This was our first day on the road, cycling through Charentes-Maritime, home among other things of a lovely aperitif wine, Pineau des Charentes. We left La Rochelle, and a little bit out of town we met another cyclist, and we asked him if we were on the road to Rochefort. He was Jean-Michel Gautier, who is retired, and he explained to us that he lives in La Rochelle and goes cycling three or four times a week. He told us he would cycle towards Rochefort with us, and we had a guided tour.
Just outside of La Rochelle was Les Minimes, the largest pleasure boat marina in the world, a veritable forest of masts, a sight to see.
The route from La Rochelle to Rochefort was along the ocean, including through a lovely place called Châtelaillon-Plage, where they harvest oysters. Jean-Michel waxed poetic about how much he loved oysters, and took us to his favourite place where we had his favourite oysters, the spéciale number 3 (he also likes the spéciale number 2). As the number gets smaller, the oysters get larger, and our oysters were delicious. We also had some of the best clams I ever ate. This place is a seafood paradise.
|Serge, Jean-Michel and me|
|The finest oysters!|
|This is not my bicycle|
Jean-Michel also explained to us that there were a lot of members of the Gauthier family that left La Rochelle for Quebec in the 17th century, and that some of them in Quebec are now known as Gauthier as well. Jean-Michel and Serge continued to cycle with me a little bit further and turned around before we reached Rochefort, and I continued onto Rochefort (where I made my obligatory stop at the patisserie) and continued by myself another 40 kilometres to Marennes near the ocean. Today was a great first day, I did 89 kilometres which is fine for day one, particularly given the fact that I didn’t train a lot before I left.
|Jean-Michel and Serge|
|The Ruelle de la Petite Fortune|
|Part of the trail Velo 1|
For dinner tonight we ate at La Cayenne where we had incredible seafood, by the sea and from the sea.
|The "Royale" seafood platter|
It’s wonderful to be here, to celebrate life, and to be thankful that I am alive and well. If you haven’t already done so, please help us save others. You can donate to our research efforts at www.stemcellchair.com