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Craig's Musings

Benidorm 24 Day 10

Mimizan Plage is like many UK seaside resorts. I saw some cracking pictures in the hotel of the resort in days gone by. Now, it all looked a little tired. But at least there were shops and restaurants.

Following last Sunday’s debacle of no food, I stocked up on biscuits, banana chips, and crisps to go with my day-old roll. Then, despite the fact I’d had a steak for lunch, I went out for a pizza (all Carbs ’til Marbs), before heading for bed.

The hotel room was like an old Butlin’s room, with thin walls, windows that didn’t disguise the outside gales, and a shower you couldn’t swing a hamster in, let alone a cat. But luckily it was not very full, and I had earplugs.

The next day, after having breakfast and adding a Pain Au Chocolat to my stash, I headed off for Capbreton. After yesterday’s extra distance, I only had a short, flat day in store.

As soon as I left the town heading south, I entered the Landes forest. I think it was 41km later when I finally came out before popping in and out for another 20km. The Landes forest in southwestern France, in the region now known as Aquitaine, is the largest man-made woodland in Western Europe.

It was a pathway all the way, much of it with very few people. They came later as I hit the built-up areas nearer to my destination.

I stopped to chat with a group of older cyclists, and we stumbled around our language differences, explaining where I had come from. It took a while but we got there, before they wished me well and exploded away on their electric bikes leaving me in the dust.

As I got closer to Capbreton, it was starting to get busier. It was a Sunday, and sunny at that, so there were plenty of people cycling and walking. Children, dogs, and people with headphones started to make life tricky.

I arrived at my destination by two, It was too early to stop and seemed a waste of a couple of hours, so I had a spot of lunch by the beach before deciding to carry on. I could either keep following the coast to Biarritz, which would probably mean another hotel, or head inland. I decided to head for the hills and chance my arm on a campsite.

The sun had been out all day, but as the afternoon wore on, it started getting hot. For the first time on the whole trip, I took off my base layer. Yep, now it was just a pink teeshirt, with two pink arms hanging out of the sleeves.

Using Google to navigate I couldn’t see elevations so just ran with the road, popping in one ear bud to listen to Arsenal beat Tottenham as I started to go up and down but mainly up.

Arriving in Urt, I crossed the alpine looking river Adour and was confronted with a cheeky 10% hill, which I managed without wheezing; a step in the right direction considering the days ahead.

A few minutes later I arrived at the campsite. There was no-one there, apart from some caravans and camper vans, and there was a sign on the gate saying “CAMPING CLOSED”.

Oh, the first day of being spontaneous with camping and could it all go shit cakes? Luckily there was one other campsite not far away, so I headed there.

I could see people camped up and there was a telephone number on the reception door, so I called it. All good, “just set up by the wash block on the grass and I’ll be there in the morning”. 

Phewie of the day,

There was one other cyclist camping. A guy from Halifax. We had language in common and chatted bikes and routes and I demonstrated my knack of forgetting where I was going and where I’d been – a real pro. Turns out, he belongs to a club of people who do tour cycling, where they all get together and have talks and share ideas.

“Have you heard of a guy called Andrew Sykes?”, he asked, “He comes to our group.”

Have I???

Yep, he’s the bloody reason I’m on this trip after reading his first book, Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie.

Small world.  

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