Days 12 - 15

As always thank you to everyone that has donated.  As more people become aware of what I am doing and why I am getting donations from people that I don't know (personally) and those that choose to donate anonymously.  All of which is perfectly fine of course but I just wish I could thank everyone personally.  As it stands today the total is just under £9,000.  Thanks again everyone.

Yesterday I completed the last of my 4 day stints, which was a change to the plan as I wanted to watch the Chinese Grand Prix.  It would be a shame to walk all this way to see a Grand Prix and miss one en-route so I decided at the beginning of the stint to try to do 4 days off the back of the previous 4, all dependent on how I was feeling.  So, I'm pleased to report that I went for it and made it, I watched the Grand Prix (which was the 1,000th GP race of all time) and Lewis Hamilton won it.  I personally felt it was a fitting result that he won as the current outstanding driver and that Sebastian Vettel was on the podium with him having finished third.  These two have been the winners of most titles since I've been watching the sport live.

So those 4 days of walking have taken me from Bouffry, which is around 50 miles north of Tours (where we have been staying) to Douadic which is around the same distance to the south.  I've walked through some very picturesque towns and villages such as Vendome, Saint-Armand-Longpre, Autreche, and Amboise.  Amboise is particularly worthy of note as it is there that I crossed the Loire which was a personal landmark for me (don't know why).  Obviously the Loire Valley is a rich source of some of the best wines and Amboise itself is a beautiful town with a chateaux that was owned and lived in by Leonardo da Vinci.  It was apparently a gift to him by the then king of France as they were such good friends.  If any of my mates have a spare chateaux knocking about please don't be shy!  Onwards south from the Loire via Chédigny, Loches, Verneuil-sur-Indre, Saint Flovier, Maruzay to finish at Douadic.  These places are well worth a visit if you intend to spend anytime at all in this part of the world.  Whilst they are definitely off the beaten-track they are worth the effort for their tranquility, unspoilt buildings, small bars and restaurants and friendly people, (even if your French is as poor as mine).

The landscape has been a bit more varied in that it rolled a bit for a couple of days and especially the first day south of the Loire but as yet it is always coming back to the more "far-as-the-eye-can-see" flat plains.  As I have always suspected I shall not really get away from this until south of Limoges.  The weather has been extremely kind.  Not a drop of rain and pretty much no cloud making for a cool, bright start to the morning - often just over zero and then a bright day under a full sun but temperatures not much above 14 - 15 C.

John has been my logistics support for the past week and until Thursday.  He has spent the days touring chateaux, churches and other towns and villages, some off of my route of course.  He's a very keen photographer (with a proper camera) and I'm sure will have taken some excellent shots.  Once we're back I'll see if I can get some of those onto here but for now you'll have to make do with my iPhone shots on instagram / facebook.

Today is our last in Tours as we de-camp to Limoges tomorrow.  Tours is a good place to make a base if you were looking to tour (did you see what I did there) around here.  Loads of hotels, excellent restaurants, Boeuf-Bourguignon and Coq-au-Vin to die for and of course some lovely wine (so I'm told).  The old town is a site to behold and holds many bars too and the cathedral is magnificent.

In summary I have completed 15 days of walking, over 375 miles, over 250 miles in France, I did 200 miles in the last 9 days, have completed all of my 4-day waking stints and the number of miles remaining now starts with a 4!  In total I have done just shy of 771,000 steps.  Before I left home I was wondering how I would feel when I had completed the first two cycles of walking (4 / rest / 3 rest and repeat) as I thought that might be a good indicator of how I was doing.  Well having done it and a day extra I'm delighted to say that I'm feeling very good physically and mentally.  Nothing has fallen off and my feet and legs feel in good shape.  I think it's good now that the pattern changes to 3 days walking and a rest for the remainder of the journey but all in all I have no complaints and I hope that continues to be the case.

I hope you are continuing to find these ramblings of some interest and that they give you some further insight into what I am doing.  I'll update further after the next stint.