The Back Roads of Burgundy:
The area of Burgundy I'm now in is quite a surprise to me. My picture of Burgundy has always been the vineyards and chateaux of the Cote d'Or, producers of some of the most famous wines in the world. But this is another Burgundy. Vineyards are few and far between. Forests and farm land dominate the area. Cows out number cars and, on the road, beetles (the black crawling kind, not the 4-wheeled German kind) out number bikes.
The Lonely Planet route has taken me from Vezelay to St Brisson, from St Brisson to Chateau Chinon, and from Chateau Chinon to Autun. This region is more generally called the Parc du Morvan, a regional nature park with beautiful quiet roads. As I mentioned in my last post, Vezelay is home to some of Mary Magdaline's bones. Chateau Chinon is more recently famous as the home of former French President François Mitterand and St Brisson seemed to be home to no one. I didn't see a single person there and the town looked like it had been boarded up for a hurricane. I stayed in another town nearby. Not sure why Lonely Planet chose that town as a nightly stop-over point.
Speaking of weather... mother nature is playing tricks on me. Two days ago, the weather was perfect - sunny skies, cool air, no wind... a more perfect cycling day could not be had.
Yesterday was the complete opposite. It rained all day. Nothing sucks worse than leaving a nice warm hotel to start the day in the rain. It was just a light rain to start, but about noon the sky opened up and it poured! To make it worse, I had passed a restaurant about 15 minutes before the downpour, but decided to keep going. By the next town, I was drenched. Luckily there was an open restaurant there, too - a very nice restaurant with linen napkins, four course lunches, a wine list a mile long - you get the idea. So I'm standing in the entry hoping the woman who owned the restaurant won't throw me out, but she greets me warmly and sets a table for me. Then she takes my rain jacket and hangs it to drip dry in the entry. In the mean time, I head to the bathroom where I ring out my socks and gloves into the toilet. When I come into the dining room, the only other couple in the restaurant just stare at me. Even their dog was staring at me! Needless to say, I left a puddle at the table, but the the lunch was great and I thanked the owner profusely for putting up with a dripping guest.
Today, I arrived in Autun. The weather was better (i.e. no rain) but still gray and cold. Some of the pics added show the mist in the Morvan forest. Autun looks like a very interesting town. I've been to the cathedral and the old town around it, but there are still some Roman ruins to see, so it's time to get off the computer and go play tourist!