Loire Valley and The Rhine River October 2019

Still waiting for a date to have his hip operation, Garry decided to head off on another tour.

Looking for a relatively easy tour and one that wasn’t too far away, Garry came up with the idea of cycling some of Europe’s long-distance cycle paths, the EuroVelo routes.

He decided that the EV6, the Atlantic to the Black Sea, and the EV15 Rhine River cycle route, would make a good combination, although Garry would only be cycling part of them. Namely the Loire Valley and the Canal du Rhône, on the EV6 as far as Mulhouse. Then pick up the EV15 heading north through France, Germany and Holland.

Once again Garry caught the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo. After arriving in France, Garry started following the many canals and rivers of France, heading down to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, on the Atlantic coast, the beginning of the EV6 and the Loire valley.

On the EV6, Garry was making good progress, until he reached Nantes! After a night spent in the most expensive campsite Garry’s ever stopped at, (€50!) Garry woke up to find a blister had come up on the back of his hand, which is what happened last year when he contracted sepsis!

Not too sure what he should do, he decided to carry on. As the day went on, the blister started to grow and got bigger! To say Garry was a little worried was a bit of an understatement, especially as he didn’t have any travel insurance, due to the high cost, which made things a little more tense for him!

At the end of the day he reached La Possonniere, near Angers and decided that because he wasn’t feeling unwell and the blister seemed to have stopped growing, he would sleep on it and see how things were in the morning.

From Bad To Worse

The following morning came, and Garry still felt okay, the blister hadn’t changed overnight and looked the same. After a bit of thought, he decided to carry on. Although while he was eating breakfast, he happened to notice that another blister had come up, on his other hand! (Again the same as last year!) That was it Garry was now worried and decided that he needed to get home and get them checked out as soon as possible!

How To Get Home

Cycling back wasn’t an option. It would take too long, even going direct! A train was his only bet. So after cycling the 10-miles to Angers, his nearest big town, he went to Gare d’Angers Saint-Laud the central railway station in Angers. Where he found out, he could catch a train to Le Mans, change trains and then catch another train to Caen, from there it would be a short bike ride to Ouistreham where he could get a ferry back to England! The only problem being that he had to wait around all day before he could get his train, but it was still his quickest option!

After arriving in Caen at 9.45 pm, Garry then had a mad dash to cycle the ten miles to Ouistreham, in a bid to catch the 11 pm sailing. Garry reached Ouistreham at 10.40 pm, only to find that the gate had closed and the ferry was ready to leave! But the very kind staff allowed Garry to board, so he was able to get the overnight crossing!

Back in England, Garry went for blood tests and check-ups, and thankfully everything came back as being okay, which was a massive relief to Garry and his family!

The Return

After many tests and visits to the doctors, Garry was given the all-clear and could return to France, although a month had now passed and it was October! As well as being given the all-clear he was given a date his hip surgery, which allowed Garry just enough time to complete this tour!

Garry headed back to France, to pick up where he’d left off. Once again catching the ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo. Two days after arriving back in France Garry made it back to Angers and was back on EV6 and the Loire Valley.

Being October meant the days were starting to get short, not getting light until nearly 8 am, but the weather was still good, with plenty of sunshine.

Garry stuck to the EV6 as much as possible, or at least as much as it suited him! Some of it was very familiar to him, as he had cycled it nine years ago, some bits not so, Garry particularly enjoyed coming across parts of the route that he remembered, especially when he wasn’t expecting it!

Garry completed the EV6 and reached Mulhouse, where he picked up the EV15, and Rhine River. But instead of heading north towards Germany, Garry decided to head south to Switzerland, after all, it was only 25-miles away and seemed such a shame not to visit, seeing as he was so close!

Eurovelo 15

Garry made it to Basel, Switzerland, but found the place very busy, and for some reason didn’t have a good feeling about it! He immediately turned around and headed back to France!

Now following the EV15, Garry stuck to the left bank and passed through the beautiful Alsace region of France, before entering Germany at Karlsruhe. Garry was now on the Upper Rhine and passed through picturesque villages and vineyards.

After the Upper Rhine came the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, probably the most spectacular part of the Rhine with steep cliffs, covered with vineyards and dozens of castles that look out over the Rhine Valley.

Garry stuck with the Rhine until he reached Holland, where he left it behind and took a more direct route to Rotterdam. But Holland being Holland Garry never had to cycle on one single road it was cycle paths or routes all the way.

From Rotterdam, it was a short ride to the Hook of Holland where Garry would catch an overnight ferry back to Harwich, England.

The Finish

Back in England Garry cycled as far as London, where he decided to end this tour and caught a train home.

Not being one for cycle routes, Garry was surprised at how much he enjoyed cycling Eurovelo routes 6 and 15 and may even do some more in the future!

Total miles cycled 1766.

Garry’s Photos on Flickr
Map of Garry’s Route