Barcelona Express – day 3

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Last night we spent the night in a fort. In my previous blog I already wrote about it… but I hadn’t been able to show the video that I made when it got dark and a party was launched in the fort….

What a magical place aye?

So this morning we woke up hearing a lot of confusion around us. We were given information that we breakfast was at 9:00 and the start of todays stage at 10:00. We had set the alarm for 08:00 given us plenty of time to pack our tent and have a nice calm breakfast. But now all around us people were quickly packing their tents hearing them mention the bus would leave at 09:00 instead of 10:00. Apparently someone of the crew had said this… Great!!

So Charlotte and me decided to just get a move on with the packing… Even though we thought it was unlikely they’d just change something so important. We ended up being one of the first to be completely packed and of course the 09:00 start information was an error….

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Giving us plenty of time to enjoy a nice a decent breakfast, wayyyy better than the camping in Gent.

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After breakfast we headed to Nancy with all the other teams in a few touring cars. The location of the fort was so incredibly remote we would have been stuck on a hill in France forever. The organisation had decided to drop everyone off at the square in Nancy and start from there.

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The actual start took forever… Partly because the organization left late, I guess due to participants not being ready at 10:00. Another reason it took so long for us to start was that prior to the competition we could donate more money / collect likes on Facebook to daily get a 45 minute head start. Charlotte and me had seriously planned to organize those things but without much notice it turned out they were closing the like gathering a month before the competition (we got an e-mail like 2 days before it was closing) so we just really never got around to sorting that out. Sadly this means that Charlotte and me only have 10 minutes headstart vs a lot of team on 45 minutes more or less.

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But finally around 11:30 we got to start hitchhiking. Whilst we had been waiting to start we had figured out several roads in Nancy that would lead to the A31 aka the Route du Soleil. We had figured out our destination of the day was going to be Pont-de-vaux. A small village just above Macon. Technically it was one road heading South…. but as easy we dealt with the difficult stage of yesterday as much did we struggle with today’s “easy” route.

Out of luck.

It seemed Charlotte and me had used all our luck yesterday as we were really struggling in Nancy to fetch a ride. We saw around us left and right teams getting picked up but all we got from cars were people shaking their heads… Both Charlotte and myself really had to work hard to keep our spirits up and keep trying…

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We’d been walking in between several spots in Nancy that we thought were good for rides but nobody would stop. After like two hours of just standing by the road in the burning sun we went for a cold drink and an ice cream. We’re now South enough in France that the temperature is at least 30C going 35C. So it is hot.

Ride 1: Nancy – Nancy

After struggling more than 2,5 hours we had decided any ride would work as long as we got out of Nancy. And then Benjamin pulled into the gas station were we had been sitting. He offered to drive us up higher in Nancy where a lot more cars would go towards Dijon / Lyon. Happily we took him up on his offer. The best thing that had happened to us all day!

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It was 14:11 by the time we got in his car and only 9 minutes later he dropped us off at another gas station. On to the next ride!

Ride 2: Nancy – Dijon

Well Benjamin hadn’t left yet or this fancy Peugeot sports car pulled up… Charlotte approached the man driving it and he said he would take us until like Dijon. Result! First we were waiting for 2,5 hours and now we got our next ride in less than 5 minutes… And what a ride.

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Our driver, Nicolas, fortunately also drove the car as a sports car and in really decent time we made it to just above Dijon. We had picked a gas station that seemed like a big place hoping to find another ride from there.

Ride 3: Dijon – Beaune

More teams from the competition had gotten the same idea as us to go for said gas station and like chickens without their heads a lot of teams were running around approaching any new car entering the ‘gaming grounds’. Charlotte and me got lucky when we approached Manu. A nice guy on his way South. He couldn’t take us to our final destination but he also could help us along the way… So yep! We will take it.

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Ride 4: Beaune – Salle

Again within 10 minutes of Manu dropping us off we found two guys willing to take us even further South. In fact further than we really wanted but it was an infrastructure problem. To get to Pont-de-Vaux we had to take a ‘slower’ road that was going parallel to the highway going to Macon. This slower road also went to Macon but through several villages including Fleurdeville , the village right next to Pont-de-Vaux. Sadly our charms were not enough to persuade the guys to take the slower parallel road. We had to decide to drive with them to Salle and risk a 5km walk or wait around hoping for someone willing to take the slower road. As we were both quite looking forward to atleas just getting there at this point we decided to go with the guys. A 5km walk is really nothing for Charlotte and me, even with our big backpacks… But obviously we were a bit tired of today’s happenings…. The boys dropped us of in Salle and after getting another ice cream we started our hike.

Salle – Pont-de-Vaux

We had decided on to just keep walking and hold up our Pond-de-Vaux sign whenever a car would drive by… Which was not that often… For those who don’t know it, Charlotte and me are roommates. We live together with another girl, Lucie, in a house. So whilst we were walking we decided to sent her a nice video message.

Ride 5…..

Just after the message a car approached and a lady called Amele stopped and offered to drop us off at the camping! Woop Woop! The 5km hike had become a 1km hike in the end. Result!

Exactly at 18:30 we arrived at the camping. We were the 56th to arrive. Right now, whilst I am writing this blog, it is 21:30 and people are still coming in. Our arrival time was quite convenient as this was the time they started to serve dinner. Pasta, nom nom. We quickly set up our tent and head for a well deserved meal.

Eat, swim, sleep!

The camping we’re staying at is located right on the river the Saone and also has a pool… After we ate our food it was obviously time to put on our bikinis and go for a nice cool dip in the pool… Cooling down after a challenging and hot 3rd day.

We’re still going strong!

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