RideEatCamp

Escape to France

Europe

Oh, hello. Maybe you thought I quit the blogging business. Unfortunately for you I’m still at it. There’s a lot to talk about since the last post, so without further delay, here’s the update.

Can you guess what's behind us?
Can you guess what’s behind us?

As we rode out of Paris on a nice bike path we passed lots of interesting graffiti.
As we rode out of Paris on a nice bike path we passed lots of interesting graffiti.

We were enjoying ourselves in Norway. The landscape is the supermodel of the world. Every day we would ride through scenery that would make our heads shake in disbelief, thinking it’s just not possible to be this attractive all the time. But it continued to prove us wrong.

However a rather nasty storm was forecasted to land and then over stay its welcome. As we approached the city of Trondheim we had to decide whether to continue south to Bergen as planned amid what looked to be a very wet week or get the heck out of Norway while the coast was clear. We checked the weather report for Paris and our decision made itself. Warm and dry sounded so nice after about three months of cool and damp. We wanted a taste of a real summer.

We stayed at a hostel in Trondheim for two nights to research and prepare for our escape. Although the thought of flying and the hassle of doing so with our bikes was a turn off, it was cheaper and faster than taking several trains or a combo of ferries and trains.

The day before we left our task was to find materials with which to pack our bikes for the flight. Although we’ve usually sought out used bike boxes from bike shops, they’re huge and difficult to portage without a car. When we flew from Scotland to Norway we were able to scavenge some thick plastic sheeting from a carpet store. We then partially disassembled the bikes and wrapped them in the plastic. The advantage of the plastic is that security officials and baggage handlers can see that the package is a bike. If they know it’s a bike they probably won’t mistreat it too badly. The bikes survived the first flight so we planned to plastic wrap them again to get them to Paris.

In possibly a half hour of walking around Trondheim we were able to easily find more than enough plastic wrapping. Twice we took some from some obliging construction workers and twice we found wrapping in a recycling bin from some Ikea packaging. It’s probably no surprise for me to tell you that every Norwegian home looks like an Ikea showcase.

Paris

Please light a match to all notions you have of Paris. Go ahead, I’ll wait until the embers have cooled…

Paris is wonderful. It’s the city every city should strive to be. Nowhere have I been more proud to be human than in Paris. The architecture, the public transit, the parks, the restaurants, the bakeries, oh my God, the bakeries. Paris shows off all that we do well as a species.

We only spent one day in Paris. Usually I’m keen ditch the cities for the open countryside, but Paris is the exception. If ever there were a city where I’d like to live, Paris would be it. Sorry New York, you’re too loud and congested. Sorry San Fransisco, you’re too dour and damp. LA, you’re just a parking lot where people also live. And all you other cities that think you’re tops, well you’re not. Paris has you beat in every way.

Au revoir Paris

After a splendid though tiring day in Paris it was time to ride bikes again. The next question was, where should we go? If you search online for where to cycle you get as many opinions as there are quaint villages in France. So instead of following any prescribed route, we decided to head east toward the mountains.

The first two days of riding were excellent. We enjoyed the warm weather and wind at our backs. Today we rode through the region where they make champagne. We came out of a forest and before us was a huge hillside of grapevines. It was like Napa county without the heavy traffic.

We’ve also been enjoying the fresh food. Coming from the UK, Ireland, and Norway, we were used to expensive and poor quality fresh food. France has been such a refreshing treat. The bread and cheese and fruits and vegetables are superb. We may possibly live off of sandwiches and salads the whole time we’re here.

My only complaint so far is that wi-fi is hard to find, and when we do find it the connection is very slow. That means no photos on this blog until we can find a speedy connection.