A Miracle in Bagnols-sur-Cèze

We might have celebrated getting away from the stormy night and the swollen stream mostly dry too soon. Before the day was over, the rain would catch us out again. But just like before in Finland, the universe had a miracle in store for us in Bagnols-sur-Cèze.

Having navigated the swollen stream, we continued south on the ViaRhôna, hoping we wouldn’t come across any more flooded roads.

We didn’t need to worry as the route gradually took us to a higher ground.

As we weaved our way through the countryside, we came across this beautiful horse. It wasn’t the first or the last horse we saw just on its own in the middle of nowhere. But at least this one had plenty of space, unlike one of the others we saw later on, confined into a space hardly bigger than itself.

The horse came towards us as we were riding past, and we had to stop. It would have been rude to just pass him by. We had an apple left and gave it to this beauty. I wished we could have taken him with us. He looked so forlorn on his own.

But of course we couldn’t start rescuing lonely horses.

As we left the horse behind, it started drizzling again. Luckily, our fashionable gear kept us reasonably dry. But we needed to find somewhere dry to eat our lunch.

As always, we found exactly what we needed.

Before too long, we came across the perfect spot underneath a bridge. The bridge had sloped sides we could climb up and eat lunch out of the drizzle.

While we lunched, cracks appeared in the cloud coverage and by the time we were ready to continue, it even looked like we might get some sun.

But of course we weren’t done with the rain. Or rather, the rain wasn’t done with us.

It wasn’t long after we had discarded the ponchos that it all went downhill again. And once more we got drenched.

We called it a day when we reached a small town called Bagnols-sur-Cèze.

While Justin shopped for our dinner, I searched for a campsite that might still be open. We needed to charge our equipment, but more than that, we needed a warm shower.

According to the map, there were two campsites not too far from the town centre. Knowing that many campsites had closed for the winter, we checked their websites. It looked like one of them hadn’t closed yet, so that was where we headed.

It was probably one of the lowest points of our ride, as we headed towards the campsite. The only thing that kept us going was the idea of a warm shower and getting into dry clothes. But once again, the universe had a miracle in store for us.

When we got to Camping Les Genêts d’Or à Bagnols-sur-Cèze, to our horror we discovered that it, too, had shut for the winter. I could have cried. We had cycled out of the town, into the middle of nowhere, only to arrive at a closed campsite.

But our saviour was close.

As we considered our options, the owner of the campsite came out. At first, she suggested we find a hotel somewhere.

Justin asked her if we could just put the tent up somewhere on the grounds since all around the campsite were forests not suitable for camping and obviously hotels were not withing our budget. It was also already getting dark.

The owner considered for a moment, and then said the sweetest words we could have heard at that moment, “I’ll unlock one of the caravans for you.”

I could have hugged her, but of course in COVID times that would have been frowned upon. Also, she probably wouldn’t have wanted a hug from a soaking wet cyclist.

She fetched a key and unlocked one of their caravans. It was a heaven. A proper kitchen to cook our food in, a shower room, a comfortable sofa and best of all, a proper bed. No, the bed was actually the second best thing.

The best thing was the heating she turned up to the highest setting. Soon we were warm and cosy with all our wet clothes drying out.

AMAZING.

Even more amazing was that she didn’t want any money from us. She just said to drop the key in the box next to the reception door in the morning.

A miracle was what we needed to lift our spirits after a night sleeping at a bus stop and getting soaked again.

In the morning’s light, once we had packed and ready to go, we cycled around the campsite before leaving. We had hoped to thank our rescuer again, but she had gone into town. But we saw her husband and thanked him for their kindness and generosity.

Camping Les Genêts d’Or à Bagnols-sur-Cèze looks a fabulous campsite with a swimming pool and it is next to a river.

I’m not just saying it looks fabulous because we had a free night there and the owner saved us from a cold and wet night camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The campsite is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area and looking for a place to stay.

Having got a great night’s sleep in a warm and comfortable bed, we were ready to tackle the road again.

However, with only twenty days left of Justin’s ninety days and having fallen short of the distance we needed to cover each day, we were beginning to wonder whether we would make it to Punta de Tarifa in time…

Until next time, and as always, thank you for being here.

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