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Saturday 24th March MARATHON 67

25-March-2012 9:28
in General
by Admin
24th March  - Day 71. Up at 6:15 following a restless night, legs hurt generally with right hip and knee being the biggest problems. Also the heating came on at 4am, the radiator 2ft from my head became red hot and I dreamt again of the desert and woke sweating from head to foot! I am also eating too much cheese, I normally avoid cheese after mid afternoon as it affects my sleep in a bad way, I have ...been known to wake up screaming and shouting in mid nightmare following a piece of cheese with a cracker and a glass of red! I am eating a couple of pounds of cheese every night at the moment! I better cut down. Anyway washing did not get finished last night, too late so now being done this morning to make use of the rads that helped ruin my nights sleep! Tony up, very sore and we both left for our run at 6.50. We ran straight to the castle, up to the main entrance and in. I said I would find out a bit about it and I have. Here we go!

Situated on the eastern side of the Gironde estuary north of
Bordeaux, Blaye is best known for its Citadel and for the red wine produced in the surrounding region. With 4,700 inhabitants, Blaye is a small town, but has a long history of military and strategic significance.
According to legend Blaye is the final resting place of the Count Roland of Blaye, nephew of Charlemagne and hero of Le Chanson de Roland. Unfortunately, the Basilique Saint-Romain where he was said to be buried suffered damage in the Wars of Religion and was later completely destroyed during the building of the Citadel.
The Citadel is a military complex designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and was constructed between 1685 and 1689. Built with the goal of protecting Blaye, the Citadel, together with the Fort Paté and the Fort Médoc on the western side of the Gironde estuary, was able to control the flow of river traffic.

It is free to enter the Citadel and explore its ramparts. From the top of the Citadel, there is a good view of the estuary and the two forts. Within its walls, visitors can pay to take guided tours of the Abbaye St. Romain or to enter or take a tour of the Musée d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de Blaye and the old prison in the same building. Tours are also available of the Citadel and its underground passageways through the Office de Tourisme.

In 2008, the Citadel of Blaye and the city walls were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with other fortifications designed by 17th century military engineer Vauban.

Anyway, It was fantastic, massive and had unbelievable views across the water and the town. We stopped a few times to take photos and explored every road and track with the castle walls. Tony's legs were in bits and Tony had to call it a day at 2.6k, so he headed back to the hotel. I carried on out past the Hospital for a few kilometres turned and also headed back. I ran past the front of the castle where the Saturday market was setting up. The smells were amazing and the atmosphere was spellbinding, coffee shops open and doing a brisk trade. Back to the hotel in 50 Mins and 6.53k complete. Felt great apart from my injuries and aches and pains! Quick shower and down for a quick breakfast, porridge perfect again, back to the room, laptop under my arm and we all set off for the coffee shop by the market. Coffee for Dad and Tony, water for me and wifi access to download my last 3 runs! Hotel wifi did not work and I started to worry I had lost the Garmin record! All sorted at the Cafe, very relieved, coffee consumed and we set off for a walk round the market. Fantastic market, sold everything from buttons to live chickens! The fresh fish and shell fish stall was vast. There was a hot food stall, also amazing, we could not resist buying pyella, squid and potato and 2 scewers of various meats, tomato's and peppers! Across the road to the Boulongery for fresh bread, just out of the oven! What a place, shame I have to run 26 miles away soon! Blaye is definitely on the revisit list! Great hour spent we headed back to the hotel. The temperature was already over 20 with clear blue skies and no wind, interesting running weather! Paid packed and outside the very nice Auburge de Porches Hotel for a quick video. All sorted and I set off at 11:40, Tony and dad sorted themselves out and set off a few minutes after me. They went straight to my finish point in a town called, Saint Fort Sur Gironde, dropped tony's car off and came back to me. I reached 18k before they got to me, still had water left, but I was getting a bit panicky due to the heat! Most of the route was through open countryside and vineyards. The towns were few and far between, I think actually only two, Braud-et-Saint-Louis and Saint-Ciers-sur-Gironde on the minor road D146. All good, I got to half way in 1'48" and the temperature hit 27! I struggled from half way to 28k, the heat sapped my strength! I regained a bit of rhythm and a steady pace for the last 10k. A beautiful route, very hot but I got marathon number 67 complete just before the town of Saint Fort Sur Gironde, In a time of 3'47"30 Very pleased to finish and get out of the heat! Well just for a minute, quick change and orange in the sun. We finished on a bit of a main road so we jumped in the van and drove to the village and the square where Tony had left his car. Perfect setting, there was a cafe on the corner of the square with tables outside in the sun, we thought we would buy our drinks and ask if we could eat the food we bought from the Blaye market this morning! Before we opened our mouths a very friendly lad said hello in perfect English and asked how we were doing! He name was Joe and he was from Brixton! He was quite happy for us to eat our food and drink from the cafe, perfect. We plotted up set out the array of food on the table, two beers ordered and a coffee for me and we tucked in. Joe sat with us and had a chat about what we were doing and told us his story. We have only met the couple in Biarritz that were welsh and the Smalls that were British in Northern Portugal! Anyway a very enjoyable hour spent, by the time it came to leave, we had been joined by Steve, who previously worked for Palmers Scaffolding and also Sandra and her daughter Pela! Like buses! They were all very kind, trying to find us accommodation locally unfortunately without success. Quick photo session, back in the van and headed for the marina of a town called Mortagne sur Gironde, a recommendation from Steve. We eventually found our way down to the marina after a few wrong turns, and discovered another gem of a place! We looked for the Hotel, at first without luck then found it almost by chance, we went past it 5 times before realising it was a Hotel not a museum! Tony went in first, came out very quickly and said he would not stay there if it was the last place open in France! But we had to go in and have a look? We all crept through the front door, out of the warm sunlight into a very dark, cold and weird hallway. Wood panelling, dark pictures, pinball machine, fairground amusements, a 1950 motorbike, a mannequin and a lot of other very quirky and weird stuff! Tony said this just is not right so after a quick look around we made our way out very quietly. We almost made it to the front gates when a woman appeared like the shop keeper from Mr Ben and asked us what we wanted! Shocked we returned to the front door, explained we were looking for accommodation. The lady was very pleasant and spoke perfect English, confirmed she had accommodation, we tried to find a reason not to accept, no bath did it and we left! We returned half hour later after a fruitless search for an alternative! Tony still not keen we went in to look at the room, turned out to be very nice and very big! Upstairs was a complete contrast and we accepted. The lady was very nice, Dutch, has owned the place for 8 years and just returned from a stay in Notting Hill. All good we got our kit up to the room, showered and now going to find something to eat on the very tiny quay side. We found a little Pizza place, Lasagne and Pizza consumed and back to the very striking La Maison Du Meunier and its very strange and quite creepy ground floor! Legs to ice then to bed as soon as possible, clocks forward and I have a radio5live interview at 6:40 uk time in the morning! As long as nothing gets put in! I have got to say overall today has been the most enjoyable and full day so far! Thanks for coming over Tony, dad enjoyed a break from the pressure of me, dad by the way, has now had a few near perfect days! Goodnight I hope you all have a good weekend.

Joe, sandra, pela, stephen at L'Amical

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