For breakfast we get a baguette, margarine, jam and a knife (no plates), so we’re done pretty quickly. We get a baguette from the bakery for our lunch and set off. This time we’re able to follow the canal road, since it’s used as a service road for a series of 26 locks, closely spaced with some room left in between for boats to pass each other. It’s a fun ride down through woods, with the water level dropping a couple of meters with each lock. The asphalt road is not used often, the high grasses on the banks are leaning over it whipping our legs. After following some bigger roads we set off through the fields on grassy farmers roads, it’s slow going but there’s great views. We have lunch in Ville-sur-Retourne, layering ham, cheese and tomato slices on our fresh baguette.

Soon after we find the start of the old Roman road. Parts of it are used as D roads and asphalted, but mostly it’s a wide dusty track of compressed earth used by big farming machines, so it’s pretty bumpy at times. It’s almost perfectly straight, on the top of one hill you can see it cutting through the fields all the way to the next. Unfortunately there is still a strong headwind and there is no shelter in the fields, so it’s hard work going forward. Due to the wind it’s not too warm, but the sun is strong so we put on a visible layer of sun screen on any exposed skin. At one of the sun screen stops we spot a black stork rising up close by. Definitely not a local, it must have just taken off from a field and we follow it until it’s too high to see.

We meet mom with the car at Caurel around 4 and drive to Bar sur Seine, where we’ll sleep for two nights, visiting some champagne wine growers and buying some bottles for ourselves and family. We visit the foire in Reims as well, returning to Belgium with a car stuffed full of bicycle gear and champagne boxes.

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