29 Jul Checking out Rochefort, France
Day 131/ 132 (17/18 July) – Rochefort is a small garrison town close to the ocean. Actually it lays about 9 miles inland along the river La Charente. Here, navy warships were built and repaired. The royal ropes factory is located here as well and its peculiar long architecture is dictated by its purpose. The town with its huge arsenal buildings was located inland on purpose to protect it from enemies coming across the sea. To get to it, one had to make it past several forts at sea, through a bay, more forts and then up the river. I guess Napoleon was pretty smart after all.
We take our time, looking around town. Next to the Marine Museum at the dry docks, we spot a marvelous looking sail ship. Apparently it is the exact replica of a boat that sailed to the new world during the war of independence. We are told that the original is on the bottom of the ocean, but that this one is being built after the original plans, with some modifications due to modern standards and regulation. Apparently, sailboats these days have to have a navigation system and a motor. This makes us wonder how anybody ever discovered the ‘New World’ with those old fashion methods. Or maybe us ‘new-age’ people have just become too dumb to work without technology.
Anyway, the boat is expected to be finished in 2015—if the funds are available—and will then be sailed across the ocean, so it can be displayed in Boston for a few months.
The rest of the day, we spend wandering around town, eating ice cream, getting lost in a labyrinth at the park, and buying and cooking food.
During our stay here, we weight different options of pursuing our travels through France…should we take a few days in Rochefort to relax, should we take a train up north, or maybe we should just continue our path up the EuroVelo 1 all the way north to take a ferry to England.
So after a couple days of relaxing in Rochefort and meeting other great bike tourists from France and England, we decided to keep going north. Craig from England and Jerome from France have been good company, and gave us all kinds of motivations to get going again. However, we decided not to stay on the EuroVelo, but to cut our own path toward Nantes.