The day began with an absolutely exquisite French breakfast with lots of homemade and delicious ingredients. Then off to a rainy start of the stage to Monpazier-Coux.
The first 15 km were mostly downhill and through undulating hills with oak and chestnut forests. Hardly anybody else was out on the countryside roads.
First stop was the strongly fortified church of Saint Avit Sénieur.
The most notable feature of the village is the massive church from the 11th century. Next to the church, an abbey was built to honour the hermit Avitus, who died in 570.
The church is huge compared to the tiny village around it, but Saint-Avit-Sénieur has for centuries been an important waypoint for pilgrims on the camino to Santiago de Compostella.
|The various official pilgrim routes towards Santiago de Compostella.|
Biking on northwards, we passed several farms with big barns for drying tobacco leaves.
We stopped and talked with a tobacco farmer at work. The huge leaves are being harvested at this time and they need to be air dried for 6-10 weeks, depending on the weather. Then the farmer sends the dried stuff off to a cigarette producer in France. The farmer admitted that he has never smoked and he was happy just to grow the crop.
Shortly after the tobacco stop, disaster struck !
My bike's left pedal arm snapped at the base near the central axis and fell on the asphalt while I was ascending a hill. That thing is hard to fix or replace in the countryside during the siesta hours – and with no bike workshop within many many miles. We relocated to the nearby village Molières and settled in the only bar that, for odd reasons, was open. After three hours, two telephone calls, two coffees and a generous helping of Glenfiddich the bike man from Agen turned up – and decided that he couldn't fix my bike.
Therefore, I had to make do with an extra bike that he happened to have in the van. It was a bike alright but one entirely depending on muscle power to negotiate the sizeable uphills on the roads ahead. Not a good deal for me. For the next two days I will be non-electric while madame remains in control of her e-power.
The last 20 km of today's stage were filled with hard work for one of us but were otherwise fairly uneventful. We found the mighty Dordogne river, crossed it and managed to find our small Hôtel de Petit Chaperon Rouge in Le-Coux-et-Bigaroque. The room and facilities are rather humble but the cuisine is very good.
Tomorrow will be other exciting day in the saddle!