As if the weather was laughing at us it was a bright sunny morning we woke up to! So after a good breakfast we were on our way. The route we took was along the river Loire, very swollen and overflowing in many parts, flooding the edges of the banks, leaving the riverbanks looking more like Louisiana swamps than the Loire valley! The region is swarming with the most beautiful chateaus, even seemingly ordinary domiciles are solid chateaux with rounded turrets for budding rapunzels to let down their hair! We crisscrosses over the river a number of times en route, each time with awe inspiring views of the swollen river.
As we were passing Saumur it looked like there was a festival of some kind going on. Always eager to see such festivity I started jumping up and down in my seat, then realising it was a vintage bicycle rally, and I spotted a market too. After driving through the town, claiming there was nowhere to park, Amr had a quick rethink and performed a u-turn, thinking, rightly so it turned out, that if we bypassed it we may have missed out on something!
The town certainly was in full swing to the vintage 1940’s era, everyone dressed up, even the shops and smallholders on the market. All the town was decorated with the vintage bicycle theme. There was a huge market of second hand bicycles both on show and for sale, as well as boxes and boxes of spare parts, every spare you can imagine for any bicycle made in the last couple of hundred years. There were penny farthing, tandems as well a ‘chopper’ ( think that’s the right name) from I think the late 60’s/70s. In addition there were a numb of vintage cars thrown in for good measure. The atmosphere was amazing. We stopped for a coffee, from a van serving the most pungent smelling coffee from a full blown coffee machine in the back of it and soaked up the atmosphere and sights while sitting on brightly coloured chairs and tables right in the middle of all the action. Strolling further into the town the market was spread out along many streets, no fois gras here, lots of strange local sausages with very different flavours, hazelnut for example, on offer. Too soon we had to make our way back to the car as we still had a long journey to make to our next campsite