Cannot really describe my trip so far, but was a strange sign all along the coast of Normandy for a traveling film of MONSTER TRUCKS….mind you, “Professionals in Action!”
This morning finds me in the lobby of a hotel at Mont St. Michel. My campground is across the street. The French are amazed at my petit tent. With my bike, I am getting nothing but Goodwill, BON CHANCE! and Feeling the Love.
Traveling down the coast of Europe and surprisingly already 750 miles into my trip. I left Amsterdam a couple days later than I planned due to bad weather. So far, wind, rain and odd keyboards define my trip.
A lovely time on Dutch coast, feeling lonely in Brugge, and then across the battlefields of Flanders. I missed the Tour de France but saw the painted remnants on the road. I stopped in Lille where I took a TGV “bullet” train to Luxembourg for Ellen’s weekend of parties. Then the train back to Lille to get my bike and flirt with the boys in the bike shop who spoke very little English but were my heroes for storing my bike and stuff for a euro a day. Here is the kicker, shift of plans to spend more time in France. Woo Hoo! Viva la France!
I’ve had one very strange night without a hotel room in Paris for Bastille Day wandering around and sipping coffee on Left Bank in the wee hours waiting for light.
I am crazy for Normandy: white chalk cliffs, seaside resorts, the D-Day beaches (where I have never felt weirder to be an American), and now Mont St. Michel. I’ve had quite amazing and unexpected time here. It appears that typically the French don’t really bother to take down conflicting signs. While most signs at The Abbey say it closes at 6 PM, a few indicated that it was open till 11 for art expo. I had the place almost to myself. The desire to be alone maybe an American desire. I was expecting throngs based on the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach.
This is a major detour from my plans on getting to Budapest and will be the furthest west I bike. So far, my only serious health issue is that I twisted my ankle seriously in the crypt here. Not a good place for this to happen as The Abbey is bascially a set of stairs. I have a hard time walking and so I may wait out a day to see how it is.
From here, I head southeast to chateaus of Loire, then northwest to Fontainebleau, Champagne, and VERDUN before arriving in Luxembourg for several days of rest. If all goes well, I hope to be in Luxembourg by the end of next week. Of course I thought I would be in Budapest by August 1, not just getting to Luxembourg!
I live on fancy cheese, pate picnics, and bottles of hard cider. Bless the Normans! I will switch to white wine in two days and then develop a taste for champagne or go thirsty. I am swimming almost everyday. May God further bless the French because Speedos are required at the pools and are very pleasing. I have a smaller Speedo I bought in Amsterdam so I can’t wait to find more outdoor pools to even out my dark smoked-salmon tan on exposed arms and legs with the halibut white that remains my Seattle belly. Not nice!
French camping leaves a lot to be desired: like picnic tables and toilet paper, but now that I am camping every night I am not so worried about my budget. Still I should have budgeted in about $500 for stupid mistakes like 15 Euro tapenade! Yikes! but so tasty.
That’s it for now, off to find some croissants for my mid-morning pre-cheese and pate snack!