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Day A12 - Not quite halfway
March 9, 2013         La Seyne-sur-Mer to Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer                     15 miles
Pedestrian bridge
Beach 4
Author St Cyr

It was meant to be an 11-mile day today, putting me into the Hôtel Au Tapis de Sables in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer in time for a relaxing afternoon doing precisely nothing. Unfortunately, it ended up as 15 miles yet again, and I arrived at 5 pm, after 8 hours on the road, quite wrung out.

The horsemeat at last night's restaurant had done me no harm, and I was ready for a new challenge. I had found a low-mileage route from today's origin to destination that crossed a pedestrian-only bridge over the La Reppe river at Saint-Roche. This cut three miles or so from the car route, but it required following many minor roads and lanes whose signage was, err, underwhelming. After all, if there wasn't a through route, then there'd be no "through-signage", right? Well, duh, that didn't even occur to me.

The roads and lanes within a few miles of this bridge went up, down and around, and intersected with other local roads of the same appearance. Direction signage was mainly restricted to local schools, hospitals and businesses. This might not have mattered if the road names were consistently present, but you could go two miles without your road bearing any name at all.

In the dry, I might have held my tablet open to steer me - but there was light rain in the morning when I had to deal with this, and I was already concerned about the amount of rain exposure that the tablet was getting.

All this added miles, time and frustration.

Better weather came along in the afternoon, when I was back on a well-signed highway, the D559, along with a 10-percent upslope for about a mile. At the top of that climb, I was ready for a supermarket visit, to stock up on food and buy a drink, and turned into a Carrefour. At French supermarkets, I had learned not to wear a backpack, because they suspect you're going to place stolen food in it and must leave it near the entrance - so, fearing theft myself, I usually deposited my pack into my supermarket cart. This usually raised no eyebrows, though it would be much easier to stuff my pack with their goods when it's in their cart than when it's on my back. On this occasion, the check-out clerk wanted me to open up my backpack for her inspection - and the daypack inside my backpack too, and then the plastic bag inside the daypack - like a game involving Russian dolls; my backpack must have a dozen ziplock bags of various sorts. The humor of this slowly surfaced as I followed her instructions - dry humor when no one smiles. Eventually, the line-up behind me sent signals that this had gone on long enough, so she processed my credit card for my purchases and I was gone.

Now, you might ask, what was the logic of this search? Do I go to France and walk a few hundred miles to steal an apple?

Twenty minutes beyond the supermarket, I turned a very sharp left off the main road on to a desolate dirt road that ran a mile or so to the sea where I found my hotel. What a smart place! Right on the beach. So empty in March.

I felt pleased with my progress on Part A to date -  but, despite massive effort, am not quite halfway.

Traffic circle w boat
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© 2013 Daryl May