102km Auberives-sur-Vareze – Privas
We were up even before the sun and the birds this morning, giving us a good head start on the long day ahead. Before long, we came across a coffee shop – an irresistible treat – and a huge Sunday market in the town of Roussilon. After our coffee, we enjoyed a stroll around the market, which had everything from clothes to music and of course plenty of food. Stalls full of oranges, olives and vegetables like aubergines were popular, giving us the sense that we really were getting close to southern France. We bought a little round of goats cheese and a baguette and carried on, stopping alongside the Rhone to enjoy our snack. As the day progressed we made our way through several wine regions, including the famous Hermitage. The hills to either side of the river are once again covered in vines, in a density we have not seen since leaving the banks of the Rhine river in Germany. No time to stop though as we were making our way to the farm. Maybe next time! Around 3pm we were still feeling fairly fresh, helped by a stop for crepes, and decided to see how far we could push by the end of the day. When the cycle computers were showing 85km for the day we thought maybe it was time to stop, but no hotels appeared so we just carried on, turning left away from the Rhone river and towards Privas. As soon as we turned left into the mountains the scenery changed into a very rustic but beautiful landscape. By this time the light was fading so we didn`t take many photos but certainly we will during our time in the mountains working over the next two weeks. We pushed on up the hill, intending to stop at the first place we found, but we didn`t find anything until Privas, by which time it was nearly dark. A nice meal in the hotel and then to bed. We are told the next day may see grades of 17 percent as we carry on to the farm!