I wanted to write something about the Loire valley opening before me as I came over the beautiful downlands, but it never did.
It became increasingly an exercise in frustration as the river failed to appear. There should be a law that says places like Champtocé-sur-Loire must actually be within peeing distance of the river, or have a bridge over it or something, but no.
I began to doubt more and more its existence. Perhaps it was a river that had been implanted in my mind by an evil imp?
I pedalled and pedalled and pedalled. I began to doubt my own existence. There was nothing but the turning of pedals, and dead snakes on the roads. What were they telling me? I began to wonder if existence itself really existed.
At last I came to a crossroads. But there was only one signpost:
What would Camus do?
He would push a stranger off a train. But I had no train, and I was the stranger.
I carried on. Eventually I came to the levée which runs alongside the river. This was truly Sisyphean because it is so boring. Straight and flat, with a head-wind, you feel as though you are working hard without actually going anywhere.
But somewhere, at last, I did cross what seemed to be a broad river, which had a label on it saying La Loire. So I suppose I must be in France now. But who really knows?