From Basel I rode across the border into southwestern Germany then immediately across the Rhine into France. The next several days were defined by smooth, flat bike-paths along canals and rivers as I followed the Rhine-RhÃ´ne canal and the SaÃ´ne river through Mullhouse and BesanÃ§on and continuing southwest. The weather was sunny and warm for several days and I enjoyed some long, easy rides. I stayed more-or-less on one of the major EuroVelo bike routes so it was fun to see dozens (if not hundreds) of other bike tourists along the way. I biked for a couple of days with an English guy much more adventurous than I since he was riding across Europe with no money; busking, begging, and dumpster-diving to keep himself going. Fascinating trip, but not something I think I’ll try.
A little north of Lyon I turned west off the major bike route and headed up into the hills of the Haute Loire region. Unfortunately this coincided with the arrival of wet weather so the next few days were rainy, but the rugged terrain made for a beautiful change from the flat land of the rivers and canals.
I finally reached the gorgeous town of Le Puy-en-Velay where I took a day off to visit the cathedral, one of the traditional starting points for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. I had been considering walking the pilgrimage route myself, but my visa status didn’t leave me enough time in France and Spain for that and biking the route seemed somehow wrong so I decided to make that trip some other day.