Saturday, November 8, 2008

June 25 London to Canterbury 97 miles / 123Km

Cycling out of any city can be a test, London was a big test, first because of the language barrier (and you thought they spoke English in England) and second was the fact I waited till I got to London to buy maps for England and couldn't find any. By 11:30 I found a bike rental shop with free maps to get out of the city and while buzzing around the big city I happened to pedal by Buckingham Palace and a bunch of tourists taking pictures of a big clock. I said to a tourist, "what's everyone taking pics of", and she look bewildered and laughed at me. It was Big Ben.It was not the greatest day of riding, city riding can be difficult, but hey, it was England, so it was all good. The 76 niles kicked my butt. I arrived at the Hostel in Canterbury about 8:00 and then had a pretty bland pizza at the Olive Grove. I could see the Canterbury Cathedral as I walked to the restaurant. There was no internet at the hostel so my posts are backed up.
All is good.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

June 26 Canterbury England to Boulogne-Sur-Mer France 50 Km / 31 Miles - Cycle Path 17 - White Cliffs of Dover - Speed Ferry - The French Cyclist

What a day - again. Two english cyclists clued me in on the National cycle Route 17 from Canterbury to Dover. A great route on narrow lanes with hardly a car. Nothing like it back home. I arrived at the Speed Ferry, directly in front of the White Cliffs, not knowing if I could catch a lift. The French fisherman across the English Channel had been striking for the last 2 days; But they were back in business so I was a happy cycle tourist!!! No sooner I pulled into the docks a French cyclist pulled in behind me with panniers and we began talking, long-story-short he has toured Southeast Asia and Europe but was only on an errand to England and biked over. He volunteered to help me find my way around Boulogne-Sur-Mer (good thing, 60,000 Pop.), So we found a bank to score some Euros I'd be needing, a bike shop, and then he visited a cheese shop. We go in, one minute later his Trek carbon-fiber bike with panniers carrying his computer is gone. We had just talked about locking bikes and he never has in all his tours. What a bummer. He went to the police station. And I found my way to a hostel on Ave of John Kennedy, Mariany's.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

June 27 Boulogne-sur-Mer to Aumale 156 Km / 97 Miles

What a day - again. Probably pedaled too many miles, but I always do that when I start a tour. I was struggling to communicate about campgrounds, no one speaks English in these backroads villages. Finally discovered through much effort at a C-store that Aumale had a Municipality Campground. So I headed for there no matter the miles. It turned out good as I spent the evening talking with a Dutch couple, in the back of their ambulance-turned-camper, who are Med students. How funny! We had a great talk about medicine, conventional and traditional(natural), travel, languages (they speak 4), and Holland of course as well as the rest of the Netherlands. Earlier in the dayI pedaled on my first cobblestones in Montrieul. Makes 6th Street in Youngwood feel like smooth pavement. I passed through dozens of villages and every one has a big old stone Catholic church. I popped into a monastery that has the largest Rose Garden in France. The narrow country lanes I biked on are amazing, nothing like it back in the states. I loved every minute as I biked under a thick grey sky, but it hasn't rained on me yet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

June 28 Aumale to Magny-en Vixen 108 Km / 67 Miles

Another amazing day! I'm starting to see a trend here. Started out under grey clouds, but the sun started breaking through by noon and got quite hot by the time I finished for the day. I was a little zapped (drained of energy) because of yesterday's big mileage. No problem, just take it easy. And that is what I did. I'm having a tough time in the grocery stores and as a result I've been eating things I normally don't. Heck, I ate a spinach quiche that I thought was a breakfast pizza !!!!!!! But I refused to pitch it. Gulp!!! Today's divine appointment (I know, sounds silly) happened as I cycled between Bezu-La-Foret and Dangu. Up along side of me appears a French cyclist. He speaks to me in French, I say "Parlay vous Anglais?" and he says "Oui". So he's asking about my trip and talks about a Japanese cycle-tourist he met last year who had a blog he followed. I told him I've got a blog too but haven't found internet access. Boom, he (Paul) invites me to pedal to his home to use the internet and camp there. So he gives me directions and he goes off to finish his ride. What a wonderful cycling area the Vixen region is. An hour and half later I arrive at his home, meet his wife Catherine, and were off for dinner after I shower. Paul said we were going to a pancake house. The cool restaurant makes crepes and you fill them with what ever you want. I had the waitress rolling her eyes when I said chicken, potatoes, cheese, and bacon; Yummy!!! In my tummy!!! Then of course for dessert you get another crepe with ice cream, lemon, and chocolate sauce. Really good. Reminded me of the ice cream waffles at Kennywood. So now I'm finishing up on Paul's computer and I'm all caught up for now. Tomorrow I should be near or in the Loire River Valley.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

June 29 Magny-en-Vixen to Chartres 118K / 74 Miles

A really nice day of riding. In the morning there were many cyclists on the road. In Bonnieres I stopped to buy water and randomly picked a woman to try my French on. I said, "Superemarche?" and she says, "You're lucky, I speak English.". In Bercheres-sur-Vesgre, a beautiful little town, I came upon a street fair and the folks there were great and interested in my blog. So hello to all of you in Bercheres. The route had a few climbs but was mostly flat and rolling on an overcast day. As I approached Chartres the famous Cahedral loomed large. I took the photo of the sign entering LaHaye in honor of my host from the previous night in Magny-en-Vixen. Thanks again to Paul and Catherine.