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Day 30....... Besançon To Montbeliard........97 km ......(total 2,526 km)

Last year I rode from London to Rome. My route took me across northern France and down through Besançon (on a very wet and cold day) and then onto the Jura mountains and into Switzerland before entering Italy via the Grand St Bernard Pass . As coincidence would have it my route northwards this year takes me through Besançon on almost the exact same date. I was here last year April 6 this year April 5.

Goes without saying then that the only place I was going to dine at last night was a wonderful cheap and tasty Vietnamese restaurant that we stopped at for lunch last year. 

Leaving Besançon it was a 6 km struggle with a small hill which also involved some animated gesticulation with an inconsiderate French driver of a purple Nissan QASHQAI who seeemd to think my acceleration speed away from a green light was lacking the cheetah type reaction times he demanded .

After 10 days in France I have decided today that a croissant and espresso doesn’t cut it for breakfast if you’re doing anything more than breathing air. Shamefully I had a craving for something a little more substantial and gave way to entering a Macdonalds for the first time since who knows when. Things have changed. Firstly I ordered from a major looking computer screen. ( that in itself is a challenge for an IT phobe like me . Try it in a foreign language.) Then the gizmo gave me the choice of collecting at the counter or having my food delivered to my table. Option b please sir. Whilst sat at my table at 9 am awaiting delivery of my goods I got listening to the lyrics of the rap song being played softly over the speakers . Suffice to say the language was colourful and had I spoken French I would’ve spoken to the manager. Really Ronald? Who wants to bring their children to a supposed family restaurant and have to expose them to what a rap singer wants to do to his girlfriend. 

Suffice to say one thing that hasn’t changed. McMuffins still taste like plastic . I had to eat two of course to make sure .

Things got immeasurably better soon after leaving Maccas as my route  dropped back down onto the companion of yesterday (Le Doubs River) and she/he/it took me upstream for 85 km passing through some narrow cliff lined valleys.

Not the sort of football pitch conducive to the tic-tac , slick passing , type football played by most premier league sides these days. Picturesque nonetheless. 

Passed quite a few fishermen and even some fishing ladies. This chap wasn’t struggling for competition . 

Eventually the narrow valleys gave way to more open expanses that were covered with Rapeseed fields 

I’ve passed a few cemeteries in my time that can lay claim to possessing a superb final resting place view. Waverly cemetery in Sydney still holds onto first prize but this little gem with its overview of the Le Doub Valley just outside of Clerval ranks up there.

Tough views from one of my regular stops to have a sugar and H2O hit.

After hundreds of km riding alongside the Rhône, Saône and now the Le Doubs rivers and passing thousands of cyclists this was the very first cycle friendly riverside cafe that I have come across. Take a bow proprietor of L’Etape Cafe at Saint-Maurice-Colombier.

Having embraced the picnic idea for lunch down near Barcelona I have decided it’s the way to go. Pop into a supermarket, buy some bread , ham , cheese and tomato along with two Mandarins and a fresh baguette for €5.70 and then set off to find a decent lunch spot. Success all round today.

Got to love a Rapeseed field.

Entering Montbeliard I passed by the city’s riverside park which clearly was a point of destination for recently married couples to have their post ceremony photos taken. There were 3 sets of newlyweds in the park at the same time that I passed by. Brides and weddings are like dolphins. Every time you see one they make you smile.

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