Saturday: Chaumont to Blois

We make a leisurely ride to Blois, where we will take the train back to La Clos.

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A word about trains...

In France, trains are the way to travel.  Every town, village, hamlet, crossroads, and rabbit trail that crosses a railroad will have some type of train stop there at least six times a day.   However, if you want to travel with your bike, things get a little tricky. 

There is a hierarchy to trains.  At the top of the food chain, you have the TGV - the high-speed trains that  will whisk you from here to there at upwards of 300km/hr (180 mph).  There's the Paris metro, that will whisk you to all the tourist sites and entertain you with its busking musicians that range from string quintets to off-key renditions of "La Bamba".  You have express trains, and RER's with their attention to schedule. 

But if you want to see the real France, and really meet the people, and take your bike, you must take the TER.  The TER will get you to your destination eventually, but it has to make more stops than an inner city bus or a Southwest Airlines flight.  Each TER train has a manned baggage compartment (must be some kind of union rule) with hooks to hang bikes from.

We arrive at the Blois train station at noon, buy our tickets and meet up with Dany, who has brought out luggage.  One of the station agents is a nice young lady named Jennifer, who asks about the trike, then takes us under her wing and makes sure that our bikes get loaded onto the train. 

Since there's no direct TER service from Blois to Saumur, we must change trains at a small town en-route.  The station staff gives us a special dispensation to cross the tracks with the bikes to get to the proper platform, rather than forcing us to lug bikes and luggage up and down the stairs that connect the platforms.

With the bikes parked on the platform, we run down to the bar for a snack.  When we return, the trike has accumulated a small audience: a family has stopped to inspect.  A former English teacher helps translate.KidTrike.jpg (136871 bytes)

On the trip back to Saumur, Jayne makes friends with some kids who are on their way home to Paris.  They get to try out their English, and we practice our pantomime.

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Claude and Jacqueline meet us at the Saumur station, and we return to La Clos and prepare to leave France.