The Path Less Traveled … Is Worth the Trip

Today was a fairly scenic, pretty interesting and mostly relaxing ride that included lots of chateaux, cathedrals and villages/towns.

The relaxing part is key, as I’m working diligently (with help from Susan) on being in the moment. Enjoy the now and don’t think about and plan what’s next. That’s not so easy to do in general, and especially hard on a bike trip. A bike trip is pretty much all about where am I going next … right?

Anyway,  today’s ride was a little different. It was more about the destinations than the scenery. The scenery  was nice not enough, but not exactly the spectacular I’ve been seeing the past couple of days. I think I’m in the part of Bordeaux, the southern section, that’s a little less touristy … and has fewer famous vineyards, which is probably why it’s less touristy. And scenic. There were fewer cyclists on the paths and roads.

Here are today’s destinations in photos…

This is the Roquetaillade Castle, about 10 Ks south of Langon (where I’m staying) and in the middle of nowhere. It’s immense, and only open from 3PM to 4PM according to the sign, so I couldn’t go in since it was 11AM. Oh well, maybe next time.
Every village, town and city in France has a cathedral … and it seems the smaller the town, the bigger the cathedral. This is the one in Uzeste, a little town of maybe a couple hundred people. How small is it? There isn’t even a pastry shop. Was Uzeste much bigger when they built this cathedral hundreds of years ago? And, if so, where did all the people and their dwellings go? Was there some sort of plague? 
Another 10K … and another chateaux. This is Cazeneuve Castle and it was built by Henry IV, the king of France from 1589 to 1610. 
Bazas is a great town/city with a giant cathedral and a very medieval feel, with lots of stone buildings, winding streets and big squares. This might have been a better city to stay in and use as a base to explore this section of Bordeaux.
Today was about one-third bike paths and the rest on small, country roads. I like the bike paths, they help me with the whole “in the moment thing.” In fact, a few times, I’d close my eyes for a few seconds and shut off my brain. It was kind of cool. The paths went mostly through wooded areas that looked like this…
This was my favorite destination today: the old fortress-like castle in Villandraut. It dates back to 1300 and was built by Pope Clement. And, it has…
… moats, drawbridges, dungeons, turrets and narrow slots so they could shoot out their arrows and maybe toss boiling oil on their enemies down below. The town of Villandraut is tiny, but of course has a large cathedral … and a hotel. So this could also be a place to stay. It would be cool to sit in front of the castle as the sun was going down.

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