Today I crossed the Pyrenees mountains into Spain, thus marking the end of my two week bike trip through France. I thought I’d take moment to reflect upon on all the pleasures France has lavished on me and all the experiences I’ve had thus far.
The clouds hung low upon the mountains today creating a living scenery like a Japanese painting.
First, France is among the most visited countries in the world and for good reason. I saw castles, palaces, forests, beaches and mountains. I ate gourmet bread, pastries, cheese and meats. I ran on the beach, swam in the ocean and biked over hills. All that and I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface as to what France has to offer.
Not everything went perfectly. The northern forests of France were infested with ticks who stuck to me far too intimately. Mosquito are always a problem and biking 100km a day can be a bit wearisome. Flat tires are a pain, and trying to lose weight while working out all day is mentally draining. Still, I’ve come much closer to being prepared for the Ironman, once again found the Camino de Santiago and had an amazing time in the process.
In all honesty there are days I wake up and wonder “what the hell am I doing?” But most days I wake up stronger, healthier and excited for the day to come, so I I figure I must be doing something right. Tomorrow I will be arriving in Pamplona and continuing my journey through Spain. I estimate that I am about half way done with my biking, which gives me plenty more distance to cover, but I’m feeling stronger and more excited than ever, so onward!
Even the rainiest days are full of beauty.
Yesterday was an amazing day, even by the high standards of an amazing trip. After a long day of biking, it was time to find a place to sleep. The sun was starting to set and the small city seemed a poor choice for the night, so we decided to make a break for the coast which also happens to be the home of Europe’s largest sand dune, the Dune of Pyla.
It was a 6km dash and to say we were tired is an understatement. As we pulled into the park we were greeted by an imposing set of stairs.
They look cool, but running up them wasn't much fun.
Unfortunately there was no time to relax as it looked as if the sun might have already passed below the horizon. Running up the stairs was a special kind of pain, but was well rewarded by the incredible view.
A better view than any hotel.
So the day ended with sleep on a sand dune overlooking the Atlantic, a view unlike any other and the perfect ending to a challenging day.
So today I hit 1000km into France, which with my 100 in England brings me to 1100km. A lot has happen since I last posted and I’m feeling the same inability to keep up with my experiences via blog as I did last year, but I’ll give it a try.
My new biking friend and I have decided to do the Camino de Santiago via bike. It’ll add a 1000 or so km to our trip, but once you go 1000 what’s a 1000 more? We’ve slept on beaches, in forests and barns. The scenery has been as amazing as could be hoped for and the days have been difficult, but thrilling. I’ll be putting up more and more pictures over the next week, but here’s a peek.
The best things in life are free.
A few more days and I’ll be in Spain. That means crossing the Pyrenees and lots of pain. Still the views should be spectacular and the experience one of a kind. More on that soon.
It’s amazing how much in life we take for granted, beds for instance. Last night was my first night in a bed after four nights spent sleeping in the woods. Aside from being much more comfortable, it was nice to feel like I wasn’t asleep inside a walk-in refrigerator for a change.
As for the bike touring, everything has been going as smoothly as could be hoped. The French countryside has been as beautiful as imagined, with quaint cottages, beautiful roses and grandiose chateaus covering the landscape.
Half the buildings in France could be in a museum.
We’ve been covering quite a lot of ground, but took most of the day off when we arrived in the beautiful city of Tours yesterday. That allowed us time to do some much needed bike repairs and to do more mundane things like laundry. Today it’s back to the road as we head for the picturesque Poitiers. More on that later…
Although they don't make for dramatic photography, the fields are soothing and beautiful.
Seemed like a quiet day today, but then I dropped my cookies. Who should pick them up, but a fellow biker on his way to Madrid. It’s amazing how providence takes care of you.
The countryside has been beautiful and I’ve also had my share of cathedrals as well. Here’s a little peek:
Too big even for my wide angle lens. You should see it in person.
Ok, I could write all day, but the battery is dying and I’m not traveling solo for now. l until next time….