After our fantastic rest day, meal with French friends and late night expedition to the Chambord Chateaux, we left our host, Alex, on Thursday from Blois. He very kindly drove our things the 2km to the river as we hauled the canoe through the city centre, accompanied by Alex's neighbour and a few odd looks. We powered along all day, including a long spurt where our competitive sides took over. A man from a kayak club was out and heading upstream. Once spotted there was a noticeable gear change in our boat as we moved along and past him, jumping almost into the water when we said 'bonjour!'
By evening we'd made It to a power station and a long weir across the river. Deciding it better to overcome the obstacle with fresh heads, we camped on a nice riverside patch opposite the power station. Morning came and Nathan's early run meant be could scout the barrage. A walkway was marked around the weir so we portaged it quickly and paddled onto Bouvoir where we topped up our water supply.
By lunch we'd covered some good ground to the next town where we made chunky sandwiches on an island before working our way under a couple of difficult bridges. As the day drew on, though, we thought we'd fallen short of our target campsite by Orleans, but as we rounded a final meander the bridges came into view. We kept going till just after 8pm and stayed in a campsite after our longest day yet. Shortly before our arrival we also met a bobbing box which we were unable to figure out for a long while, camouflaged up with a log telescope poking out the side.... eventually a man in full length waders poked his head out and said hello. Extreme bird watching. It entertained us a fair bit!
On Friday we headed into Orleans on foot, early, to try and get our first proper French breakfast, which we did, after a fair bit of walking, and we munched on some awesome pastries. Postcards and bus tickets bought, we went back to the campsite and by 11:30 were on the water, paddling and towing through the 5 bridges of Orleans. After lunch we got lost - a lot - and paddled hard in the heat which eventually built into a thunder storm. We sheltered in the rain for a short while then went on until 7:30 where we realised we weren't to make our target campsite and instead set up the tent at the foot of some nice houses. The family came down to chat and gave us some (strong) beers and a bottle of water. Happy for us to camp there we settled in and called it a night.