I enjoyed a very comfortable nights sleep in my little 'hole' as Tom described it deep in amongst the woods, unfortunately Tom didn't fair as well on the uneven ploughed land and I sensed a certain unhappiness in his tone when he woke up in the morning. I'd never heard of Egyptian cotton sheets before but Tom keeps telling me about them and I must check them out once back.
The Ritz it certainly isn't......my 'hole' in the trees behind
Due to our wild camping there were none of the luxuries of the previous mornings which meant it was simply a case of getting up, packing up and saddling up!
We found a patisserie and chocolatier (doesn't that sound amazing) in the first village we passed through and I'm happy to inform you all that France has very much picked up where Germany left off in terms of bread and pastries.
What we weren't expecting this morning was more hills yet that is what we found ourselves faced with and a couple of pretty nasty 8% at that. The hills were playing a kind of game with us and once we were over 700 metres they continued to follow the pattern of small climb followed by short descent. It wasn't long however before we were finally able to totally release the wheels and power the bikes down the remainder of the hill.
Coffee stop at on one of the climbs
Our first real point of call for the day was that of Luneville and we were determined to break the back of the day and get there before stopping for lunch.
Despite some heavy head winds we made good time and rolled into the town just after lunch having made a serious dent into our overall total for the day.
Both Tom and I take it in turns to go and do the days shopping and I think we both have a sense of dread as the other reappears from inside the supermarket. I'm always worried at how much Tom has spent and likewise he's always worried that I've not picked up some treats for the day.
I've been on the road for so long now I've learned and almost had to teach myself how to eat cheaply. It's been a little bit more difficult not having the stove to cook on which has meant we've not been having the staple foods we need such as rice and pasta which have served me so well along the way. I surprised him somewhat today and knowing his penchant for smoked salmon treated us to a nice packet with salad for lunch.
The afternoons ride into Nancy proved harder than it should have been and this was entirely down to the headwind we had experienced earlier in the day gathering more momentum. It all proved to be a bit of a slog and the industrial nature of the scenery on the outskirts of Nancy didn't make for the most scenic of rides.
We had arranged to meet Tobias at his apartment in Nancy but knew he had lectures until 8 o'clock. He had informed us that one of his house mates would be in to open the door for us but unfortunately this wasn't the case. It wasn't a big problem for us and we simply went and waited in the nearby train station.
We finally met Tobias just after eight and he was very apologetic that nobody had been there to let us in. He needn't have been, after all he's agreed to put us up for the night which is more than enough.
Tobias comes from the Baden-Wurttemburg region of Germany which Tom and I cycled partly through. One of the reasons I made a couch request to stay with him was that as well as studying some Chinese he also embarked on his very own bike trip in the summer travelling from France to Estonia and using couch surfing all the way. If anyone was going to be sympathetic to our needs it was him.
He was also kind enough to cook us a traditional German dish for supper which apparently is a specialty of his mothers, she would be pleased to know that it tasted absolutely fantastic. We all swapped various stories and experiences of travelling around the world and were joined by one of his house mates Matthias as we talked long into the night.
It looks like were are going to stay here for an extra day which gives us chance to rest a little before heading just south of Paris some 300 kilometres away. I think Tom will really appreciate the chance to simply rest up; we've come a long way together on this trip and now more than ever it is a case of counting down the days until we get home.
I was quick to point out to Tom though while riding today that we really have to make sure we savour every remaining moment of the trip. We are so lucky and fortunate to be riding through some beautiful French countryside and in a matter of a few weeks it will all be over and we will start the process of readjusting to something that resembles normality.