Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sancerre & Nevers

So, was the bike ride up to Sancerre worth it? Yes and no. Yes, it’s a beautiful town with fabulous buildings and a great walking-trail. And No, because, whatever Stephen said, there is no way that was only a kilometre. Plus, I discovered a bus went up to the town and back to where we were moored, but only after we’d cycled up there.
Actually, we didn’t cycle the whole way there – we got off and pushed at the really hard bits.

There are some really well signposted cycle routes in this region, under the “Velo Loire” scheme. Trouble is, they do attract a lot of MAMIL’s (Middle Aged Men In Lycra). I know it’s great to have a hobby that get you out in the fresh air and keeps you fit. But really, is skin-tight, fluorescent lycra really the only way to go?

Anyway, back to Sancerre and a very important discovery we made there. Everyone knows about Sancerre wine, right? But, what about Sancerre beer?
On your behalf, we sampled some with lunch and I can honestly say it is some of the best beer we have ever tasted (and we’ve tasted a few). Stephen had the Blond and I had the Rose, which was flavoured with plant extracts. I really hope we see it again, but have a horrible feeling we won’t.
Stephen, modelling the latest in great beer
I would recommend a visit to the amazing little hill town, it's small enough to explore on foot and there is much more to it than just wine (although, there is a lot of that too).

On to Nevers, via another aqueduct. I had never been over an aqueduct in my life before last week, now I’ve done two! Truly, there is no end to the excitement on this trip!
Stephen at the start of the aqueduct
Nevers is another beautifully photographic town. Stephen described it as being a bit like Bruges – every way you turn, there is something to photograph. Except it’s all a bit charmingly shabby (which Bruges is not), but as you’ll know from my previous post, we are a bit partial to “charmingly shabby”.
Side street in Nevers - charmingly shabby
The Ducal Palace - not shabby at all

In a town we don’t know, we generally head for the cathedral/big church first, as they tend to be in the centre of things. This is half true with Nevers, as it has two halves (High and Low Town) and two cathedrals. We visited the High Town Cathedral, which is magnificent and has some beautiful modern stained glass. The cathedral was largely destroyed in WWII by the RAF, who were trying to bomb some nearby foundries, but other than the stained glass, you wouldn’t be able to tell.

Emma’s highlight of Nevers has got to be the “Rolling Ball Fountain”. This consists of a really big, solid ball of marble which is pushed round and round by water coming up from underneath. It took us several minutes to decide that, yes, it really was just the power of water moving it.
Emma & friends at the Rolling Ball Fountain
We are off the Decizes next, where my parents are joining us for a couple of days. We plan to travel down the canal to Digoin. At the moment it is still shorts and t-shirt weather here by mid-morning, so I am hoping it lasts at least for the next week!

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