We had a leisurely start to the day as it was raining when we woke up. By the time we had breakfast it had cleared so we went across to the garage where we had stored our bikes. It had these electronic doors so we put the code in and wallah it opened. Got our bikes sorted and went to get back out through the electronic doors and they wouldn’t open – great – trapped in a garage in Saint Emilion.
Luckily another couple were checking out and came to get there car out so they opened the doors from the other side. We escaped out the open doors quickly. Apparently the trick is that the doors need to open fully before you enter. When the couple opened the door they stepped in before the doors fully opened so when they went to get out they couldn’t get out either – we tried opening from the outside but it wouldn’t open so we told the hotel reception and got on our way. Hopefully the couple managed to get out!
I spoke too soon re getting lost – we had a small bit of trouble leaving Saint Emilion so had to retrace our steps back to the one way Main Street and go down it the wrong way! Stopped at the Boulangerie (bakery) and ordered two baguettes with jambon (ham), cheese and salad on them for lunch.
Today we were on country roads for 85% of the ride so we had to do quite a bit of navigating. It was a bit nerve wracking at times as the trip notes weren’t always super clear. We did go off route at some stage but managed to get back on track by finding a sign to the little hamlet we were supposed to get to. The ride was fairly challenging today with a lot of up dale and down dale and a 60km an hour wind to boot. We didn’t get wet though so that was a bonus.
We re joined the Roger Lapebie cycle way for about 8km which was nice. We stopped for lunch to eat our baguettes – wow they were big and super delicious.
The countryside was vine after vine for as far as the eye could see. I still can’t get over the houses and other buildings – most of them look abandoned to me but the car parked outside is a give away that someone does live there. There is no sign of life although we did see a few workers pruning vines along the way. We also saw various size tractors with different contraptions on them which are used on the vines – spraying from above, trimming the bottom leaves off etc…
We reached our destination of Saint Macaire about 4pm. It is a lovely little village where all the old buildings do look like they are cared for. We are staying in a lovely hotel called Les Feuilles d’Acanthe – the lady here is awesome and has been helping us understand a bit of French. There are 6 restaurants in this village including the one at the hotel. It had great reviews on Trip Advisor so we decided to have dinner here. Again the lady helped us translate the menu and the food was great – typical french cuisine. We also had a bottle of Clairet which is a darker Rose – very nice. I’m really enjoying the red wines from this region.
Saint Macaire was reputedly founded by a wandering Greek monk who gave his name to the town and the gift shop. The town had a prosperous past when it was a major river port allowing country wine to be exported from Bordeaux and was a barrel making centre. It had the usual battles during the Hundred Years’ War and it’s Abbey was the scene of power struggles within the clergy, with the monks being evicted.