of town. After 10 km I went for my banana to find the key to my hostel room in my handle bar bag. Not adding 20 km to my day to take the key back; I wonder how that will work out.

The Rhone finally having carved out a decent valley, most of the day avoided elevation change. While I had cycle lane for most of the day, not until 20 km out of Lyon did I have my own path, and not until 33 km out of town did I find the first sign for the cycle path I followed. But thereafter the paths followed back roads and dedicated cycle path.  All day I had a slight tailwind and a gradual downward slope. I’m finally following a cycle path in the right direction.

While not actively seeking castles today, I ran across a ruin on one side of the river, and this (closed) castle on my side. Tomorrow I’ve identified a few locations that might be interesting on my way into Valence.

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As I approached the town with the planned end-of-day campground 50 km from Lyon, I considered jumping forward to the next campground an additional 10 km. Then I realized. I don’t have anywhere I have to be. I have to be in Dublin Sept. 30, and I’d like to visit a friend in Pau, which has to be after Sept. 1.

For the first time in a long time, I have no agenda but cycling and visiting castles. I stopped. Max warned me that pricing for the campgrounds ahead varied wildly, so I knew to confirm the price before settling in, but $9 meant ending cycling for the day. Back to camping on the side of a river instead of a lake.

I spent part of the evening poring over my new maps, gaining a better perspective on France, and lining things up with cycle paths in France. From Avignon I will likely leave the Rhone, and head towards Nimes and Montpelier, and then along the coast for a while.

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